Featured Photographer – Neil Weaver

Twelve years ago, Neil Weaver ventured out to the lake with his 35mm camera. A few months later he purchased a Canon Rebel X and some Fujichrome Velvia 35mm slide film and fell in love with photography. In 2006, Neil reluctantly went to a digital SLR and became a believer almost immediately. Today, Neil uses a Nikon D300, go-to lenses include the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 and Sigma 10-20mm and 70-200mm Lenses, and an Induro Tripod.

Neil is just as passionate about Michigan as he is about photography and he wants his photos to demonstrate that. Neil loves shooting wide sweeping landscape photos of our Great Lakes shorelines. “I am 100% self-taught, learning through trial and error and a lot of reading. One important thing I have learned is that you often have to experience some discomfort to get the best photos. What I mean by that is that I often get my best photos by getting out of bed early or staying out late past the sunset, shooting in freezing temperatures, standing in frigid water to get up close to a waterfall, or laying on my stomach in the wet grass to get the best angle.”

Regarding the choice to begin selling his prints, Neil said, “photography began as a hobby, but a few years ago I decided to start up a website and sell my prints and things went well. This year has been the best yet, even with the economy the way it is, more people are hanging my prints in their homes and offices. I love the business side of photography almost as much as taking the photos, I really enjoy working with customers.”

Neil was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie where he lived until 2005. Neil now lives in the capital area with his wife Kristina, two-year-old, Brady, and nine-month-old, Paige. Neil and his family love to travel all over our beautiful state and enjoy all it has to offer. Neil loves the diverse natural features in Michigan, its great lakes, thousands of inland lakes, beautiful rivers, dunes, sandy beaches, rocky shores, and waterfalls.

Neil’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Pictured Rocks
2. Porcupine Mountains
3. Sleeping Bear Dunes
4. Au Sable River
5. Ludington State Park

You can visit Neil’s website or facebook page to see many more of his beautiful images.

www.NeilWeaverPhotography.com
www.facebook.com/neilweaverphotography

Featured Photographer – Tim Thurman

Tim Thurman has been “playing” with cameras since he received his first camera at age 12. About ten years ago, the “playing” got more serious and about two and a half years ago he got the camera that he really wanted. Tim rarely leaves home without his camera, a Canon, and Canon and Sigma lenses. Tim’s favorite things to photograph are, “my kids, old buildings, cars, landscapes, and everyday objects most people are in too much of a hurry and pass up.”

Tim is often asked if he is a professional photographer. “I often ask back, ‘What makes one a professional?’ Most all say, ‘Have you ever sold any pictures?’ Yes, I have but I don’t think that makes me a professional.” Tim’s photography is both a hobby and a profession, but mainly a hobby.

When asked a bit more about himself, Tim answered, “I am 40 years old [with] two lovely daughters ages 10 and 17. [I’ve] lived in Michigan all my life. Hobbies are abundant – but to name a few, anything outdoors from fishing to off-roading, hiking to biking. Volunteering when I can with Offroad Clean-up and Trail Maintenance. I have worked with Conveyor Belting and Conveyors for more years than I can count.”

Tim’s favorite things about Michigan are, “Everything, from the woods to the water. From Lower Peninsula to the far North Upper Peninsula. The landscapes, the rich history of small towns to the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. The people, Michiganders are one of a kind. Stubborn and yet always willing to give a hand. To tell stories of yesteryear.”

Tim’s top 5 places to visit are:
1. Henry Ford
2. The Great Lakes Circle Tour
3. Deep Woods
4. Two-Tracking in our Forests
5. Drummond Island

One last bit of advice from Tim:
“Go out, Bring the Camera, the Kids or Loved ones and have fun. To me, no such thing as a bad picture. :)”

To see more of Tim’s work, you can visit:
www.javatography.com
http://www.facebook.com/Javatography?fref=ts

Featured Photographer – Guy Strong

Guy Strong is a timelapse videographer and a soccer coach and has been taking pictures for 16 years. On a typical shoot, he takes 25,000 photos. In his free time, he takes photos as often as he can – depending on light and weather. In a perfect world he gets 3 images a day that he likes. Guy’s equipment of choice are: Nikon D4, Nikon D800E, Gitzo Tripod, Kessler pocket dolly, Favorite Lens Nikon 14-24 mm, 24-70, and 70-200. Zeiss 35 mm 1.4 f.

Guy’s favorite things to photograph are: “high action cowboys and performance cars, landscapes, wildlife, northern lights when weather permits and landscapes using moonlight to light the landscape.”

Guy’s favorite thing about Michigan is the diversity of the landscape. His top 5 places to visit are:
1. Traverse City
2. Leland
3. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore
4. Marquette
5. Porcupine Mountains

To view more of Guy’s work, you can visit his websites:
http://www.guystrongphotography.com/
https://www.facebook.com/guystrongphotography
https://vimeo.com/guystrongphotography

Featured Photographer – Mark S. Carlson

Mark Carlson began photographing with Minolta (35mm SLR) equipment in the late ’70’s, but switched over to Nikon in the early 1980’s. Now Mark uses an assortment of Nikon lenses from wide to telephoto with a Fujifilm S5 DSLR body. Mark has honed his skills through photography courses at Lansing Community Collage, Larry West and John Shaw Nature Photography Workshops and “a lot of trial and error.” Mark has been practicing the art of photography for 40 years, 33 professionally – Great Lakes subject matter is his passion.

When asked about his favorite things about Michigan, Mark answers, “Michigan and the Great Lakes are such a unique eco-system in the world. I love everything about it!” Mark’s favorite places to visit are, “the natural beauty of U.P. waterfalls, native orchid habitats, and many, many scenic locations along the shores of every one of our Great Lakes!”

Mark resides with his wife, Debra, at “Looking Glass Overlook” their 30 acre private nature sanctuary along the Looking Glass River in Shiawassee County. Mark recently started Great Lakes Photo Tours and with his partner, Bob Grzesiak, they conduct tours throughout the Great Lakes region. For more information, please visit Great Lakes Photo Tours website. To view more of Mark’s photography, you can visit his website: www.markscarlson.com or his facebook page: www.facebook.com/MarkS.CarlsonNaturalistPhotographer

Featured Photographer – Debi Hollis

Debi Hollis spends her days as an interior designer, but when that is done, she also enjoys reading, cooking, World War II history, and has also volunteered for disaster relief in New Orleans. Debi can often be found enjoying her photography hobby with her Panasonic Lumix. Her favorite things to photograph are: doors, windows and interesting architecture. In the past year she has really begun refining her skills and hopes to take a class soon to boost her skills even more.

When asked to describe Michigan to an outsider, Debi responds, “A surprise gem! I would tell them about all the golf courses and lakes, the sand dunes and the whole “up north” experience: from Leeland, to Traverse City to Mackinaw. Many people don’t know that our agriculture industry is huge and Detroit is a city that now has many reasons to visit: great theaters, restaurants, sports and entertainment venues, some awesome cocktail bars and of course, Eastern Market!” Debi’s favorite things about Michigan are, “The changing seasons for sure! Summers in Michigan are hard to beat – the lake living is awesome! Fall, cider mills and fall produce are terrific also!”

Debi’s top 5 places to visit are:

1. Detroit – to help change the perception that people have.
2. Leeland – Fishtown
3. The Sand Dunes
4. Mackinac Island
5. Saugatuck, Holland, Grand Haven – that strip along Lake Michigan

Featured Photographer – Ann-Marie Roberts

Ann-Marie Roberts grew up with parents as professional photographers, but only recently began taking up the hobby of photography. In June of 2011, Ann-Marie took a picture of Brown Bridge in Chippewa Landing Park in Caro, MI.

This one photo sparked Ann-Marie’s life-long interest in photography and her love of nature. Now, a year later, Ann-Marie keeps busy with work, two children (Tom, 21 and Tina, 18) and photography several days a week. Even on her “off” days, her camera, a Canon SX40, is never out of reach.

Ann-Marie describes Michigan as, “…a state with many beautiful places to see, from the smallest of towns, to our amazing structures like the Mackinac Bridge and all of the lighthouses. [T]he beauty in nature that can be found pretty much everywhere you look, from the waterfalls in the U.P. to sinkholes in Alpena, and we cannot forget about the mysterious Paulding Lights in the U.P.!”

Ann-Marie’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:

1. Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
2. Bronner’s in Frankenmuth
3. Great Lakes shoreline
4. Tahquamenon Falls
5. Visit a lighthouse

Currently, Ann-Marie’s photography is a hobby, but she would love for it to turn into a profession. You can view more of Ann-Marie’s work at: www.missinde.com

Or check out her facebook page: www.facebook.com/MissindeIA

Featured Photographer – John Gessner

John Gessner first picked up a camera in 2006 to document college life. Intrigued by art, John took some art history classes, but found out that he was a “complete dullard with a paint brush.” In January of 2010, John purchased his current camera, the Canon 450d, and began taking photography seriously later that fall.

John is a self-taught photographer and enjoys learning from other photographers as well as taking inspiration from classic works of art. John is either out on a photo shoot or in his “digital darkroom” daily. When asked about photography, John says, “Photography is a way of life. It’s more than a hobby, but it’s not a profession – although I do sell an occasional print or set of note cards (which has its benefits as photography is very expensive!). For those that really want to make great images, it’s a lifestyle – you’re up early or out late, traveling and scouting locations, laying in the mud, getting eaten by bugs, getting frozen stiff, and a lot of other discomforts. But it’s worth it!” When John is not behind the lens, you typically can find him hiking, boating, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing or hanging out with friends and his wife, Hilary, in Traverse City. John works for the Grand Traverse Conservation District in marketing and outreach, and occasionally gets to use his love of photography for work – “which is great!”

John describes Michigan as a “Land of Abundant Beauty.” His favorite things about Michigan are the woods, beaches, lakes, people, farms, food, sunrises, sunsets, birds, bugs, and the night sky.

John’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Mission Point Lighthouse/Farmland tour on Old Mission Peninsula
2. Fishtown/Village Cheese Shanty/Lake Leelanau boat cruise
3. Leelanau State Park
4. Mackinac Bridge
5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

To see more of John Gessner’s photography or to purchase a print, you can visit his website at: www.johnagessner.com