This months featured photographer is Celine Pollard.
We take a time out to ask her a few questions about her photographic journey. Celine is a founding member of Greystones Camera Club and despite living abroad remains an active member of the club.
Q1. Tell us about yourself and what made you join GCC...
Celine: I was contacted in July of 2011 by a friend who had seen a forum on www.boards.ie asking if there were any other photographers in the Greystones area interested in forming a club. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and met up with a group of like minded individuals in a local pub on a Thursday evening. It was there that I, along with this group, became one of the founding members of Greystones camera club. I was fortunate to spend the first three years watching GCC grow in numbers and popularity until January 2014 when together with my husband David, I emigrated to Canada. I now reside in the city of Calgary, Alberta which is about one and a half hours drive to the stunning mountainous area of the Rockies.
Q2. What type of photography do you do most? What do you enjoy most and why?
Celine: My first love is definitely landscape photography followed closely by wildlife. I also love black and white photography. Landscape photography forces the photographer to chase the light and explore the beauty of ones environment! I feel most at peace very early in the morning before sunrise searching for that scene which drives the viewers desire to want to be in that place. If there is one regret about living in Alberta I have to say it is the fact that we are not near the ocean. I miss the smell of the sea and the sunrises that were stunning when living in Greystones. Having said that however, the scenery in Alberta is amazingly beautiful and I am spoilt for choice with the amount of wildlife Canada has to offer.
Q3. Among all the images you have taken, do you have a favourite? Why?
Celine: Without a doubt my favourite shot is the photo titled 'Starting Young'! I came upon this scene purely by accident in the "Highwood Pass" area of Alberta. I was out looking for bears when I had to pull to the side of the road to let some cowboys and cowgirls pass by with the herd of cattle that they were rounding up. I looked in my car wing mirror and saw this father leading his young son's horse while at the same time herding the cattle. The dust from the animals kicking up the dry earth was forming a mist like scene so I jumped out of my car grabbed the camera and voila!!
Q4. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Celine: I did study years ago with the New York institute of Photography when I lived in the USA so I knew the basic rules of photography. In the short few years I was in GCC my photography skills greatly improved from the knowledge shared from fellow club members. Now I am very comfortable with the camera and indulge in YouTube on a regular basis to learn other techniques about other forms of photography. There is a wealth of knowledge on the internet and from chatting with other photographers while out and about.
Q5. In the field, do you have a preferred shooting mode?
Celine: For landscape photography I mostly use AV or manual mode. Depends on the lighting conditions and if I am using filters or not! I stay within the bounds of F8-F16 with the camera at ISO100. I used to use Auto white balance but of late I find that in using the white balance for the conditions that I am getting better results. Focus is almost always on auto unless I am doing some macro shots. I always shoot in RAW. For wildlife I shoot at F4.5 to F7.1 and ISO 400 upwards but I try not to shoot above ISO 800 ...... I hate noise!! The shutter speed varies a lot as bears and moose, being more sloth like, are quite different from shooting birds! I jump between AV and TV modes. Focus is always on auto and my cameras are set for back-auto focus. Again always in RAW and white balance for the most part on auto.
Q6. What kind of tools do you use for post processing?
Celine: I use Photoshop Elements, the latest version and also Colour Efex Pro. I have Silver Efex for my black and white images. I have an Apple iMac 27" screen and I just recently invested in a Canon Pro-10 printer and a Spyder 5 pro calibrator!
Q7. Whose work has influenced you most in recent times?
Celine: I really don't have any favourites when it comes to photographers of my time. Have always loved Ansel Adams work. I find on Flickr and suchlike there is an amazing amount of talent out there but at the end of the day I just try to shoot what I love and not be swayed by others.
Q8. When you go away on holiday, what camera gear do you bring with you? Why?
Celine: Too much ... I'm a work in progress!!!! I'm always afraid that I won't have the right equipment with me when I travel so I inevitably bring too much! When I really have to reduce the load I take my Canon 70D, Tripod, Canon 100-400mm lens, Canon 10-22mm and my trusty Canon 28-135mm. Extra battery and charger and SD cards and my Lee Filters!!! Yes, it is a heavy load but I reduce the amount of clothes in the suitcase to make room!
Q9. Among the photography gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn't bought? Why?
Celine: I made many mistakes with buying the wrong type of camera bags over the years. I have had my trusty Lowepro now for the last 10+ years, makes a big difference having the right bag for your equipment! The Gorillapod was another mistake ........... think I've only used it once!!!
Q10. Finally, What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Celine: I wish when I first started out that I had taken photography learning at a much slower pace! I was so eager to get going that I got very confused about all the terminology and techniques. My advice to anyone starting out is get to know your equipment and it's capabilities first. Find out what type of photography you would like to try and get out and practice, practice, practice!!! Don't get upset if you take bad shots (I was very critical of myself in the beginning), learn from your mistakes. Never be afraid to ask the same questions over and over again until you fully understand.
Finally, enjoy your photography but remember to look around you instead of through the lens all the time! You can miss some magic memories if you don't put the camera down now and again!!
Our thanks to Celine for taking part in this spotlight feature and sharing with us.
If you would like to see more of Celine's work please check out her Photostream over on Flickr. Click here to view her images and follow her work.
Celine also has her own website. Click here to check out 'Moments by Celine'.