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About Me

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Corfu, Greece
Liana Metal lives in Greece, on the island of Corfu. She is an EFL teacher(MAEd -Applied Linguistics), book reviewer and freelance writer. Liana is also an artist. Her drawings/paintings can be found both online at www.aggelia-online.gr and at several shops in Corfu town. To contact the artist visit http://LianaMetal.tripod.com or her blog at http://LianasKerkyra.blogspot.com Η Ηλιάνα Μεταλληνού διδάσκει Αγγλικά στην Κέρκυρα, γράφει άρθρα και ιστορίες για έντυπες και ηλεκτρονικές εκδόσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο και ζωγραφίζει. Μπορείτε να την επισκεφθείτε στην ηλεκτρονική διεύθυνση http://toasprosaligari.blogspot.com και http://www.coffeetimecorfu.com


A book for kids/ 3 stories in English

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet Mary Ann Melton, the nature photographer!

Get to know Mary Ann Melton through this interview, and view the fantastic photographs she shoots.

Mary Ann!

We are happy you are here today to tell us all about you and your work!

Tell us about yourself. When did you start photography?

How long have you been doing this?

I started photography when I was young. My grandfather bought me a Kodak Brownie camera. My dad bought me a little Ansco camera with built in flash. When I first got married, my husband introduced me to 35mm photography. I shot my first wedding (with much fear and trepidation) in 1972. I continued to use my photography primarily to record our family vacations, my kids growing up, and memories for the kids that I worked with in scouting. In 2001, I got my first digital camera, an Olympus D510 zoom. As I got more serious about my photography, I bought my first DSLR. Since 2003, I've been moving from being an amateur into the professional world of photography.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the beauty that I find in the world around me. As I photograph, I become more aware and more attune to the brilliant colors of sunrises and sunsets, the small flowers, the colorful insects and butterflies, the patterns in the water ripples. etc. I am also inspired to go beyond traditional photography. My Photographer's Canvas images are created using in camera motion to create interesting effects. Sometimes I shoot from a moving car on a bumpy road. Other times I stand in place and use motion and zoom to see what happens. Digital photography really frees me, because there is no cost to develop and print film. I can try anything and if it doesn't work, you can easily delete the attempt and move on. These motion blur images are an act of faith in many ways. I chose an interesting place to try the technique and I'm amazed at what the camera captured. Right now I'm working on a sequence of images where the combination of the natural environment and the motion blurs create "characters" in the image - hidden from our eyes, but revealed in the image.

What does nature mean to you?

First and foremost, nature is representative of God's creation. As I view the mountains, the streams, the animals and their interactions, the deserts, I see the hand of God. As I watch animals interact with each other, I find applications and wisdom for living my own life better. As I watch animals defend their territory, parent their young, it helps me understand human behavior better. When I'm out in the field, not only does my physical body enjoy the outdoor activity, but my spirit rejoices in a way that is hard to explain.

Tell us about your recent work on birds. Is that your favorite species?

I've been feeding birds around my house for a number of years. So much of my photography is done when we are on trips out of state. When we're spending a lot of time traveling and I've been photographing 8-10 hours a day, it is easy to get home and put the camera away. The mundane but necessary life chores cry out for attention. Last year I saw killdeer chicks and Carolina wren chicks, but I had many other home projects going on so I didn't rush out and grab the camera - so I missed the shots. Henry bought me a book for Christmas, The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik. I got inspired to do a bird census on our 5 acres this year to see how many species frequent our property throughout the year. Some of the bird images I taking, I'm using to help identify some species that I haven't seen at my house before. An added incentive, I had a bird image taken at my sister-in-law's house that was published last summer in Nature's Best. So I am hoping that some of the bird photos will find homes in either nature or birding magazines.

Which are your plans for the future?

I'm currently making submissions to magazines and galleries as well as the major nature photography competitions. I am hoping eventually to start publishing books that will inspire people to take time each week to notice and enjoy the beautiful world around them - whether through photography, birding, walking, gardening, etc.

Do you use any special equipment to take photos?

For my bird and animal photography, I have the big Sigma 300-800mm lens with a special tripod. I LOVE this lens because it allows me to capture images that really get up close and personal with these animals without distressing the animal or disrupting its activities. Because birds are so small and skittish, this large lens lets me set up and wait for them to come in.

Any tips to share with the readers?

First, learn your camera and the basics of photography, composition and post processing with photoshop. Then go beyond and be willing to try new things and new equipment - be creative!

What do you advise new photographers?

I would advise new photographers to spend time taking lots of images - at all times of the day - in all types of weather. As in many other areas of life, patience is a virtue. You have to spend time in an area, going back again and again. Sometimes the lighting just doesn't make great images - too bright or too dark. But consistently getting out and photographing allows you to be there when the lighting or the situation becomes what I call "magical." And you can't always predict when the sun is going to light the entire sky full of clouds brilliant red or yellow. You can't predict when you're going to see a chick flutter its wings and beg for food while the mother sighs in exasperation.

Your motto?

Get yourself out photographing regularly - take LOTS of shots - you have to be out there consistently so that you will be there when the lighting, the clouds, the animal behavior all line up to create a work of art.


The way to guarantee you won't be published, exhibited, or win the competition is not to submit or enter. Submit, submit, submit!

Thank you!

Mary Ann's View Nature Photography Website

Mary Ann's Blog


Liana said...

Thank you so much Mary Ann for your interesting and helpful interview!
I wish you every success in your future plans,

rebeccal said...

Wonderful interview. Very informative. Mary Ann seems to have found her niche with this work.

melba-baxter said...

Mary Ann- You are still doing Wonderful things, and showing people how to take a moment and look at things differently. You are still a super neat Lady with so much talent. I am very proud of you!

Melba Baxter

Liana said...

Rebecca and Melba,,
Thanks for stopping by!