Chris: Let’s start with a little bio, tell me about yourself.
Scott: Thanks for the chance to talk about my photography with your readers! I’m a Kansas native, grew up in Kinsley, a small town in central Kansas and lived there until moving to Manhattan for college. I swore up and down that I would only be in Manhattan for the 4 years it would take me to get my degree. That was in 1988…3 degrees and 22 years later I’m still here! I love this part of the state, I feel very connected to the Flint Hills and even though I wasn’t born in this part of the state, it is my home. Photography has been a great balance to my “left brained” day job as a research scientist. There are definite wrongs and rights in the world, but in photography there is no wrong or right. I love that about photography. Everyone sees things differently and that is ok with photography.
Chris: How did you become a photographer?
Scott: I was fortunate while growing up to have a lot of opportunities to spend time outside my family took a couple of camping trips a year and I went hunting and fishing with my Dad a lot. When I moved to Manhattan to go to college, I didn’t really have a chance to be outside much and I really missed that. I kept telling myself I should get into nature and landscape photography as a way to get back outside. I went on a family vacation to Colorado in the early 90’s and bought a point and shoot film camera and a bunch of black and white film to take pictures of the trip. I thought I was going to be Ansel Adams. The photographs I took on the trip were horrible, but I was hooked. Not long after that I bought myself a SLR for Christmas and decided I was going to teach myself how to use it. Photography has just continued to be more and more important to me and a bigger part of my life ever since.
Chris: Why should I purchase one of your photographs?
Scott: I make photographs because I’m continually in awe of the beauty that is around us. Photography has taught me to be better at “seeing” the world and not just passing through it. I think (I hope at least!) that I’m able to capture that beauty in my photographs and a little bit of the ‘awe’ I was experiencing when I made the photograph. I hope that people that buy my photographs get to share in my experiences and bring a bit of beauty to their homes.
Chris: If you had to pick your favorite piece of equipment, what would it be and why?
Scott: Right now, I would say my Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 lens (ask me this again in a couple of months and I’ll probably give you a different answer). The wide view of this lens really lets me capture big, open views. I love the way that lens just soaks up the view in front of me. It is challenging to use because it is easy to include too much when shooting with it. That makes me feel good when I get a shot I’m happy with using that lens.
Chris: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Scott: Have fun! Don’t get frustrated with the technical side of photography. If you are struggling with setting your camera, what f-stop is, etc. just keep at it. If you are frustrated with your work, don’t forget that you will get better the more you shoot. Analyze your work, get feedback and keep shooting. Don’t overlook the value of connecting with other photographers too. The internet has been great for that. I would have progressed so much faster when I first started if I had been able to find a group of people to shoot with and get advice and help from.
Here is some of Scott’s recent work!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve started doing more and more night photography, especially of the Milky Way. Being out under the stars at night in a really dark location is amazing. I will never get tired of that. Helps keep things in perspective to stand there and look at all those stars and wonder what is out there. I made this photograph while on a road trip with my dad, who is also a photographer. We were photographing down around Coldwater, Kansas and it was so dark that night the stars were incredible. Great experience.
I made this photograph during sunrise, which is rare for me, I’m not a morning person. I managed to stay in one location and get shooting these birds as the sun was rising and the fog was burning off the lake. I don’t always have a lot of patience and one of my weaknesses is that I leave locations to find ‘something better’ when I should have stayed where I was. In this case though, I stayed in this spot most of the morning while the light was good and photographed the birds flying around in the fog. Things like this are going to turn me into a morning person!
This was an evening where the light started out incredible and just kept getting better and better as the sun went down. When I first got to this location, it was windy and the lake was not as calm as I had hoped it would be. But as the evening went by, the wind died down and the lake went still and the reflections of the sky in the water were fantastic. I really liked how this photograph turned out. The light really picked up the color of the plants in the foreground. This was another case where staying in one location for the entire evening really paid off for me.
This was one of the first photographs I made that I planned out in advance. I normally just pick a location and hike or drive around watching the light and ‘hunting’ for subjects. In this case though, I knew the full moon would be rising around sunset which is a good time to try and do landscape photography and include the moon in the photograph. I used the software program “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to scout some locations I was familiar with to determine where the moon might rise. Once I saw that the moon would rise behind these trees, I knew there would be an opportunity for a great photograph.
Like most photographers, I can’t stand to have my picture taken, but lately, I’ve been trying to make a self-portrait every time I go out. The reason I do this is to remind me to step away from the camera for a bit and just enjoy what I’m photographing. Too many times I’ve realized while I’m downloading my photographs from a shoot that I don’t really remember “seeing” what I was photographing. I get so wrapped up looking through the camera and making photographs that I forget to just stop and ‘be there’. Making these self-portraits is a reminder to myself to stop for a second and just watch what is going on.