Thursday, June 11, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Kari Ganske

This week, Kari of Kari Ganske Photography has stepped in to judge your "beautiful disasters". Enjoy her beautiful photos and thoughts below: 

1.      Tell us about yourself:

Wife, mother (two girls Camden age 7, Avery age 2), oldest sister of four, daughter, aunt, cousin, friend.  High school English teacher, state testing coordinator, choreographer, Maryland Cheerleading director, national cheerleading judge.   All of these are labels that I could use to describe myself.  But who am I really?  I’m a clutz.  That is the first thing that comes to mind.  I have run into the same wooden stool in our bathroom so many times, I have a permanent dent on my shin.  I am a fine/performing arts junkie.  I choreograph the musical at the high school where I also teach the dance classes as well as English.  I insatiably take courses at Michael’s and the local Arts Center.  We have a season pass to the Hippodrome Theater (the off-broadway theater in our town).  I dabbled in ceramics, crochet, scrapbooking, upcycling, mosaics, sewing, pottery, jewelry making, juggling, general crafing… you name it, I probably have a drawer dedicated to it in my home craft room/office/Monica closet (any Friends fans??).  I am the worst cook ever.  Baking treats (cookies, cakes, brownies) I can handle.  Any kind of cooking – especially meat and rice – is apparently too much for me.  I almost started our house on fire while making a salad – no lie.  I am a momtographer and stalk my kids with a camera All. The. Time.  This is especially true this year as I am attempting (and so far successfully) a Project 365.  I am also addicted to fountain sodas, office supplies (Sharpies!!), popcorn, and true crime television. 

2.      What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?
My desire to create and my love of learning definitely ignited my interest in photography.  I love learning.  I have two bachelor’s degrees, three teaching certifications, two master’s degrees and am currently working on a third, and at any given time I am watching a podcast/webinar or reading books or blogs (not about cooking, though. There is no hope for me there).  Like so many others, once my first daughter, Camden, was born, I wanted to capture and remember every single moment.  I loved being a mom and especially a mom to the absolute most perfect adorable baby that ever graced the earth.  I had to share her with the world!  I looked online at photographs and thought, “I could do that!”  And so, it became (and remains) a challenge to become the best I can be and really capture the everyday moments of my children’s lives.

3.      What’s in your camera bag right now?  What do you use the most?  The least?
I currently shoot with a Sony a65.  Lenses: 18-70 kit lens, 50mm 1.7 (Minolta – old school!), 35mm 1.8, and 70-200mm zoom.  I also have an external flash, a remote, a neglected ExpoDisk, and a variety of filters.  I find I have been using the 35mm the most.  On a crop sensor and in a small rancher, it allows me to capture some of the environment in the lifestyle shots I love so much without having to climb the walls.  I definitely use the kit lens the least; mostly because the autofocus doesn’t work and who can manually focus on a constantly moving toddler?? 

4.      What is your dream project or shoot?

If I could choose where my photography journey will go in the future it would be birth photography.  I was fortunate enough to shoot the birth of a colleague of mine and fell totally in love!  The authentic, true emotion, the elation, the support of loved ones, the outpouring of love and hope and new life… Is there anything better??

5.      What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
Self-doubt.  Every time I think I have made some progress with my photography (whether that be with composition, white balance, posing, or editing), I second-guess myself or compare myself to others who are on very different photography journeys.  I need to quiet my inner-nay sayers and be confident with what I am producing right now and enjoy the journey.  Also, time.  I wish I could quit my day job and just follow my kids around with a camera all the time and then not sleep so I could edit them all.  But that won’t pay the bills, and I love to sleep.

6.      If you had $500 to spend on photography
a.      How should you spend it?
I should probably save it for a new camera body.  I’m trying to save up for a switch to Canon.
b.      How do you wish you could spend it?
c.      How would you really spend it?
Probably workshops or e-books.  Like I said, I’m a learning fool!

7.      Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your journey?
That it is, in fact, a journey.  You cannot possibly know everything there is to know about photography and master it quickly.  You cannot compare yourself to other photographers that have been on their journey longer than you have.  And it will take a while to find your unique voice and style, but don’t give up or get too frustrated.

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