When I was writing Get Me Off of Auto, I knew Melanie Grimes had to be part of it. I wanted her beautiful photos to demonstrate the steps in the book and simply, she's a treasured friend. She captures her everyday life so well and makes me sad an ocean separates us. I'd be at her house for tea everyday if she lived nearby.
I am so pleased to feature her in a special Behind The Lens, focusing on the wonderful photographers who contributed to Get Me Off of Auto. You've already met Kathie, now I'd like you to meet Mel.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
Seeing a brief second happen right in front of you and capturing it, as you saw it, so you can share it with other people.
I admit I used to use my camera to hide behind. I used to take it to all events and places I felt uncomfortable at and hide behind it. Now however I don’t. Its like 100% the other way round…I find my camera gives me more confidence; to stand up, move over there, take this shot, push to the front, direct my models – should I have some, and do whatever I have to do to get exactly what I picture in my head in my lens.
How has your photography changed since being part of Get Me Off of Auto?
OH YES my photography has changed since GMOA! Or rather, that should read ‘has changed back’. I went to college and did manual photography. You know, in the dark room, pushing the film speed, burning, dodging, chemicals, drying film with hair dryers… LOL and I learnt my light, my ISO, my everything. But then as time passed I got lazy. It was so easy to ‘get that toddler shot’ and just leave the camera on AV. Even easier to never alter the white balance, or any settings very much. Especially digital cameras. I was very ‘yeah yeah I know all that, don’t need to do it though.’
The longer this went on, the more I fell out of love with photography. I didn’t link the two at all until I did the assignments for the book. Back playing with settings to see ‘what would happen if’ I had so much fun. So much fun, you have no idea. I know I ended up sending Katrina ten pictures when she’d asked for one, because I just couldn’t stop! Ask me to tell you the story about the motorway photos one day ;)
I will always be very grateful for the big shove back to manual. I only shoot manual now, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Playing with shutter speed allowed me to capture the sprinkler as tiny droplets in the air as Daisy rushes through or turn the water into sharp daggers over her head.
What camera and lenses do you have in your bag? Which do you use most? Why?
I have recently upgraded to my beloved 5D Mark II, a full sensor. Oh its heavenly to have a responsive camera in my hands I tell you. Previously I had used two 400D, until they fell apart. Excellent little cameras!
Having just upgraded to full sensor I lost the use of two of my lenses. They were canon EFS fitting which doesn’t fit the 5D. So I am a little low on lenses right now…I no longer have a zoom!! But have my eye on a new one very soon!
I have a 50mm 1.4, which lives on my camera. Simply because I am a natural light photographer and it lets in so much light when I need it too! A 28mm 2.8 which I don’t use often but is fun for the right thing. And a 100mm 2.8 which is what I use for my macro shots. Luckily for me My father is a photographer too, and has a very impressive collection of lenses. If I need one I can usually borrow it, or try it out before buying my own.
Often I don't want everything in focus, just one particular spot. I love this picture of Mollie. It was a very hot day at a busy local fete. I wanted Mollies face in focus of course, and wanted the busy background to soften around her, but not disappear altogether.
What is the strangest thing you've photographed?
I have photographed many peculiar things. Once I start ot think about it… it’s a little crazy! Lets see; I have taken pictures of wet cement, cuts and bruises for legal cases, Hundreds of eggs for college work. Diamonds and sapphires, for my husbands work. I once had hundreds of pounds of those spread in a lightbox and stacked up next to me. Probably though the strangest thing my family would comment on is how I take photos. I think nothing of dropping to the floor and lying on my tummy to get the dew in the grass. Or of climbing fences when maybe I shouldn’t. Or of leaning out of windows, over cliff edges, into shopping baskets, underneath bicycles… you really cant get between me and the shot!
Where do you keep your camera when you aren't shooting?
My camera lives on my desk, ready to go or ready to download from. Its supposed to live on my side, next to my lenses, and my basket of lens cloths/filters/spare lens caps/etc but it never gets that far!
Backlighting, such a simple but oh so effective thing to do. I love this spider hiding under her leaf! I used a SOOc version and overlaid a version with a pinky preset applied, then reduced the preset version's opacity until I liked it .
What editing/organizing software do you use?
For editing I use CS3. I am going to upgrade, next time I’m feeling brave ;) I use Light Room 2, for downloading and for any presets, which I’m not going to upgrade. I am a little tired of all the upgrades that keep on coming with everything, especially when they make something obsolete or something new not compatible with the old. I’d rather spend my money on lenses you see…
I feel like I get to be part of Mel's life through her photos! It is such a special connection for me. You can see even more of her work in her flickr pool and at DesignerDigitals. You can follow Melanie's blog Sweet Nothings for a daily glimpse into her world.
If you are interested in Get Me Off of Auto, it is on sale today at DesignerDigitals!