Natural Bedding By Linn Smith
In the first of a photographer profile series, Florida resident and wildlife photographer Linn Smith shares how she got started, how she chooses her gear and subject matter, her favorite spots in the state and offers advice for others who are just starting out.
How and when did you start as a photographer? How did you discover the genre and style that you are doing now?
Strongly encouraged by my husband and professional photographer Alfred Büllesbach, I took up photography after retiring from 30 years in a totally unrelated profession. The digital age was just evolving and I was now free to devote my time to a field I had always aspired to be a participant.
After trying every subject available, I finally discovered wildlife as my main genre. Living nearby to a lake comprised of all sorts of nature certainly was a main contributing factor to this decision as well as the knowledge of observing the wide variety of wildlife subjects and their unique beauty and actions.
What’s your go-to gear/favorite camera + lens combo? What makes them the ideal tools of the trade for you?
So much of choosing a camera is attributed to a trusted referral by someone you know as it was in my case. Canon was recommended and I never regretted my decision. Starting with a Canon 5D, I’ve just recently graduated to a Canon 5D Mark IV. My favorite lens is a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM for shooting wildlife.
What are some of your favorite locations in Florida for bird/wildlife photography?
Florida is full of natural settings for wildlife, and the central area of the state is no exception with its wide abundance of locations. Close proximity to where I live is paramount to choosing my favorite locations. Lake Jessup, Lake Maitland, Viera Wetlands and the Titusville area on the east coast are but a few of my most frequented choices.
Do you have a routine to keep yourself sharp and inspired by the kind of photography that you do?
Improvement comes from trying new ideas, different angles and experimenting with the various settings on one’s camera. I try to practice these goals on a regular basis as well as viewing the works of other photographers I admire to learn from them and what they’re doing.
Who is/are your influences for photography and/or other pursuits? In what way/s have they made a mark on you and your craft?
Reading each issue of George Lepp’s column in Outdoor Photographer magazine has been an immense help to trigger fresh ideas and imaginative avenues. He and his wife, Kathryn, have inspired me to seek a different and unique approach to so many subjects. Their years of experience and knowledge have been invaluable. Also, Clyde Butcher has been a huge influence with his masterful images of Florida.
For you, what makes a compelling photograph?
Imagination and creative approaches to a subject excel as the main ingredient in a compelling photograph. Recently discovered ideas are constantly evolving, and it’s important to continue to strive for unusual approaches to all subjects of photography.
What’s one bit of photography advice that you wish you had heard while you were still starting out?
In acquiring real estate, the old adage is location, location, location. In photography, the adage should be practice, practice, practice. The more you practice and evaluate your photos with a critical eye, the more you’ll improve.
Lastly, what’s one bit of advice you can give to those who are just starting out and looking into discovering the genre and style they want to tap into?
Try as many categories of artistic composition in photography as you can in order to appreciate the work and effort that comprises each area. Through this process, one can learn which subject area you can express yourself best and help you decide your degree of proficiency. Enter Photo of the Day Contests for critical reviews of your work and to encourage and support others who are also just beginning. You can develop wonderful camaraderie and a fresh perspective through this exchange of ideas.
See more of Linn Smith’s photography at https://500px.com/linnsmith.