Thursday, March 11, 2010

Behind The Lens: Kelly Middlebrooks

Kelly Middlebrooks is a talented photographer. I love the way she captures the emotions of animals in her life and the details surrounding her. In addition, she is a genuinely kind person. I was lucky enough to meet her in San Antonio last year at the DesignerDigitals crop and chatted with her until the late hours of the night about photography, life, and living in South Dakota! 

I'm pleased to introduce you to Kelly.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I bought my first camera (a 110) when I was about 14 years old.  I know I wanted it in the worst way, but I have no idea why.  I took pictures on our summer trips to my grandparents and of friends when I was in high school.   When I got married and had kids I took pictures to send to family as we were military and didn't live near any of them.  It was more of a documentation thing I guess.  I wanted to to show them where we lived and how the kids were growing.  Printed pictures sent through the mail were a link of sorts.  When a friend sold me her Canon 10D after my boys had left for college, I became hooked on digital and a whole new world opened up to me.

What camera do you use?
I now have a Canon Rebel XSI.

After the Through the Lens class, I was very conscious of the "rule of thirds". 

What is your favorite lens? 
The lens that is on my camera most of the time is a Tamron 18-200.  I love candid shots and most of the time my subject matter includes animals so a lens that doesn't require me to move around too much is a must.  When I am shooting still shots though, or working through a class assignment or tutorial, I love my Canon 50mm 1.8.

This one might be a little grainier than I'd like, but I never would have been happy with this on auto.  Thanks, Katrina.

What makes you happiest about your photography?
What I like most about photography is the emotion that I'm able to capture, being it the expression of an animal, the uninhibited emotions of my family or friends or the beauty of nature.  I love it when I upload a photo and find that I am smiling at what I see.

I used back button focus when I took this picture of Ed.  With the field as a canvas I was also hoping to capture some degree of depth of field that Katrina had taught in class.

What have you learned that helped your photography most?
I think out of all that I've learned from Katrina's class and tutorials, the thing that helped me the most was something that I learned in the very first lesson of my very first class. . . focus; specifically, continuous focus and the use of focus points.  I love photographing animals and since they tend to be moving most of the time these methods helped me produce sharper photos.  Because of the class and tutorials I also have more confidence about being able to "get the shot."  Before Katrina's class, my camera was always in "action/running man" mode.  This was my best chance of "stopping" those dogs in action.  Now, it's only action shots that I shoot in that mode. I'm no longer afraid to "mess with" the settings.  Thanks to Katrina, I'm loving the versatility I get with M and AV.

Rule of Thirds is prevalent here as well, but I actually walked around to find the best light for this one.  (Things I never thought about before. . . so fun!)

How has your photography changed since reading Get Me Off of Auto and taking Your Life Captured Through The Lens?  
Since my first class, I have noticed a big difference in my photos.  It's baby steps with me and I love the results of each new thing that I've learned from the lessons.  It seems that as soon as I'm happy with my results of a new technique,  I think of several other directions I want to go with it.  This just makes me want to learn even more.  I'm one of those people who crop through the view finder as I'm taking photos (rather than editing afterwards).  Looking at some of my favorite photos, it's evident to me that the rule of thirds has really influenced the type of shots I take.   Because of the class and tutorials I also "fill the frame" more than I use to,  I'm more conscious of bright sun and shadows and I pay attention to the details more when it comes to the "mechanics" of composing a shot. 

When I saw these mittens I immediately thought of the assignment on depth of field.  This photo turned out EXACTLY as I had envisioned it. 

What are your photography goals for 2010? or Any Projects for 2010?  
I take photos almost every day.  I love using my photos for my digital scrapbooking habit (excuse me, hobby), and am currently working on my second 365 book.  (I got hooked last year and just couldn't stop).  This year I really want to get a handle on quality of indoor photos. . .  the winters are long in SD (need I say more?)   I hate the harshness of onboard flashes and want to learn how to get better results with my external flash when I have to use it.  In general, I hope to grow in knowledge as far as photography goes and take my photos to "the next level."  (And you, my dear, Katrina will most likely be leading the way for me.  You inspire me in so many ways!)

Interested in seeing Kelly's 2009 365 book?

Were you wondering what some of Kelly's terms meant? Things like M, AV, or depth of field? Curious about her focus results and moving around for the light? You might be interested in The Very Basics: How To Use Your Camera a six week class to explore your camera, point and shoot or dSLR.

Have I helped you with a classebook, or tutorial? Would you like to be featured Behind The Lens? Send me an email at katrina at katrinakennedy dot com.


katie said...

love that shot with the mittens!! wow!!

Gabi said...

Beautiful photos! The one with mittens is my favorite :)

farabee said...

Beautiful woman inside and out! Great photography Kelly. Great teacher, Katrina!

Tami said...

I love the doggie in the field of dandelions :) Thanks for sharing...

myra said...

Kelly is so talented, and such an elegant lady. HUGE fan! And Jake loves that doggie shot. ;)

mollie said...

Another huge Kelly fan here . . . I love all of Kelly's photos, digital skills & her great sense of humor. I also love that she has a house full of boys . . . something that I can relate to for sure! Katrina I love your "Behind the Lens" series . . . I am inspired by the wonderful photographs and skills.

Carol said...

What a fabulous interview, one of my favourite people. :-)


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