Normally when I do these posts I pick someone from WordPress and then get images from their blog, but today’s photographer hasn’t been blogging for very long. I wouldn’t usually pick someone like that, and there are a couple of people I know that I am waiting a little bit longer so they have been blogging for more than a couple of months. Dan was one of those, but a wonderful mutual friend, Laura Macky, explained to me that while he has only been blogging for a short time, he has been on Google+ for a lot longer. I realised there were would so many photos there too, so today’s featured photographer is Dan Shehan, another WordPress Photographer, but also from Google+.
When I try and think back to the images that I first saw of Dan’s I think this one. I don’t know if it was actually this one, but it was something very similar. I also don’t know if it was the first one I saw, but it was certainly the first one that made a real impression on me. I love the water, I love making water go like this. He has made me realise that sometimes I go to far away to achieve this.
I asked Dan why he took photos.
I take photographs because of the emotions involved while capturing a moment in time. When I pick up my gear to go out and shoot, I feel a sense of freedom. The freedom to see the world around me in a way only I can envision. Photography allows me the freedom to capture an image from this vision. The freedom to compose an expression of what I see through the lens of a camera, then pushing the button. I also experience the emotion of surprise. The surprise of what I see, causing me to take out my camera…the surprise when I get home and say, “omg…I took that picture”. The surprise that others like my photographs too.
There is also the emotion of intrigue. I’m intrigued by what I’ve created, compelling me to go out and shoot some more. I think “ooh…what if I try this…or try that”.
And what better feeling is there than to cause an emotion in others with this expression of your own emotions…your passion…your surprise…your intrigue…your freedom? It’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?
I’m reminded of when all of this started for me. It was almost 46 years ago when, at the age of 14, my father gave me his old Argus C3 film camera from his days in the Navy as a journalist. I taught myself the manual settings, then used the camera on a cross country trip across America to visit relatives on the east coast. After those first rolls were developed, I realized that I had created an unforgettable emotion inside of me by capturing special moments in time. That was the moment I became hooked!
Today, photography inspires and nourishes my vision to create new emotions. What used to be an enjoyable hobby, has turned in to a full-time passion. My main focus in photography is shooting landscapes, and in particular waterscapes. At the same time, I don’t pigeon-hole myself into one specific category either. I also take many cityscape, nightscape, and gardenscape images. I’ve even ventured into shooting a few abstract images (mostly involving water, of course). The bottom line is that if I like what I see, I push the button.
This is why I take photographs.
Before going through all of Dan’s images I hadn’t noticed this one before, now I can’t stop noticing it. It just seems like an incredibly image to me. I love the way it is composed and the mood that is set in the image. I think it’s a fantastic image.
Why inspires you was the next question.
I first get my inspiration by looking out the window of my home. I have a terrific view of San Francisco Bay and am constantly moved by its charm and beauty. Nature, in all of its grandeur, has always been my strongest inspiration. Whether its being on the bay, along the coastline, in the middle of the city, or even backpacking at 10,000 feet high up in the mountains, I am constantly moved by nature and the beauty it provides us.
I’m also inspired by the works of other great photographers and the emotion I feel while viewing their form of expression.
And finally, I’m inspired by the photographer friends I’ve made, the people who follow me online, and certainly the people who have bought my art. All of whom seem to have the same passion for this expression we call photography.
As you look through Dan’s blog and his Google+ page you can see that there are things that he loves to photograph. He does them over and over again. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think you get the best photos if you constantly go back somewhere. Especially different times of the day, different times during the year. It’s something I wish I did more of.
How a photographer works is important, and so I asked Dan if there was anything special about how he worked.
I’m not sure how “special” my work process is. Typically before I go out to shoot, I think about what it is I want to capture or create. I’ll look out my window and observe the sky, the clouds, the weather. Then I go… Sometimes I’ll go out without any plan whatsoever, but still… I just go!
I’ll arrive at a location, hopefully with preconceived ideas of what I want to shoot. There are many occasions when, before or after I capture what I set out to do in the first place, I perform a simple task of turning around in the opposite direction. Sometimes you can get even more amazing shots this way. It’s not unusual for me to take 100 images on one of these ventures. And I always shoot in RAW format.
When I get home, I import all of the images to Lightroom. I’ll delete those that don’t quite cut it, then organize the rest. I’ll select one or two and start my “developing” process by moving a few sliders around, removing those pesky dust spots, cropping if necessary, straightening the horizon, etc… If there are several similar images, then I’ll batch process them using a preset I’ll create from the first image.
This process usually only takes a minute or so per image. And believe me, I don’t process every image. I’ll typically process only those images that I get a good feel for in their RAW form. That number varies based on the number of subjects I capture during the shoot.
I rarely drop a photo into Photoshop unless I want a special effect added, or a blending of images is warranted.”MY” basic philosophy, however, is to keep the image as “natural” as possible. My goal is an attempt to display what I’ve created inside the camera.
Oh, and by the way… I have nothing against other photographers who “photoshop” more than I do. There are some incredible images out there that truly move and inspire me.
I also study! I study how other photographers work. I study how I can improve my own work. I study, then I shoot.
There is definitely a recurring theme of water through Dan’s work. Not all images are water, but it does feature quite a lot. Photos of water are always great. There is a calmness about the water in Dan’s images and I think when you see water like that you almost automatically breath out. Ahhh.
Gear and what he uses was the next question.
Currently, I use a Nikon D300 which is a 12.6MP cropped-sensor DSLR. I have three lenses: a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, a Nikon 55-300 f4-5.6, and a 25 year old Nikon 50mm f1.8 that I found at a swap meet for $10 (The sharpest lens I own). I also bring along a few filters: Tiffen ND filters including a .6(2 stop), a .9 (3 stop), a 1.2 (4 stop), and a 3.0 (10 stop). I also use a polarizing filter.
I carry a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod when appropriate for my task. All of which I carry in a Vivitar camera backback.
Software includes Lightroom4 and Photoshop Elements 11.
Like most of us, he does branch out sometimes, and takes photos of other things. Though when I looked at all the images of his that I have used for this post, there aren’t many that don’t have water.
I have started asking where in the world the photographers are. It is a question I find so many people don’t put on their blog and the first thing that people wanting to know about them want to know.
After living in Southern California most of my life, I have now retired from my profession as an accountant and have moved to San Francisco where I currently live. You can usually find me hiking up and down the hills of this incredible world class city. My favorite areas, though, are the beautiful bay and coastline. Oh… and I’m the guy with the old yellow ball cap and carrying a backpack, lol. If you see me, please stop and say hi. :-)
I have some photos of Dan’s to show you now, but first, I would like to thank Dan from Dan Shehan Photography for giving me permission to feature photography from his blog Dan Shehan Photography and his Google+ page. You can also find Dan at his website and on Pinterest. I hope you will all go and show Dan some support as well. Comments are great, but today, I am only going to approve them and will only respond to ones that I ask me something directly. This post is for Dan. Here is the gallery.