Carole Bouchard - In Her Own Words
Like most people and for most of my life, photography has been a means of capturing lifeís memories, such as family gatherings, vacations, and birthday celebrations. When I acquired my first Canon Rebel film camera, the resulting photographs improved dramatically. I only used the automatic setting and let the camera do its magic. I have no formal photography training and am basically self taught. Some of these photos were good enough to use on greeting cards and as gifts. A few years later I got a Canon Rebel T1i digital camera and a whole new world opened for me. I then met a very talented friend on Facebook who provided some long distance mentoring and my creativity expanded exponentially.
My current photographic interests are macro photography and water reflections. Almost all of the macro photographs I take are either in my yard or in my house. Each spring I canít wait for the plants to emerge, the flowers to bloom and the insects to arrive. One does not have to travel far to find great subjects. Through the winter months I buy flower bouquets or small flowering plants that fit in the kitchen garden window. I have taken many good photographs hand holding the camera, however to get really crisp and sharp images a tripod and a remote shutter release are essential. It would not be unusual to catch me on a step stool or kneeling on the kitchen counter in order to set up the best shot for a particular flower. The photo of a cyclamen bud that was published in last quarterís issue is one such flower. Because I love the interest that water provides, I almost always shoot after a rain or watering, or when ice is melting. Indoors I will water the plants and spray the foliage and flowers. The macro world is full of magic! There is so much more going on than the naked eye can see on its own. For these types of photos I use a Canon T1i camera with a 100mm Canon macro lens.
I am in love with water reflections. To me they are magical. All the photographs I take of water are from local ponds, brooks and rivers. Luckily there are many of them near my home. This interest actually started on a vacation in Florida when I took some photographs of an anhinga and caught the most interesting full-bird reflections in the water. I cropped them down to the reflection only and the result was really interesting and beautiful. Now I am constantly in search of bodies of water, large and small. Ponds provide a lovely combination of mostly still water (unless windy) and lots of busy insects that create interesting movements on the surface. That is how the image ďWater RingsĒ in this issue was created. Throughout the seasons the colors and foliage change providing newness every day. Often, the resulting photographs look like paintings. For these photographs, I use a Canon T1i camera with an 18-135mm telephoto zoom lens.
Digital photography allows us to experiment in a way that film photography cannot. I look for things that call to me and catch my eye. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnít. From hundreds of images, there may be a dozen or two that Iíll keep. The rest are deleted, and at no cost. I use iPhoto for most of my editing and itís easier to use than Photoshop. Sometimes I use Adobe Lightroom for a bit of tweaking and to add my copyright. There are many tools available to enhance your creative expression, and you donít need the higher end software to create beautiful images.
Often I am completely surprised, as I was with the photograph of Wild Grass included in this issue. This is a hand-held shot, so I waited for the light breeze to stop. Luckily my hands were fairly steady as well, and the lighting was right. It all just worked in the moment.
I have my long-distance mentor to thank for much of the success Iím having with photography. Even though we only had two telephone sessions and some email correspondence, he was key to opening a window into this world of photography that I may have missed on my own. He encouraged me to be creative and let go of the idea I was holding on to that editing was somehow cheating and not valid. What I realized is that all aspects of this process are part of personal creative expression, as it is with all artists. What freedom!
I canít wait for my next photography adventure to see where my intuition and passion take me. I hope you will try it too. Thereís a world of magic and beauty out there waiting for you to see it and capture it only as you can.