Once again I am pleased to present this years ’24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas’. It is a series that has been run throughout December for the last couple of years and has always been successfully received. In part, it is to celebrate the forthcoming festive season but also to celebrate another year in the timeline of Mobiography.
In the series I ask 24 hand picked mobile photographers to offer an insight into their work, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead. Each featured photographer is someone who has inspired or supported me in one way or another during the course of the past year. One photographer will be showcased each day until Christmas Eve in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.
Today’s featured photographer is Tommy Wallace.
The photo I am most proud of is…
The photo that I’m most proud of is this one that I call “Jake.” He is a friend of my son’s and happened to be with a group of guys who were exploring an abandoned lumber mill. I had my Nokia Lumia 1020 with me. It was one of those moments when I saw a setting, Jake was close by, and the lighting was great. By the way, Jake usually dresses like that so how lucky could I get to have him along in this setting.
I’m not usually a portrait type of photographer. I’ve always been satisfied with landscapes and abandoned buildings. I usually shoot alone so unless I take a tripod and use my timer for some shots of myself there are few people involved. However, during this past year I’ve had this growing desire to capture people in my shots.
During a recent fishing/photography trip to a small town in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, I planned for some of our group to explore a 4 block area of abandoned buildings. We had wandered through several structures before finally arriving at an abandoned lumber mill. The building was newer than the rest and built of steel beams, but the space inside was large with all kinds of dusty, old lumber mill equipment. It was a great place to explore. I saw some vertical posts coming from the floor with some electrical equipment attached. I asked Jake if he would step over between the posts. I didn’t know what to tell him to do other than look right and down. Click. Look left. Click. “Thanks, Jake.” A quick peek at the photos showed me that the photo where he was looking to the left was not going to work but great light and clarity on the one of him looking toward the right held some promise.
With a lot going on that weekend I didn’t get to edit until the following week. Once I started that process I only used Snapseed. I was able to achieve the dark and light moody contrast with some basic adjustments in the app. I was also able to used the excellent dodge/burn brush to bring out some highlights. I took advantage of adding some glow and warmth to give it more of an aged look.
The Ozark Photographic Challenge was taking place in conjunction with the Mid America Photography Symposium (MAPSym). I submitted several prints, one of which was “Jake.” Not long after I received news that “Jake” won top photo in the portrait division and would be displayed at the MAPSym event. This gave me confidence to begin shooting other portraits with my smartphone. “Jake” marked a point in my photography that continues to encourage me to step out from that which I’m comfortable and to challenge myself in areas in which I need to grow.