This is the second month of highlighting a featured photographer and our guest feature for the month of April was Debra Smith of PixelusMoments. Debra submitted a hauntingly beautiful road ahead amidst the raindrops. I connected with Debra to learn more about who she was and a little more about PixelusMoments. You will find Debra’s image featured on our Facebook page and here on the webpage.
Tell us about yourself? and Are you a hobbyist or a Pro?
I am just an ordinary wife and mother of 3 kids living in a small town in West Virginia, USA. I was born in North Carolina but my mom took us on a trip to West Virginia when my brother and I were young. We just never went home. We moved around a lot as I was growing up so it’s such a comfort for me to be settled finally. I typically cringe whenever the discussion of possibly moving comes up. There’s very little to no opportunity to prosper out here so naturally the subject comes up often. I guess I’m just at a place in my life where I know that what I was searching for before I came to be where I am now did nothing for me. I don’t care about money, big houses, and fancy cars. I like to look at them but I know in my heart that those things won’t make me happy. I’m at peace with what God has given me: a devoted husband, 3 beautiful and intelligent children, a wonderful church family that I know I can depend on, and my little friend, Nikon. I want to consider myself a pro photographer but I think that’s mostly because my heart yearns to know its true purpose in this world. However, I really just do this for fun so I guess that makes me a hobbyist. Can I just call myself a professional hobbyist photographer? My mom used to say that a person who can’t decide on a major and just takes every class available is a “professional student” so I guess that works for photographers as well.
What will we find in your camera bag?
In my camera bag is a variety of things: trash, change, post-it notes, extra batteries and memory cards, Lensbaby Sweet 35 and 50, Nikkor 50mm 1.4, and my Nikon D5200. Still waiting for that upgrade to full-frame.
Who inspires you?
I’m not sure how best to answer this. I would have to say if there was one person who inspires me to work it would have to be my husband. Just by always showing his support, it’s hard for me to give up when I know how much he believes in me. My biggest flaw is that I’m a rather proud and arrogant person. I know this about me and I know neither are good qualities to possess. Believe me, I pray about it often. These traits make it hard for me to let myself be inspired (which in my mind is another word of “idolize”) by any one person or work. If I see someone going left, I will go right. If I see that everyone is photographing dogs, I’ll photograph cats. I find this inhibits me greatly. But I can’t help it. I want to be unique.
What inspired you to pick up your camera initially?
I have always had a lust for photography, but I had such a horrible time trying to work with film. I just got to where if it wasn’t a disposable camera or my Instamatic, I wouldn’t bother. As soon as I got my hands on either, I would shoot and shoot until there was no exposure left and then I would cry for days when it was all gone. One day they came out with the Kodak Advantix and I instantly fell in love. It was wonderful not having to deal with that film. The advanced film camera did all the work itself. To this day, I still have that camera. It breaks my heart that I can’t get film for it anymore. My husband bought me my first DSLR, I think, about 6/7 years ago. It was a Canon Rebel. I loved it!!! I still use it from time to time. I just wanted to get some good pictures of the kids as theywere growing up. I never dreamed that that one small gesture would get me where I am today.
Photoshop or Lightroom? – and – Why that choice?
I use Lightroom for basic edits and then finish up in Photoshop. All my presets are LR so that makes it easy for me. If there’s no major editing needed, LR is all. Anything major like spot removal or adjustments to the background or if I want to share it on Facebook, I will use PS. Mostly because I’m more familiar with more extensive editing in PS.
If you had to choose one area of specialization what would that be and why?
I don’t know. I started playing around with double-exposure (or double-layering) last January. I really enjoy working with it. I find it very therapeutic. There’s a level of mystery involved with double-exposed imagery that I find very fascinated and I feel it allows me to embrace my own unique style. Which as I have mentioned is extremely important to me.
Shimmering Light: Oh, the shimmering bokeh in this image! It makes me smile every time.
You can find PixelusMoments at:
Thank you so much Debra for sharing a little bit about yourself with the rest of the group.