Ellen Anon is an internationally recognized nature photographer, educator, and writer. She has had several winning images in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contests. Ellen teaches digital processing and photography workshops and is a Master with The Arcanum (thearcanum.com ). She is the co-author of numerous books including the Photoshop for Nature Photographers series (Wiley, 2010), and See It: Photographic Composition Using Visual Intensity (Focal Press, 2012). Ellen is on the SanDisk Extreme Team and is a SanDisk Storyteller, as well as partially sponsored by Paramo and Wimberley. Visit Ellen Anon's photography website at www.ellenanon.com.
DOMINIQUE JAMES: What kind of pictures do you like to take?
ELLEN ANON: I take pictures of anything that catches my eye. Usually that means something in nature, whether landscape wildlife or macro, but not always. I refer to myself as specializing in expressive photography. That’s because I strive to make images that elicit an emotional reaction and that are an antidote (at least for me) to the stresses of everyday life. I love the fact that each image freezes a moment in time so I can relive it and share it. Photography has taught me to see light, to see small things that most people take for granted and pass by. And then you get to share those moments so others can enjoy them as well.
DJ: What is your favorite camera and lens?
EA: My favorite camera depends on the situation. Until now my Canon 5D Mark III and 7D II have been my most versatile and most used equipment. They’re weather sealed, fast and accurate focusing and great for everything from super macro (1x - 5x) to super tele. But that versatility comes with a cost. Aside from the monetary cost, which is expected, is the weight (and size). I have a Sony A7R which is great in terms of image quality, size wise and weight wise. I love that it can use lenses from other manufacturers. The trade off is that the autofocus is slow and the menu interface is not intuitive so it’s not as easy to change settings quickly. (The new A7RII seems to have addressed at least the AF issue and should have great low light performance, so I have one on order.) Although I don’t use it as often, I have a Leica M that I love shooting with. Because of its manual focus and fixed focal lengths, it slows me down - which means I use it more comfortably with landscapes or other stationary (or slow moving) subjects. I miss the versatility of zoom lenses with it, but when I shoot with it, I’m always smiling. The camera has a fantastic feel and there is a smoothness to the tonal range that’s unparalleled with other cameras. The Sony A7R has a much harsher contrast range.
DJ: Do you edit and enhance your pictures before showing them?
EA: I always optimize my images before showing them to others. You get one chance to make a first impression with anything, so why would I want someone to see an image before it’s the best I can make it be? I shoot in raw and by definition the initial image will be slightly flatter.
DJ: How do you share your pictures and to whom?
EA: I share my images on my website, on Facebook, on Google+, and occasionally on other social media.
DJ: How do you store or archive your pictures?
EA: I’m a believer in keeping multiple copies of files because hard drives can and do become corrupt and Murphy’s law says that if it gets corrupted in one area, that area will be where your favorite image is stored. So I back up to a mirrored Pegasus Drive, as well as an individual hard drive and a My Cloud. All images that are on my website are also backed up in the cloud.
DJ: What advice can you share with others?
EA: Always wonder “what if” and then find out. Don’t not take a picture because someone else has a litany of reasons for why it won’t work or won’t sell. If you’re thinking about it, try it. You never know, you might be on to something good!
Note: Photographs by Ellen Anon. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.