In August, Michele Tremblay Photo chose the theme {Summer Days} and we had such a great response to the theme.  @kristcx was selected as the Guest Highlight for the theme.  I had a chance to connect with Kristen and learn a little bit more about here.  

Tell us a bit about yourself?  and,  Are you a hobbyist or a pro?

My name is Kristen Ryan. I am a wife and mother of two that lives in Oklahoma. We love to travel, camp and go hiking whenever we get the chance. I am a hobbyist photographer that enjoys capturing my family. I am working my way through my sixth year of my 365 project. I started it to grow in my photography and fell in love with how it made me see my world. I take notice of the little things and I love how I have captured my children’s childhood since they were babies. I also enjoying teaching photography. I have a breakout called “An Environmental Awakening” with the Click and Co store, sharing how to use your environment to make stronger images. I also teach at  HelloStoryteller in a class called “Authentically Creative” were I share how to stay inspired in your work and beat the creative ruts that we all find ourselves in time to time.

 

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This image of my son and nephew, I took on a weeklong camping trip. My nephew who had never been camping before came along with us. On this particular evening we went on a hike as the sun was setting. The clouds where just beautiful and so we sat down to watch the sunset. My son and nephew walked ahead to throw rocks into a raven. I loved this sweet moment between them and the amazing sunset.

 

Tell us a bit about your photography gear.  What is the lens you do not have but you desire to have the most?

I use a Canon 6d and a range of lens, but all on the cheaper side of the range. Since I am a hobbyist, I’ve never felt like I could justify spending a ton on photography gear. So I mainly find used lenses or budget friendly ones like the nifty 50! I really feel passionate about making what you have work. While there are definitely benefits to the more expensive equipment, I don’t believe you have to have it to make amazing work. I like to push myself creatively and I feel proud of what I can create even if it’s on a $150 lens vs $1500 lens. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a long wish list of lenses though. 🙂 I love to capture skies and include the environment in my work. Wide lenses are probably my go too, I use my Sigma 15mm a lot when I want to include the entire scene. I will carry my 24-105mm f/4 if I just want to have one lens. It gives me such great variety and distance if I need especially when we are hiking. If I am indoors, I use my 35mm f/2 or 50mm 1/8 to allow for more light.

Let’s see, if I could choose one lens off my wish list that I don’t have I think I’d have to chose the Canon 15-35mm f/2.8 it would give me the ranges I use both inside and out. Or maybe go completely the other way and do the Canon 85mm f1/2. I always love seeing other artists portraits with that lens. So beautiful!

 

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This is one of my most favorite photos. It isn’t perfect by any means, but the moment gets me every time. My daughter was learning how to ride her bike and she crashed. My husband scooped her up to comfort her while my sweet son picked up her bike for her making sure everything was ok. It was such a raw and honest moment. It melts my heart every time.

 

What makes you pick up the camera when you don’t feel like it?

My 365 project for sure. The entire project is a roller coaster, I feel excited and inspired to create sometimes. Finding little moments in the day that immediately makes me think “Oh that will be a great picture for the day”. But then there are those days that I am just not feeling it, the kids are stressing me out, we have a ton going on, etc. Those are the days I have to be mindful of finding little moments I can be appreciate of. Or I will take a self-portrait or still life of how exactly I am feeling, overwhelmed, frustrated, quiet, etc. I don’t necessarily show anyone those photos, but I still take them because they are a part of my life. Not every day is going to be a beautiful picture worthy day. But that is what I appreciate about this project, how it makes me find the beauty in my day or even really makes me point out why it’s a sucky day. Over the years of working through this project it has really stuck out to me how quickly time really does go by and how easy it is to overlook that when we are living our day to day. The kids keep growing, the daily motions while we are in them seem mundane but looking back even a year really, they are drastically different and I appreciate how this project makes me take notice of that.

 

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There was nothing special about this day, we decided to go for a walk to the park nearby our house. The kids were swinging, and the sky turned into such beautiful colors. I loved how it showed the spring blooms on the tree and the beautiful sunset of just any ordinary day.

 

Film or digital? Black and white or color? Lifestyle or traditional?

Film always has my heart because that is what I learned on long ago in school. I took some photography classes for fun in high school and college and learned how to use the darkroom and produce my images start to finish. It was such a great experience. I still have my film camera but haven’t used it in years. Digital is what my go to is now. I love making a vision come to life through Lightroom and Photoshop. I try my hardest to not use digital as a crutch by taking a million photos of one scene hoping to get one good pic. But I try to shoot like I would with film. Paying attention to my frame and pressing the shutter with purpose.

I love black and white photography. There is just something about the simplicity and dynamic of a black and white that is just so beautiful to me. In my own work I am drawn to color though. If you follow my work you will see that I am not shy of color, its usually bold and bright in my work. I feel like that is how I see my world though. I love bringing my edits to life and the rich colors just draw me in every time.

If I had to choose one, I guess I would say lifestyle, but I have never quite felt like I fit in either category. I love to be creative with my work. When I take a photo it’s because I have an emotion about that moment. So when I go to edit it I usually edit to bring me back to that feeling. My edits seem to take on a life of their own, I don’t have any sort of plan usually, I just go into with how it makes me feel. When I get that feeling of “Yes! That’s it!” I know i’m done. 🙂

 

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I loved this photo of my daughter I took while on a camping trip. We happened to be there on a day they were doing some controlled forest burns. The smoke was illuminated by the sun when it started to set. We all sat along the rocks watching the beautiful sky and appreciating the day we had. My daughter stood out on the rocks and I loved how powerful she looked standing there with the haze and sun surrounding her.

 

What personal projects are you working?

My main and ongoing project right now would be my 365 project. I’ve always said I will keep going until its not fun anymore. It’s not always easy and I have my struggles with it but at the end of the year when I am looking back on my photos, I am so grateful for taking that time and effort. My husband is so sweet, and he is always so appreciative as well and that makes me feel good. I hope one day when my kids are grown, they will appreciate the photos as well of their childhood, or maybe my grandkids. I would love this project to be my legacy for my family, so I will keep going until I feel otherwise. 🙂 My other projects would be my classes. I feel so grateful to be given the opportunities to share my photography knowledge with whoever wants to listen. I know I am not the best photographer; I am constantly learning myself and trying to grow. But I know what it is like to start out and want to learn everything and feel totally overwhelmed by everything you don’t know photography wise. So if I can help share a little guidance into what helps me then I am happy to do so

 

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I love the story that goes along with this photo. We were sitting around the table for a late breakfast one Saturday morning. When we just decided we wanted out of the house and a little adventure. So we quickly packed some bags and our tent and drove 3 hours south to a new camping spot we hadn’t been to yet. We made it a little before sunset. It had been overcast all day and right at the end of the day we decided to go for a quick hike before it got dark. The only place close by was a steep boulder hill. The kids wanted to give it a try so as we climbed slowly (dogs and all) then the sun started to appear. It was the most beautiful sight from where we stood. I love this photo and the reminders of the spontaneous adventures we have together.

 

What is the most important thing you learned about editing?

Just play around, make what makes you happy and not what you think others will like. I struggled with my editing style for so long. I saw what others were creating and what was popular on social media. No matter how hard I tried I just didn’t love my photos when I tried to replicate that style. Finally, I just started making photos that made my heart excited and slowly I got more and more consistent with it. Now I feel like I have my own style, whatever that may be, but I know it’s also constantly transitioning and changing.

Also, with editing, the more you do it the more comfortable you will get with it. If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone or look it up. There are editing videos about anything and everything, its just taking the time to look it up and practice it. In the beginning I watched all the editing videos I could from artists I admired. It doesn’t mean you have to edit just like them, but I was able to learn how to use tools I didn’t know before. I learned new techniques all the time, then practiced them regularly on my 365 photos. It is such a great way to grow in your own editing. There are so many photography academies, forums, and classes available these days it’s easy to find something that sparks your interest and excitement to learn.

 

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I loved the shapes in this image. We went rock climbing with my family
and niece and nephew. My nephew had just climbed to the top and was
headed down when i looked straight up and captured this image.

 

I would certainly encourage you to go and check out her images. @kristcx‘s work is stunning.  Thank you Kristen for sharing with us your incredible talent.  We look forward to seeing your images on our Facebook page and our Instagram Page. 

The theme this month is {Light} so tag us with #sharesix_light