By The Light is excited to introduce the ‘December Fave 15’ guest judge Cate Wnek of Cate Wnek Photography ! Cate has chosen the theme “Morning Light” and will be selecting her 15 favourite images for our December 15 – Fave 15 post. Cate has graciously shared some of her images, and herself, in her interview below. You can also follow Cate’s stunning work on Facebook .
Tell us a little about you and when your photography journey began Cate…….
On my 16th birthday there was a quick thunderstorm in the afternoon that left water droplets every where to shine when the sun reappeared. They looked like diamonds and pearls. It was the first time I really noticed light. I was so inspired by it I wrote a poem about it. Then that summer I went to France, with a camera on my own to visit our exchange student and photographed everything to share with my family when I returned home. And, again when I went to Ireland for my junior year in college. But the fast pace of life kept me focused on other things until I had children. Photography became a way for me to have fun with them together, sharing in the joy of them doing what they love. And then, I fell head over heels for the magic of capturing gorgeous light too.
Tell us why, as an artist, natural light photography is your favorite…..
Natural light illuminates everything so beautifully, and with such variety. Natural light is always changing, making for an infinite amount of shooting opportunities. It varies in quantity, intensity, direction, and color. I have been shooting in manual mode for about 5 years, but it wasn’t until this past year that I really began to see and experiment with natural light. I used to look at beautiful images online, and wonder how the photographers made them. When I started taking some online workshops, I began to see what a big role the light plays in the image. The light makes a good image great. I began experimenting, taking risks shooting my two children to see what worked and what didn’t. In doing so, I found shooting into the light to be my most favorite. The rims, puffs, haze, and rays pouring over my little subjects fills my heart, making me giddy with joy. Just the other day, on the way back from our Thanksgiving weekend, we stopped at the Welcome to Maine rest stop, and there was some beautiful light. So we unpacked my camera from the back of the car and took pictures for a few minutes. Back on the highway, it was cloudy and overcast after a mile, and I was so glad that I had taken that opportunity to shoot into the light when I could.
Photoshop or Lightroom?
I begin in Lightroom. I adjust the exposure a bit, and then head down to the HSL panel. The luminosity sliders are fantastic for intensifying colors on a selective basis, as well as correcting skin tones. I then bring the image into Photoshop where I paint on adjustment layers with curves and levels to bring a bit more depth.
Have you ever found yourself in a creative slump, and if so, what did/do you do to recover?
Without the creative slumps, we wouldn’t know creative highs. We all go through them don’t we? Actually, I am in one right now. I just finished my 365 and feel unsure about what is next for me in my work, beyond shooting my two children. I feel like the wind direction has changed, they are both in school all day, and I need to find the next thing. Of course, I will keep shooting my children, but I feel like further growth will only come at this point if I break out of my comfort zone. When I feel low about my work, I just try to remind myself that it is really my inner creative preparing for something better. I just go back to enjoying the all of the details of photography. The feel of the camera in my hand, the light flooding in, the fun of bringing the image to completion in post processing. I keep shooting and journaling, continuing to take small steps forward until the slump fades away.