Today I would like to introduce to you Robin Kent and his blog, photographybykent. I’ve known Robin for a while and is always helpful with advice, and I remember back in the discussion I had here about PC or Mac, he was probably the one person whose comment I remember the most, it solidified my decision to stay with a PC. His photography is also quite amazing and I find I get a lot of inspiration from it.
His photography is stunning and I know he travels a bit. I find myself drawn to his work also because I think it is similar to the type of shots I’d like to do.
My first question was about where in the world he was?
First, I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk a little about my photography. I only recently started my blog, and was lucky enough to find yours early on. I have been following you ever since. But, to answer your question, I am based in the United States, just outside the city of Washington, DC in northern Virginia. Washington is a fascinating place for photography. We have great architecture, the Potomac River, all of it tied into the country’s history. But I also travel a good bit, so my subjects can be pretty varied.
There are scenes and things that I see in images like this and I want to be able to take these images myself, but we don’t have any beaches like this here, not that I have been able to find. I suppose it means I will just have to make the most of what is around me, which is what I’ve been trying to do more.
I asked Robin he takes photos?
When I am outdoors with my camera there are occasional times when the basic elements—light, air, water, and the earth—combine to create a special moment. I look at it this way: we are standing on this platform, a globe that is spinning at 1,000 mph; a silver orb—the moon—rotates around us at 2,300 mph; the earth, the moon, and planets, everything around us, is illuminated by a ball of fire that we are circling at 65,000 mph. That’s pretty magical stuff. But with the enormous scale and speeds of all these moving parts, one is likely to only get a glimpse. And that’s what I’m trying to do within the limits of my location, equipment, and abilities, to capture a glimpse of the magic.
Then I asked him how long he had been taking photos?
I guess I’ve had a camera in my hands as long as I can remember. But I didn’t get really serious about it until about 15 years ago when I stopped working for a living and decided to concentrate on photography.
His work also reminds me that I need to get back into architecture and taking photos of it. The plan for me this summer. So I have enjoyed looking at his architectural shots and what he has gotten, though I know that where he lives means there are some great examples of architecture there. I know I shouldn’t complain, Melbourne has a lot too.
I asked him about his inspiration, and he was the second person in a couple of weeks to have mentioned this person.
I would say Galen Rowell, who introduced me to the concept of “magic hour” at one of his workshops I attended back in 2001. Until his tragic death in 2002, he was known for his concept of the dynamic landscape, capturing images that feature unexpected convergence of light and form, moments that are seemingly unrepeatable. I’ll never approach his deep understanding of outdoor optical phenomena nor his athletic ability, but the week I spent at his workshop continues to have a great influence on me.
Sometimes you just want to follow a photographer because you just really enjoy their photos, I find that with Robin. I can’t always explain what it is about their work, you know you just love it. I am always looking for things like this to take, and I think he also reminds that maybe I should stop being lazy.
I asked Robin if there was anything special about the way he worked.
I usually go out at dawn or dusk; that is the time when the sun is near the edge of the horizon, when the cool colors of the night merge with the warm tones of the day. But a fair amount of planning is usually involved. It usually begins with the solar and lunar cycles. It’s not well known, but the layout of Washington, DC takes the annual solar cycle into consideration. The perfect east-west axis of the National Mall with the US Capitol Building as the eastern anchor and the Lincoln Memorial at the western end is one example. So if you are looking for a certain convergence of the solar cycle with an architectural element you have to know what day and time it will happen. It’s a lot easier today than five years ago before smartphones with apps were available. But you still have to know where to look.
Most of you know that I have been trying to do star trails, though I won’t be trying again until next winter now, but Robin has given me some advice on how to go about doing them on my other blog. I just love his, and would really like to do some and get similar results. When daylight savings finishes and I don’t have to stay up all night to do them, then I think I will try this again, and try it a lot.
I asked Robin about his hear, which sounds very similar to my own.
I shoot with a Nikon D800E. The powerful sensor enables me to get highly detailed images that make it possible to produce very large prints. Some of my work finds its way into corporate spaces and typically they want something big. I have three lenses and about 70% of my shooting is done with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom. A Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto accounts for about 20% and the 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle picks up the rest. A sturdy tripod is a must, and my analog compass has been replaced by an iPad with “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” app on it. As for filters, I use a circular polarizer and a variable neutral density filter. An intervalometer and flashlight are also key items in my backpack. I always shoot RAW and my post-capture workflow starts with Adobe Camera RAW and goes from there into Photoshop. I don’t use any plugins. I do most of my own printing with a 24” wide Epson7980.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Robin for letting me feature his work here on my blog. It has been fantastic going through his blog and see what work he has done. He also sent me some images that haven’t been on his blog, so we get to see them. Thank you Robin.
Robin has his blog, photographybykent, but he also has a website where you can view his work, Photography by Kent. I hope you will go and take a look at both and see for yourself his work. I have more photos for you now that I will put into a gallery for you.