I come from a family of musicians, and was myself a musician and composer for most of my adult life until my first marriage broke up, went through two complete career changes and was diagnosed with severe depression. I lost my muse and haven’t picked up an instrument or written a score in roughly 14 years.
However, in that time, I met the woman was was to become my 2nd wife who herself was already an avid and accomplished landscape photographer. After one too many trips where she shot and I impatiently sat/stood around waiting for her to finish, she got me a tiny Panasonic FS7, and I started to shoot along with her. That was 5 cameras and several years ago. I now have a new muse. She shoots Canon full frame, but I, having started off with such a small (but optically quite good) camera, liked the small form factor and stayed with Panasonic, first going to an LX5 and then to a GH series camera and I’ve stuck with them ever since. I really like the mix of quality and size in Micro Four Thirds, and likely will not be changing to Full Frame. I shoot a GH4 now.
Yes, I know that the depth of field and high ISO noise will never equal that of larger sensor cameras, but frankly I don’t care as that doesn’t come into play with what I’m now shooting, and the small form factor (and table tripods) can really let me get up close and personal w/out having to lug around a lot of unnecessarily heavy or unwieldy gear and BIG lenses.
I shoot a mix of Panasonic and Olympus lenses, and have tried using legacy glass, but found it to be somewhat less-than-ideal for what I shoot. I process through Lightroom exclusively, and use NIK plug-ins, but have found myself gravitating more towards Capture One for its better pure RAW conversions, but that remains an commitment not yet taken. There’s always a learning curve that involves not just learning new methods and interfaces, but trying to get the same results that used to take only seconds.
I shot for several years landscape/architecture almost exclusively, but have always had a fascination with shooting things far more close-up and intimately than in landscapes, so product shots and near-macro shooting, as this new project requires, present new ways of looking at things that really captivate me. I really like creating small stories and stoking the imagination of a viewer with the set-up required for presenting what people would like to eat (or at least vicariously experience).
While photography is always about the light, this forces me to grapple with it MUCH more directly than I ever had to, since I now can (and have to) control it; I’m not sitting on a ridge line or high up in Sierra granite, waiting and hoping for the right light, the right clouds, the right timing, etc… That’s wonderful, of course, but now I’m in control of how many more factors come into play, and that’s charmingly challenging. With landscapes, I can always look back and think of how I might to things differently next time, but with food, product and interior shots, and can make sure that the right changes are in place before the next time. That can’t happen out in the wild.
Looking at what I’ve shot from the very beginning, I have a tendency to try and create ‘dreamscapes’, for lack of a better word, or to convey an otherworldly or ineffable aspect of what is otherwise just the natural world, and this has so far has carried over into shooting food and products. What I shoot, no matter what it is, is a personal interpretation what I see (or sometimes want to see) in the subject; I’m almost never there to create a photographically authentic reproduction of what I’m shooting; I’m not shooting for a clothes catalog. I try to render how the subject feels or should feel to me in such a way that the viewer not only sees what I want them to see, but their imagination is sparked such that they create their own mental picture of how it could be for them.
A lot of that has to do with light, light that I now control, and with what’s there; just enough to make the right shot, nothing distracting or extraneous. Not that it’s necessarily synesthetic in reality, but to me, when done right, one ‘hears’ a photograph in the silence of other things; what’s left out is as important as what’s there.
I hope my shots sound good.