The theme for June’s photo contest was ADVENTURE. We loved seeing all your adventurous, mountain-climbing, wilderness-trekking photos. Our winner was Sara Rogers’ impeccably composed and beautifully minimal image of a lone surfer drifting out to sea. We were pleased to see this sense of serenity and candidness was present in Sara’s other photos as well.
We asked Sara a few questions about this image and her photography in general for this month’s edition of Winner’s Circle.
MPEX: Can you explain how you made the winning image? How far away were you from the guy on the water? What kind of lens and camera settings did you use? And why aren’t there any other people at such a beautiful location?
Sara Rogers: This image was made by climbing up some rocks on the beach where we were having our day. Unfortunately, I don’t know the area/Cay/Island where we were, as we were cruising around the Exumas. The water in the Bahamas was the most incredible color I had ever seen and we were taking pictures of the color contrasts all week. I was fairly close to the person in the water (my nephew) as the climb was about 50 feet and the beach was directly below, but he was somewhat far out because it was so shallow and calm where we were. I was shooting my Canon 60D (purchased at Midwest Photo Exchange), the lens is 18-200mm, and my aperture value was set at 22. We were the only people at the beach; it was an area we found while doing some exploring while we were trying to get away from the rougher waters where our boat was anchored. It was an incredible day! It felt like we were on a deserted island with just our group. One of the reasons I love this photo so much is I feel it embodies the day we had: calm, serene, filled with family and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
How long have you been taking photographs? Did you go to school for photography, or was it something you learned in your free time?
I purchased my camera a year ago, so I have not been taking photos very long and do not get a chance to go out and shoot very often. I have taken a few classes through the Washington Photo Safari, and they were great to help me learn the camera and how to achieve some of the things I was hoping for, and to “get out of the green square setting” as they often said. I still have to look at the notes I took sometimes, and I find myself taking multiple photos and changing different settings to try to find the effect I am looking for. I would say I am more than an amateur but I have a ton of fun with it.
Do you favor a particular genre of photography? What makes a good photograph, in your opinion? What inspires you?
I love to shoot landscape, nature, animals, architecture. I live in DC, so the parks, monuments and historic buildings offer amazing backdrops for taking photos. And, of course, I love to take pictures of my dog and family. In my opinion, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love different color plays in photos and am always drawn to that as well as candid photos where you just catch life happening. In my photos, I am constantly changing the ISO to play with the colors in the photos.