For those of you who enjoy my photography, you might have noticed my photography improve over time. Especially over the last year. There are many reasons for the accelerated improvement over the last year, one of them being switching over to Nikon equipment. Another being that I shoot constantly and get bucketloads of practice both with photography and photoshop. The other being that a year ago I started working at Calumet Photographic, a professional photographer retail store. I have learned a great deal about photography from a few of the photographers who I work with. People like Roy Fleith who’s background is in fashion photography, or Steve DePaul who’s background is in wedding photography, and Jon Shaver who’s background is in nature and wildlife photography. I’ve learned insane amounts of knowledge from them all. My thanks go out to all of them, and all of my co-worker associates at Calumet Photographic.
Jon Shaver is who I’d like to talk more about though. Jon may not know it, but I consider him my mentor as a nature photographer. He’s not only a photographer, but a photoshop artist too. He has a vision of photography that I desperately want to learn. Any good photographer can see in their mind what they want the image to become, but Jon has a creative “outside the box” ability that astounds me. He’s been more than helpful in constructive criticism on my photography, which he does without it sounding like criticism. He’s eager to show me new photoshop techniques when he can. He offers suggestions about how to move the business aspect of my photography forward. He puts ideas into my head about ways to reconfigure my camera that most people would never even consider. Jon’s been a wealth of knowledge with all of these things, but he’s even taught me a different way to think about photography. Sort of a photography philosophy. (Sounds kinda catchy doesn’t it?) When I go out to “listen to the wind” now, in my mind I see images that my eyes have never been open to before. I’ve become much better at seeing the steps needed to create a unique and artistic photograph. Jon’s teachings are a big part of that.
I’ve met more people who say they have a “passion for photography” than I can count. Most of them wouldn’t know what passion is if it were staring them right in the face. Most of them have no clue about photography. Jon has a passion for photography. Jon knows what passion is, and he’s an outstanding photographic artist. Oh, and the dude’s got zero ego about his photography.
Jon Shaver is featured in the next Calumet Focus magazine, due to be released in the near future, along with premier photographer Todd Gustafson. Jon’s portrait even made the front cover. (Gotta have a little fun with this Jon!) If you get the Calumet Focus, make sure to check out both Todd and Jon’s articles. The following link is Jon’s website for you to review. I highly suggest checking out his work.
Here is a link to my latest nature images, many of which were created using techniques and skills learned from Jon.
I’ve learned more from Jon about the Zen of photography than I can even convey. So Jon, I guess this blog entry is my way of saying “Thanks dude. Now when are we gonna go to Hooters again, so we can spend 7 hours talking about photography?” (We really did that! Spent 7 hours at Hooters talking about photography, in between pauses to stare at the gorgeous Hooters girls.) I wonder if Michael Barton would be game for a Hooters night with Jon and I, so I can pick his brain for a while? Hmmmmm?