Thursday, July 29, 2010

Behind The Lens: Debbie West

I love that teaching photography gives me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. Debbie is one of those people. I have loved watching her skills develop and just love the details she is able to capture. 

I'm pleased to introduce you to Debbie West.

What sparked your interest in photography?
I have enjoyed photography for a number of years but the real “match to dry grass” moment for me was a couple of years ago when I was browsing the Shutterfly site and came across Ali Edward’s December Daily book. I had just discovered something I never knew existed; digital scrapbooking. I was immediately smitten with the pages featuring wonderful big, bold, up close and personal photos. I loved everything single element of the process of scrapbooking but found myself frustrated at not having great photos to use on my pages and set out to do everything I could to improve my skills. In that process I found that I really loved the “art” of photography.

This was taken for Lesson 3 on metering.  I used matrix metering but more importantly, it was my first successful capture on Manual. 

What makes you happiest about your photography?
Nothing makes me happier than uploading a photo and realizing I’ve captured something unexpected; a detail I would not have otherwise realized existed.

The object was to find a new angle.  Once I found that, I thought most predictable point of focus would be the floral scene; so I went for the cup handle!  I really liked the result.

What have you learned that helped your photography most?
First of all, the very basic skill of focus; specifically of changing focal points.  I have learned how to completely change the “story” of a photo by changing its focal point.  I think it is the most effective way of saying, “THIS is what I want you to see”.   And secondly, I would have to say, perspective.  I remember the lesson where Katrina tells us to lay on the ground, point our camera up and shoot!  Now there was something I’d never considered doing!  But I have always remembered that lesson and now consider perspective in almost every photo I take.  I consciously think, “How can I show this to someone in a way they might not consider.”

I used both negative space and the rule of thirds for this photo.

How has your photography changed since Your Life: Captured Through the Lens?
It has become much more thoughtful.  I think one of the most helpful tools I came away with from Your Life: Captured Through the Lens was the critique sheet Katrina distributed for a chat session.  We uploaded photos and used the questions as a basis for critiquing them.  This was a huge eye opener for me.  I still remember the night Katrina pulled up my photo and proceeded to ask this group of complete strangers, “So how does this photo make you feel?”  Initially The Scream flashed before my eyes, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience.  I look at my photos with much more intent now.  It has also become much more adventurous as I am now comfortable with all of those “mystery” knobs and buttons on my camera.

This photo sparked my interest in seeing everyday things from a different perspective; it may be responsible for an addiction!

What are your photography goals for 2010? or Any Projects for 2010?
I have only just completed the class so I know that daily practice is very important to continue improving my skills.  I have started the 365 Project and hope to continue it through 2011.

You can see Debbie's scrapbook pages at DesignerDigitals.

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.


C.L. Davis said...

I love these types of postings. It is always fun to read about someone else's photography starts, ideas and inspirations.

mugsbigsis said...

OH MY! One of my favorite photographers! Debbie, you already know how I feel about your photos so I must thank Katrina for featuring you. :O) The knife shot has always been a favorite of mine because that was the first page you did at DD that literally took my breath away. I love what you said about the cup, ". . . the most predictable point of focus would be the floral scene; so I went for the cup handle!" (And, I thought I was just defiant for thinking like this) ;)


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