Monday, February 17, 2014

Meet This Week's Guest Judge: Sharon of Arrow Creek Photography!

This week we welcome as our guest judge Sharon of Arrow Creek Photography. Her whimsical photos honor the beauty and innocence of youth. Read about her inspiration and goasls! 

Tell us about yourself...

I’m a girl of simple pleasures- a good cup of coffee, a warm summer, a song I love on the radio, a camera around my neck and a hand held on each side and I’m happy.  I’m married to my college sweetheart (a swimmer-turned-firefighter) and we have four young, amazing children together.  As a photographer, you'll find me mostly shooting outdoors or in window light, capturing the spontaneous moments.  My style is clean, soft, and simple, with a touch of bohemian and a healthy dose of playfulness mixed in.

What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

My Mom is an artist (painter), and growing up she would draw my attention to the different colors in the pine needles, and the shading on the clouds in the sky, so I think she planted the seeds very early.  Unfortunately, I did not inherit her talent in painting, but I am a very visual person and rediscovered this when I suddenly had these intricate, tiny babies that grew and learned different things overnight.  I wanted desperately to document their beauty- the long eyelashes, the tiny toes and belly buttons, the baby curls.  I needed some way to preserve those everyday moments of half-on, half-off baby socks and the journey moving on to velcro, then tie shoes. Photography gave me that gift, that duty to maintain and be the keeper of these reminders of their daily lives.

What's in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

Pentax K-5
Pentax 50mm f/1.4L Lens
Pentax 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Pentax 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Lens
Memory Cards

What's your dream project or shoot?

I’m torn- it would either be a ballet company shoot in an old building with wooden floors and giant windows and haunting history, or on my father’s childhood farm.  He grew up on a farm in rural Canada.  The farm land is still utilized, but his childhood home and barn were eventually left uninhabited, still standing.  I’d love to travel there to see where he spent his childhood days- horses, a creek, fields, fences, an old stove that cooked his dinners and wooden doors he opened and closed as a child- that’s where I’d like to shoot.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

My non-existent budget for all things photography.    I’m constantly thinking oooh- I’d love that lens, or oooh- I’d love those actions, or software, or workshop seat, but I make up for that a zillion times over with having four little inspirational souls and one supportive partner at home.  Money can’t buy you those things.  Plus, I think that when your resources are small, it forces you to be creative and think-out-of-the-box and fully use the things you do have to their limits.   There is so much free education out there on the web that if you want to know how to do something, you can find a video or post that teaches you how to do it!

If you had $500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it? 

I should spend it saving up towards an upgrade camera in the next year or two.

How do you wish you could spend it?

I wish I could spend it on a workshop or two.  I’ve never taken one and there are a select few that I would LOVE to try.  I’d really enjoy “meeting” some new photographers, exchanging ideas, gaining new perspectives, having some fresh eyes on my work, and learning some new techniques.

How would you really spend it?

More than likely on a Lensbaby lens.  I am so afraid freelensing will be the death of my most-used and favoritest lens soon, and I’d love to experiment with the soft, dreamy quality of Lensbaby images.

Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

Relax.  Just shoot.  No, your photos might not end up looking close to how your idol photographer’s photos end up, but shooting is the only way you’ll eventually get closer to where you want to be.  Oh, and those photos in between the beginning and the ideal?  The ones that sometimes make you cringe and frustrate you because growth in photography is so painfully obvious and public?  You’ll be so glad you have them when your kids are a year older and you look back and realize you forgot that they used to color their nails in with markers.  The photo you took of their hands might have motion blur or be grainy, but you have it.  It isn’t the ultimate, but it exists.  It exists for you, and preserves for them.  Breathe deep.  Whatever photograph you produce when you push the shutter is one that never existed before, and one that will never, ever exist under any other conditions again.  It is real magic- eventually you’ll learn to tame it a little, but along the way, revel in it.  If you’re doing it right, there is no ending to rush towards anyway, for to reach an end would mean to cease seeing the beauty and the light in the world.  The journey is the essence and the fiber of it all- take comfort and find refuge in it.

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