Archive - January 2012

Chris Miasnik, Bluffdale, Utah

Chris Miasnik

How long have you been a photographer?

I'm honored that you would even think I've had a special interest with photography or that I've ever put a lot of time into it. I'm just a regular Joe who has a pocket-size digital camera.

What first piqued your interest in photography? 

Nothing special, but on my trips to Europe, I like to take photos of places that have meaning to me and maybe to others, such as places where I served my Church mission 35 years ago in Belgium and France, or towns where my ancestors lived, in Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, and France specifically so far. I want my photos to generate excitement in the viewer about doing missionary and family history work.

What is your photography forte? 

I suppose it might be picking out subject matter that has meaning and worth. Being able to "frame" my photos with vegetation (mostly trees) helps me appear like I know what I'm doing. And I like symmetry/balance, up and down in addition to side to side.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos? 

Number one tip: "Closer is better." It makes human subjects feel more important, and it shows (kids you don't even know love to see the photos you've taken of them on your digital screen). Lack of focus on one subject detracts from the emotion you might be trying to convey. Also, I like to add stories in my captions, so that the full meaning of the photo can be told. Lastly, I use an online site to correct color balances—since I'm red-green color-blind!

What do you think photographers could do to help in the Church’s call for photos? 

If you know of others who are good at taking photos or at digital scrapbooking, let them know about Nonmembers can do this as well!

What pitfalls should photographers who are using Vineyard remember to avoid? 

Set your digital camera to its highest resolution. Many of my photos were not accepted because the resolution was set below 900 X 900 (but that was before I learned about the Vineyard and the call for photos; I had my camera set on a lower PC mode, which had allowed my many photos to upload faster).   

What advice would you give to new photographers? 

Take your digital camera with you just as you would your cell phone.  If you see something that interests you, take the picture. It's not like you are spending money on film! And you may never get a second chance. You can keep it or delete it later. I like seeing "texture" in photos. When putting together an album, it helps to keep people's interest if you show both continuity and variety of color and orientation (portrait/landscape) within those continuity segments.

—Chris Miasnik

Mark McAdams, Idaho

Mark McAdams
How long have you been a photographer? 

I’ve been serious about photography since my mission for the Church back in 1984. But my first camera was a Kodak 110 camera when I was in my early teens. It was a simple camera, but it was enough to get me hooked on photography for a lifetime!

What first piqued your interest in photography?  

The amazing part of photography is that we can stop a moment so that everyone who views the photo can be in that moment and absorb what the photographer is trying to share. We are left with a much more robust experience as a result, allowing for inspiration to impact those who experience it.

What is your photography forte? 

I really don’t have a particular forte because I don’t think any artist actually arrives at a particular talent and finally becomes an expert. The same is true with the photographer. We may master nature scenes and then realize that photographing people is a totally new challenge. The learning never really ends.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

What has made the most difference in my photography is the 12-megapixel digital image technology combined with digital image editing software. The combination allows me to quickly view, change, and edit photos.

What is your favorite photo in this group that is not your own?

My favorite photo is “Brothers,” taken by W. Collins. The connection that brothers have is unique. This photo reminds me of my older brother and me when I was much younger! Perhaps this is a reminder of the closeness brothers feel when they are young siblings and how we should try to never lose that connection.

What about photography inspires you?

Photography to me is like poetry. Every final image should inspire all who view it in a way that makes us more complete. In the end, it’s not the camera, photographer, or the actual picture. The art of photography inspires us to do better, try harder, and be thankful for seeing all of God’s work in a new light. It inspires me to inspire others.

How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

That’s a really tough question to answer! But I think the basic rule is that if it inspires me, it will inspire others, as long as I don’t get in the way! 

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

My favorite location to shoot is in Yellowstone National Park, not only for the wildlife and nature, but how we as human beings interact with it, share it, view it, and are inspired by it. 

What do you love about photography?

As a disabled person with adult ADHD, I find that photography is one avenue that turns my disability into a talent. What most might see as an apparent lack of focus actually allows me to quickly interpret all aspects of what makes a good photo (exposure, focus, depth of field, and subject) and adjust each to come up with the right shot. Multi-tasking and creativity are talents that most ADHD people have. These are perfect talents to utilize in the field of photography or any artistic form.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

I think any successful photographer needs to live in the moment of his or her shot. Disregard the noise from the jets flying over, the noise of traffic, the cell phone, and the distractions of everyday life. This is your moment to focus on God’s most positive aspects of life and impact the people who view and experience them. It’s a moment that inspires us to be better Saints, in an almost miraculous way.

—Mark McAdams