! (If you haven't already)...she's an unstoppable force within the community and alongside being a Photographer she's a great advocate for all things Devious. With a fantastic series of articles and a strong heart-warming presence in many groups, Jen is an inspiration to many. It's about time we got to know her and her work a bit better!
Jen is a twenty six year old hobbyist photographer from Massachusetts in the USA. When she's not taking photos, writing articles or suggesting Daily Deviations she enjoys riding and writing fiction. Fun fact - she's a licensed horse riding instructor AND a writer of fiction stories but the latter doesn't often find its way to DeviantArt as she plants herself firmly within the Photography community. Jen can be found over at WOW-Macros
, her group - or on her Facebook page by clicking here.
You can read some of her latest articles and in particular her Artists Showcase by clicking Artist Showcase: Ep. X
I started shooting photographs when I was about 12 or 13. My parents got a Gateway DC-M42 digital camera with a printer purchase (I think I still have it somewhere)... I commandeered that little 4 megapixel camera with the one-inch LCD screen and never looked back. From the beginning I have always loved taking photographs of nature. Landscapes, water, animals (no bugs though)... But I'm always drawn back to flowers. My love of flower photography sparked an interest in macro photography. I dabble in still life from time to time too.
My best friend joined deviantART a day before me. She told me about this great website to post photographs and that was all she needed to tell me to get me signed up. Now it's been 10 years and I'm always so thankful for what the community has taught me and helped me to improve.
"People who visit my gallery may notice my "slight" obsession with contrast and color. The motto for my photography is the brighter and bolder, the better..."
The Gear Camera/Lenses:
Sony DSC-HX300 (My last bridge camera that I don't have any longer but a good chunk of my gallery photos were taken with this)
Canon T3i (aka EOS 600D)
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 stock lens
75-300mm f/4-5.6 telephoto
100mm f/2.8 macro (the LOVE of my life
Sunpak 3000 (don't use it much now because of the next one)
Canon Speedlite 430EX II
Reflectors, some diffusers, an umbrellaSoftware:
Dynamic Photo HDR
Do you have any local inspirations where you live that help you create images?
Living in Massachusetts gives me access to places like oceans, farms, cranberry bogs, and mountains. I have three or four flower nurseries within 15 minutes of my house (I get most of my flower photos from these places in the spring and summer!). One of my biggest inspirations can be found nearly anywhere there is open sky... Clouds! I always make sure to shoot my landscape/waterscape photographs on the days where the clouds are puffy.
How did you achieve this beautiful shot? It's an effect that many of us try to capture...
Absolutely! It's a modified version of this tutorial, actually: Water and oil abstract tutorial.
My basic set up is the same at that link... A piece of elevated picture frame glass propped up by cups with a glass bowl of water on top of it. I mixed a tiny bit of dish soap into it (to keep the droplets from combining with one another). I put a piece of white paper down on the counter under the setup. I modified my light setup. I just used my iPhone flashlight and shone light underneath the setup, horizontally (instead of the light source turned down as it is in that link). I grabbed a small eyedropper and dropped some olive oil onto the water surface. Then I just took some blue food coloring and dropped it down the inside of the bowl from three sides and let it trickle down.
I turned on the macro setting of my camera (then just the bridge Sony camera) and snapped away! Once I got the image loaded onto my computer, I opened up Dynamic Photo HDR and tonemapped the image. If I remember correctly, I used the "Ultra Contrast" setting and increased the vivid colors. This is what gave the photo that sapphire color and brightness.
I really enjoy taking these oil/water macro images. You can get so creative with them and no two photos are ever the same. It's my favorite set up for rainy days when I can't (or don't want to!) get outside with my camera. I encourage all photographers to give it a try at some point!
Top tip; "If I am going for one of the high-contrast looks, I immediately open up Dynamic Photo HDR and use the tonemapping tools to enhance the contrast and make the colors more vivid. In-camera, I try to pay close attention to the rule of thirds and shooting a shallow depth of field as well."
You suggest a lot of photographs on DeviantArt for Daily Deviations, what do you look for when searching and how do you find the DD process?
I do most of my browsing "by newest" in the Animals, Plants, & Nature or Macro galleries. I go through each individual subcategory daily, looking for art that I want to help promote in some way. I look for different elements in each sub-gallery. for example, in the landscape/waterscape/weather galleries I am most drawn to long-distance perspectives with big skies (that make me wonder "what's way out there?"). In the macro galleries I search for good focus, bokeh, bright colors, and things that glitter.
I love Daily Deviations. They are such a special recognition for a job well done. I'm happy to do my part by making suggestions! I think the process of making recommendations works well and I like that each Community Volunteer can customize their guidelines as it opens up opportunities for artists of all walks to be featured at some point.
Are there any particular photography techniques that you like to use regularly?
I like to use large apertures for shallow depths of field and I generally follow the rule of thirds. When I shoot macro I always use a shutter remote. I also try to take each photo from several different angles. I've found that sometimes the photograph that I "wanted" to take actually comes out better shot a different way. I like to experiment each time I get out there.