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Reposting an Introduction – Hoof Beats and Foot Prints

Normally I will have people to Introduce to you, or find something else, but I was thinking that maybe I could re-post one I did on my other blog a couple of years ago. I decided to re-post this Introduction on Bella Remy Photography, from Hoof Beats and Foot Prints because Emily writes for Dynamic Range and I thought it would be nice to show you some work from one of the contributors. I hope you enjoy it.

Hoof Beats and Foot Prints

Today’s featured photography blog is from Emily, or Bella Remy Photography and her blog Hoof Beats and Foot Prints.  I have been following her work for quite some time and was happy when she agreed to let me feature her on my blog for my Introductions post.  I am sure many of you know her work and I hope those that don’t will enjoy the introduction.

img_43511When I think of her work, I think birds, but not only birds.  She does many things, but I do love her bird imagery.  I am not a bird person, I rarely photograph them, and the only time I do is if it is a bird that is rare or unusual to see.  So, to see someone else really dedicated to it is wonderful.

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I have some words by Emily, but will include them at the end for you.  In them she talks about the patience that is needed, I can imagine how patient you would need to be.  Patience is not something I have, so it is another reason to really admire what she does.  I can remember posts where she talks about crawling on her stomach to get shots of birds, now that is dedication.

gettysburg05jul13-2928-editOne of the things I really enjoy is the colour, I love how colourful her images are, but they aren’t oversaturated or in your face that you see coming from a lot of photographers.  The colours always seem to be true to what you are looking at, or what she is representing.

sunsetmm16may13-2480-editThe colour that I just talked about is present in much of her work.  She doesn’t do just birds, but also does flowers, a lot of nature and landscapes.  I chose not to do the flowers because I felt I had done enough of those the last few weeks, and since Emily’s work is very varied I thought it would be a good chance to focus on other things.  Though you should take a look at her blog, she does beautiful close up work as well.

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She describes herself as a nature photographer, and I think when you look at her work you can understand why.

I have put together a gallery of some of my favourite images from her blog.

As I said, Emily has put together some words to describe why she photographs and what inspires her.  Once you have finished, please go and visit Hoof Beats and Foot Prints to see all her amazing work.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Emily for allowing me permission to do this.

“As a child, I was always interested in photography. As a teenager, I remember borrowing my father’s Pentax K1000 in the Andes mountains of Bolivia. Having only 36 shots, one had to make each image count. Even back then I gravitated to landscape, nature and travel photography. There is something about adventure and discovering the world through a lens that makes it special.

The sense of exploring and discovering new things was bred into me. I have always been inquisitive and like learning. Each moment in every new place, and new experience should be treasured. Photography provides a venue to being able to capture the moment and share it with others. The world has always been a place of wonderment for me and walking with a camera causes me to slow down and really appreciate the experience.

When reentering the photography world three years ago, my first idea was to try to get into the stock photography market. Little did I know that the market is over saturated and requires a lot of discipline. Not only in creating a portfolio, but also in the creation of a stock image. I quickly found out that stock wasn’t for me. I’m too creative to work well in a rigid craft.

Starting with a photo walk with a professional photographer and photo coach, I learned that it takes time to find out where one’s true passion lies in photography. Vowing to try different types of photography, I spent two years taking a variety of classes that ranged from sports photography to food photography. Portrait photography was never something I was interested in. I quickly learned that there are three aspects to photography. Composition, the camera’s technical aspects, and the post-processing and editing of the images.

In addition to the several photo classes I attended, I also took field trips with a friend to a variety of venues, with most of them gravitating to travel or nature interests. In the second year, I upgraded my camera and continued my effort in improving my craft. There were many things that were “user error” and had nothing to do with the camera itself. Developing an eye for strong composition, knowing how to hold the camera steady for sharp images and learning how to use the camera settings for proper exposure was the focus.

That fall, I had heard about a place called Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River between Delaware and Maryland. In the winter, over 100 American Bald Eagles are known to gather at the dam for several months. Renting a large 400mm telephoto zoom lens, and a tripod, I went on my first visit the dam to capture the eagles. Instantly I was hooked. Seeing the fence lined up with serious photographers with their huge telephoto zoom lens, waiting for the perfect moment to capture a bald eagle in action was inspiring.

Bird and nature photography requires special skills. The first and foremost is being willing to deal with harsh conditions. Whether it’s hot or cold, wet or dry, the wildlife is there. These bald eagle photographers would go to the dam on numerous occasions, beginning at dawn and spending hours standing and waiting for some action to occur. Then observing the behavior of the eagles helped to know when something was worth capturing. I left that first day with a 1000 images. Most of them out of focus, many of them bad. So the challenge was set, I became determined to master the art of bird and nature photography.

The second year of capturing the eagles went much better. I rented a longer 500mm lens, and spent three days standing in the cold waiting for up to eight hours to get that ‘gallery shot.’ Meeting more bald eagle photographers, they shared with me several trade secrets that improved the success rate of my images. The 500mm lens was incredible, and I quickly fell in love with the lens. I was able to add it to my arsenal of photography equipment and this year has been mostly focused on bird photography.

One of the most crucial skills I had to learn was to slow down and wait. And wait, and wait. I remember trying to capture some kinglet birds in a bush at home, and I stood there for about an hour and a half. That’s when I finally understood how those wildlife and bird photographers get their beautiful photos. They spend an enormous amount of time waiting. The next skill was learning how to be quick on the draw. Having a good eye to capture some slight movement and be ready to shoot is essential. Combine these skills with the technical knowledge of how to freeze motion, and it all began to come together.

These days, when I return to landscape and travel photography, I find this style of photography to be quite easy. After trying to capture birds in motion, something that is still is easy to photograph. I’ve learned to take my time and really think through the shot. Both with the composition, as well as the camera settings. It’s better to have two excellent shots, then 20 not so great ones.

To complete the triangle of photography: composition, camera technical aspects, then post processing/editing, this year has been concentrated on learning the software available to post process my images. I shoot exclusively in RAW format, and have a digital image that can be processed in multiple ways. Using Adobe Lightroom allows me to try different styles for the same image without affecting the original file. My next goal for the upcoming year is to delve into the world of Photoshop CS6.

The camera gets me out exploring the world around me far more than I ever would have if I hadn’t gotten back into photography. I’ve learned how to slow down and relax and to really enjoy the moment. Photography opens doors that you never knew existed. Happy shooting!”

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