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Thread: Interview with Friends & Family Moderator, Christopher Miller

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    Moderator Julie Kenward's Avatar
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    Default Interview with Friends & Family Moderator, Christopher Miller

    Christopher Miller lives on his family’s farm in Winchendon, Massachusetts with his parents and eight siblings (two sisters and six brothers!)
    He has loved art and nature for as long as he can remember. At the age of 14, his mother first showed him how to use a camera (a Minolta DiMAGE Z1) and, from that moment on, he was hooked. Christopher used that camera every day to take photographs of anything that caught his eye - right up until the camera broke. He has been involved in photography now for over seven years and loving it just as much as he did when he first started.

    One of the defining moments for Christopher as a photographer came along in August 2008. He was photographing a dragonfly and, for the very first time, he was able to visualize the photo exactly the way he wanted to capture it. (See the dragonfly image below.) In that moment, Christopher felt he made the move from ‘taking snapshots’ to ‘creating art’.

    To see more of Christopher's work you can view his albums here at BPN.

    Now let's find out some more about Christopher!

    Do you consider yourself to be a professional, semi-pro, or student?

    I consider myself to be a serious amateur but I have made money selling notecards of my photos. I’ve also started doing pet portraits which I would like to develop into a side business.

    If you’re not a pro, what’s your day job?

    I’m a farmer at heart. I work as a farmhand for Charlie’s Redhouse Farm, a certified organic farm just a short walk down the road from my house. I also have my own small business raising turkeys for Thanksgiving.

    What do you do when you’re not out with a camera in hand?

    When I’m not farming or photographing, I spend a lot of time processing my photos. I also enjoy spending time with my family and pets, taking walks back in the woods, and doing some drawing and painting.

    What make/model of equipment do you use on a regular basis?

    I have an Olympus SP-550 UZ which has been my trusty camera for the last four and a half years. I would like a DSLR but don’t have the money for that yet. In the meantime, I find the Olympus to be a very capable camera.

    What editing software do you use?

    Photoshop CS2.

    What classifications (or genres) of photography are you primarily known for or interested in?

    My specialty is “old,” textured photos, which is the process of using texture overlays to give my photos an aged or ‘vintage’ look. Some of my favorite subjects include pet and farm animal portraits, Civil War reenactments, and our old barn - my absolute favorite subject!

    When it comes to nature photography, my favorite genre is definitely macro though I also do some avian and landscape photography. (I use textures on all those photos, too!)

    When you’re not out photographing one of your primary interests, what else do you enjoy photographing?

    I will photograph anything that catches my eye. In recent years, I’ve done some experimenting with blurs and abstracts. Even though they’re not my favorite form of photography, I do find them interesting and a nice change from my usual style.

    Would you say your biggest strength lies in your technical skills with the camera, your artistic expression/interpretation, or your post-processing skills?

    My main style is very artistic and uses a lot of post-processing so I would say my artistic expression, along with my post-processing skills, are my greatest strengths. All the minute technical details of exposure, lighting, f-stops, and such doesn’t interest me as much. Give me a good photo that I can play with in Photoshop and I’m happy!

    Have you ever been published? Won any awards?

    Several of my photos have won “Photo of the Day” contests; other than that, I haven’t had any publications or awards.

    What was it about photography that first drew you in?

    From a very young age I’ve enjoyed drawing and painting. I love nature - especially animals - so photography was a natural extension of those interests.

    What keeps you coming back for more?

    I’m always working on improving my photography and I love seeing what new “old” photo looks I can create. That, along with the excitement of never knowing what I might see next through the viewfinder, are what keep me coming back for more.

    Whose work do you most admire and why?

    Everybody in the OOTB forum! As one of the OOTB theme judges, I’m always amazed and inspired by the creativity shown there.

    Do you have any current mentors or muses? Anyone who’s rocked your world with their knowledge of photography?

    Denise Ippolito’s beautiful images were a big part of what inspired me to try more OOTB techniques. Her many helpful comments have been a big help and inspiration to me along the way.

    The other person who has really affected me as a photographer is you, Julie Kenward. Your images have always inspired me (especially when it comes to macro photography) and your help and encouragement throughout my many series of images on acorns, leaves, and the old barn have been invaluable.

    How have you personally grown and/or changed because of your love of photography?
    Hmmm, that’s kind of difficult to express in words…but I’ll try. I have definitely become more aware of the beauty and artistry all around me. I slow down and appreciate more things like the stunning colors of a sunrise or the intricate pattern of a dragonfly’s wings or just the play of light on a barn wall. When I’m outside photographing nature, I feel a stronger connection to God through the world He has made. Through photography, I have also met and become friends with many new people, both here on BPN and in person.

    Has your photographic style changed over time? If so, how?

    My photographic style has definitely evolved over time. Even when I started, I was fascinated by vintage style photos and making photos look old, but initially it wasn’t my main style. When I started out, I primarily created natural photos without any ‘Out-of-the-Box’ techniques, which, in retrospect, was good because it helped me become proficient with the technical side of photography.
    Not long after I joined BPN, I began a number of series of photos experimenting with monochrome images, especially sepia toning. I found that looking at things in monochrome really helped me learn the ins and outs of composition and how to work my subjects. It also moved my images more and more towards trying to emulate the look of old photos. Then, in early 2010, I tried texture overlays for the first time, a technique which I immediately realized was perfect for the “old” photos that I so liked. Since then, it’s become my main style. There’s just something about that worn, vintage look that really appeals to me.

    How has holding a camera to your eye changed the way you interact with the world around you?

    I’m forever thinking, “Wow, that would make a good photo!” I find myself analyzing the light and shadows and mentally framing the subject even when I don’t have my camera in hand. Thanks to photography, I also notice far more of the little, interesting things in nature. For example, until I took up photography, I never realized just how many different varieties of dragonflies and damselflies there are!

    How long have you been involved with BPN?

    I joined in January, 2009, so I’ve been here four years and counting.

    How has being involved in our forums changed your photography?

    BPN has improved my photography in more ways than I could ever have imagined! It’s opened my eyes to notice little details which can make an image that much better. It’s also helped me develop my personal style. It’s pushed me to try many new things that I had never tried before - the list goes on and on!

    What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve gotten here at BPN?

    Never settle for a second-rate photograph!

    What forum do you spend most of your time in? Why?

    When I’m not moderating the “Introduce Yourself” and “Friends, Family, and Other Stuff” forums, I hang out in the Out-of-the-Box forum (not surprising, considering my “old photos” style is definitely OOTB). I’m also one of the judges for the theme-based contests there.

    Got any advice for future photographers?

    Remember that, as an artist, your art is your art. Yes, listen to and consider other people’s suggestions and critiques, but remember that they’re just opinions. You alone know exactly how you want your photos to look and, ultimately, you’re the one who should be pleased with them. Other than that, join BPN, and practice, practice, practice!

    What’s currently at the top of your photography dream list? (Where do you most want to go or what do you most want to photograph?)

    Africa!
    I have always been enthralled by Africa and its wildlife and would absolutely love to go there someday. Alaska is high on my dream list, too.

    We’ve all heard the phrase, “You can’t take it with you” but if you COULD take it with you, what one camera body and lens would you strap around your neck for all of eternity and why?

    I don’t really know. I guess whatever camera I have with me at the moment. After all, the camera is just a tool.

    Anything else you want to add?

    Don’t let excuses, like “I don’t have a good enough camera” or “I don’t have money to travel to great places,” hold you back. I’ve taken all my photos using non-DSLR cameras and most of my photos were taken right in my own backyard. Remember, it’s you, the photographer, who creates the photo - not the camera - and there are good photos everywhere if you just take the time and go looking for them.

    Lastly, I would like to thank everyone here at BPN for making it such a wonderful forum. I feel very privileged to be a part of it!

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    Jules


    __________________________________________________ ___________________________

    I'm a girl with a camera fetish. The only designer label you'll ever see me wearing is Canon. :)

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Excellent! Wonderful interview, down to earth. One line hit me as this is what I feel when photographing nature too, thanks for that thought Chris:

    When I’m outside photographing nature, I feel a stronger connection to God through the world He has made.

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    BPN Member Hazel Grant's Avatar
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    So nice to get to know you better through this interview. I've appreciate your work over the past 4 years. Learned from you and appreciated your kind comments to guide me and others.

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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    Nice to get to know you, Chris! Thanks for another fine interview, Julie.

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    BPN Member Sid Garige's Avatar
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    Chris,

    You have an unique skill to take images back in time. Always enjoyed your work.
    Glad to know more about you.

    Julie, thanks for another wonderful interview. Always enjoyed it.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Siddhardha Garige
    http://www.luminepixels.com

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    What a wonderful insight into your photographic life; your spirit and soul really shines through. I've always admired the way you make people feel so comfortable with their creative style which is quite a skill. Enjoyed the interview immensely.

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    Lifetime Member denise ippolito's Avatar
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    Another great interview Jules! Christopher you have always had that special something, maybe it's your deep connection to nature that shines through in your images but I have always felt it. It is always nice to learn more about the people that we share so much of our time with. Thank you for all of your help, support and inpiration in OOTB.
    A Creative Adventure
    PHOTOGRAPHY by denise ippolito


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    BPN Member Brendan Dozier's Avatar
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    Wonderful interview! Always enjoy your artistic creations at OOTB, Christopher, as well as your thoughtful critiques, educational tutorials and helpful advice. Really like those macro images as well, very nicely done. Totally agree about not having to spend tons of cash or travel to exotic places to create good images.
    © Brendan Dozier 2012

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    Great to meet you Christopher! I remember the acorn series well!

    Another nice one Jules.....Keep them coming!

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    Forum Participant Harshad Barve's Avatar
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    Wonderful interview
    TFS

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