FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER
FAMILY, STUDIES & ME
I was born and raised in Palmer, Alaska. My grandfather started the first modern dairy farm in Palmer and my father was also born and raised there. My mother's family moved to Alaska when she was 3 years old. My family grew up swimming in Alaska lakes and eating homemade freshly picked rhubarb and blueberry cream pies for breakfast. Yes, homemade pies for breakfast! I've hiked some of the popular mountains in my hometown to flipping off rock cliffs into glacier waters. In the winter, we did some extreme sledding down mountains, made snow forts, and we were always fortunate enough to see the celestial dancing of the aurora borealis. I am 100% Alaskan if there ever was such a definition. I must also add that I do love a good competitive game of soccer or volleyball.
I also love to travel and experience the world through people native to the area. I have traveled all over the US, Europe, and served an 18 month service mission among the people of the beautiful country of Mendoza, Argentina. I feel that part of my mission in life is to connect people through inspiring images of other people, the earth, and its creations. I believe every person and place has a story; so I create imagery that shares that story.
I studied mechanical engineering in Fairbanks, Alaska. I realized toward the end of my college degree that as much as I loved the math and sciences, I didn't have a desire to work as an engineer. I finished my Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and my last year of college, I met and married my wonderful husband. I am now the mother of four amazing boys. They teach me more about life than I could ever hope to learn on my own. My family is what brings me true joy and happiness.
Since college, I have continued to use my technical knowledge in many other areas. I have been drawn to and studied much of the math and science behind photography. I use this knowledge for accuracy in my lighting, distances from my subjects with the different focal lengths and lenses, and controlling my camera settings. I also use it during my post-processing. But ironically, the technical aspects are not what initially drew me to photography.
Me as a child. Photo taken by my Uncle Newell Walther.
Me with family we helped in Mendoza, Argentina
The joys of my life: My handsome husband and 4 beautiful boys.
INSPIRATION FOR STARTING PHOTOGRAPHY
Although I grew up using a camera, I really didn't know anything about photography. It wasn't until a few years ago, I read a book by Richard G. Scott titled, "21 Principles." There was a chapter where he encouraged his readers to try something new, something that inspired the artistic mind... pottery, writing, photography, etc. As soon as I read that, I immediately felt inspired to pursue photography. After a little convincing, my husband and I bought our first DSLR. I still own that camera and I still use it as my primary portrait camera. But I quickly realized it was not the fancy camera that took such beautiful photos, it was the photographer. Technically, photos are not captured, they are created. Cameras are not advanced enough to read all the light and color like our eyes can. Nor will they tell you what you should capture to make a great composition and an inspired photo. So you have to supplement your camera equipment with great lighting setups, composition techniques, post-processing skills, and most importantly, knowing who you are photographing. What once was done in a darkroom is now done on computer software like Adobe's Lightroom. So I have also become well versed in post-processing skills for digital photography.
My photography journey has been one of research, study, practice, and experience. It was not an easy one. But I loved it so much, I continued learning all I could to capture the images I saw in my mind and in person. I have spent thousands of hours studying and practicing photography and I continue to do so. It adds new techniques and creativity to my work. I have studied from Jim Harmer, a friend of my husband and a world renown photographer (ranked #17 in the nation and #35 in the world!). I have also studied and learned from other nationally recognized photographers, such as top National Geographic photographers and Peter Hurley, #1 portrait photographer in New York. I have learned what elements and principles make a great photograph. One of those key elements is the very definition of "photography," the study of light. If you don't have the right lighting or the right angle of lighting, your photo will be nothing but a Photoshop project, that may or may not be salvageable, depending on how the lighting was cast on your subject.
MY STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
My journey has brought me to understand my style of photography. I am a combination of both an artist and photographer. I was born of a passionate photographer-- my mom; and a talented graphic designer-- my dad. I have learned that I am now drawn to create photos that paint a great deal of light on the subject. I also love saturated and vibrant coloring on clothing and details. But I am very careful of the skin tones. I love detailed complexions and radiant skin tones. One of my favorite signature features in my photos are the eyes. In close-up shots, I will always light up the eyes. I believe the light in people's eyes reveals their goodness and reflects a person's inner beauty. That is my ultimate goal-- to capture the worth of an individual in my portraits.
I now see beautiful photographs in my mind of people and places everywhere I go. And when possible, I try to not only capture, but create those images. I believe God inspires us through meaningful photographs. I have been inspired through the many photographs from past generations of family and history to the work I do know. My eyes are now more "open" to moments of joy all around me-- the joy of family, friends, people, nature, beauty, and all that inspires goodness.