Dan Anderson: Kaysville, Utah, USA
I took photography in high school but didn’t keep with it. I picked it up a few years ago when digital cameras became more available. Really, it has only been the last few years that I have been doing photography.
What first piqued your interest in photography?
Shortly after getting my digital camera, I learned that bald eagles migrate through the area. Seeing an eagle in flight is exciting; photographing it so others can see what I have seen is inspiring.
What is your photography forte?
My passion goes to outdoor photography. I particularly enjoy landscapes and wildlife.
What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?
Always being conscious of your depth of field. Try and direct the viewer’s attention to what is important through focus, or the lack thereof. Learning to use your aperture correctly is a critical element of photography. Also, take pictures from high or low angles, close or far, sideways or with distortion. Don't just take snapshots; create your image.
What inspires me about photography is the ability to communicate the sense of wonder that I feel when I am out in nature. The world around us is amazing, and if I can convey what I see, that is inspiring.
How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?
I photograph what makes me happy. Either in my backyard or across the state, I look for scenes that are memorable.
Where is your favorite location to shoot?
I don’t have a favorite location, but I do have a favorite time of year: fall. Autumn is truly inspirational. I love the cool, crisp air, the sounds of leaves under my foot, and the colors that explode all around.
What advice would you give to new photographers?
Get in the game! As an amateur photographer, I hope to move beyond taking just snapshots. However, on numerous occasions I have taken great photos in spite of my skills. This is because I am out taking pictures. For me, success is where opportunity touches my lens. If you’re not trying, you’ll never improve.
How important is Photoshop in your final image?
I use software to adjust color, sharpen the image, and, at times, remove minor distractions, but I try to not overdo it. My goal is bring out the color and feeling that I remember from the scene but not make it beyond what it was. I enjoy taking pictures, but I don’t really enjoy photo editing. My goal is to take better pictures and do less in the digital darkroom, but I still do more than I would like.
What is your favorite lighting?
For me, it is the proverbial golden hours. The 60-90 minutes before and after sunrise and sunset make any scene just warm and alive. Also, wildlife is more difficult to find during the day.
Where is your dream location to shoot?
Where I am. I don’t mean where I live, but rather wherever I find myself. I believe there are unique and interesting things to photograph all around. I am blessed to live in a state with great diversity, but I try to take my camera wherever I go, as there will always be something interesting along the way.
What types of photos have you shared with the Church and members?
Most of the photos I have contributed are landscapes and scenic views. I have contributed some photos on the LDS Church Photo Needs List, but my passion is in wildlife and landscapes.
What is one tip that you would like to share?
Don’t get caught up in the hype. My camera is not one of the big names, it doesn't get a gazillion pixels, and I use the lens that came with the camera along with one I picked up for less than a tank of gas. Your equipment is only part of the equation. Knowing your camera and using it regularly is probably more important than the name on it. Keep clicking!
Photo spotted on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ official Facebook page.
Learn how to share your own photos through the Vineyard.