MPA: Why do you love photography?
Initially I got interested in photography through my scrapbooking hobby as I got tired of cropping photos down to how the picture should have looked to begin with. That process helped me with composition and framing. Later, while dealing with some personal issues, I was encouraged to focus on hobbies that gave me positive feelings.
I immersed myself in learning all I could about photography and found a hobby that really gives me joy. I love photography because it taps into the creative side that I didn’t think I had and has inspired confidence in myself. Photography creates a sense of adventure for me and I feel like I “get in the groove” as I see the world through new eyes. I am forced to slow down, look around, and be present in the moment.
I’ve had some fun moments exploring areas for unique photo perspectives, like climbing up in a bell tower in Germany at the exact time the bells started ringing out the hour.
MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?
I can’t name a single one thing because for me it has been all different types of continual assistance in the evolution of my photographic skills. First, I took a lot of classes about beginning photography but the McKays were the first to make sense of where to begin in the photography triangle, which was a huge breakthrough for me.
Second, I attended a San Francisco safari and had my “a-ha!” moment when it all came together as hands-on learning. Lastly, the immersion into safari locations with the instructors has helped me focus on all the aspects of my photography. I also love that on MPA safaris I feel like I’ve found my tribe of like-minded people and I feel safe as a woman in distant locales.
MPA: Your favorite thing about Photo Enthusiast Network?
The image reviews. I have a collection of pictures and articles that I’ve cut out of magazines just for the purpose of studying for composition, focus and technique. The image reviews are the next-level of this. I love that MPA encourages growth in a positive, supportive way. Plus I have a treasure-trove of resources at my fingertips.
MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?
This is such a tough question, my total count is 10 safaris so far, domestic and international (not counting the single-day outings). It’s not just the photography itself in the international locations I’ve been in…it’s being able to photograph history in Germany, Prague and Greece. It’s the culture in Vietnam. It’s the wildlife in Tanzania.
It’s getting an appreciation of the diversity from my own life back home. All my international travel has been with MPA and I wouldn’t have experienced any of the world without the MPA safaris. Returning to Tanzania is absolutely on my bucket list.
MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer/artist?
My goal is constant improvement for personal enrichment, including learning post processing. Everything I photograph needs to be as technically as good as I can get it because I don’t have the technical skills for processing…yet. I take photos using both JPEG and RAW settings like bracketing with knowledge that someday I’ll have the resources to process these photos properly.
I also wish to improve my skills in storytelling with a single photo. And I have an interest in food photography. All this is for my personal satisfaction and contentment (and truthfully, the positive Facebook feedback isn’t so bad either). I’ve had the experience of trying to turn a passion into an income and it just sucked all the joy out of my passion for a good time afterwards.
MPA: Where do you look forward to traveling next?
I am going to Mongolia this year and Italy in 2020, which is a trip I’ve anticipated for a long time. My heritage is there and I hope to get a feel of my ancestors. I’m hoping to make it onto one of the polar trips after that. A dream trip would be to Egypt.
MPA: Anything else you would like to share about your work?
I share the best of my photos on Facebook and that is the extent of my media presence. I like nature, animals, details, abstracts, architecture, and patterns, really just about any type of photography except photographing people unless it’s candids from a distance. If you ask me to photograph your party, I’ll cringe. Your wedding? I’ll have a dentist appointment, or a funeral, or jury duty, or just about anything else I perceive as more enjoyable than posing people with high expectations of “perfect” photos.