Insights from an Interview with Patrick Kriner

Patrick knows his stuff. He combines subjects and tips he has learned from other photographers with his own experience - the results speak for themselves. I have enjoyed getting to know Patrick's perspective on photography and look forward to seeing more of his work as he visits new locations. His blog and portfolio can be visted at newdawnphotography.com.

Copyright New Dawn Photography

Copyright New Dawn Photography

When did you start photography?

For many years between 1974 and 2009, I worked in Photo Retail. I was even able to open my own store in 1999, which I sold in 2009. Although I sold cameras and accessories for years, I was never really actively shooting until 2003. I was invited along on a photographic workshop into the Canadian Rockies and I was hooked. Along the way I have made many friends who are great photographers in their own right and now we travel around the world capturing great images and sharing our love and vision for photography.

 How did you transition from a beginner to where you are now?

Even though I sold photo gear off and on for many years, I truly began learning the different aspects of landscape and nature photography in 03.’ From then on I made it a point to find workshops all across North America and became an avid shooter. With each workshop I met a new mentor who would work alongside me and help me hone my skills. With each trip I also met people who, like me, were learning the art of photography. When we were not in the field, we worked on our computers sharing secrets, compositional aides, gear, and techniques to great photographic images.  

 

Eagle in Flight

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Your wildlife photography is particularly spectacular. It is clearly something you enjoy. What makes it so exciting for you?

While I spent many years focusing on Landscape Photography, I met someone on a workshop who had a specialty in wildlife photography. At first I wasn’t that intrigued by it and felt that Fine Art Landscapes was a great niche for me. She coaxed me to go into Montana one year and experience wildlife photography on a game preserve. She told me it would be like a drug, and she was right. I quickly found an interest in wildlife and began my quest to improve my image making abilities as they relate to wildlife. Although it’s been many years since my last visit to the game preserve, I have found that capturing wildlife in their natural Habitats is fun and very exciting.

Standing within 20 yards from an 800 pound Grizzlie Bear is a bit mind blowing and yet an experience I still will repeat as often as I can. Working amongst the “Big 5” in Kenya helped me understand the environmental aspect of wildlife photography and I still strive to tell a story behind each one of my wildlife images.

Colorado Wild Flowers

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What is your favorite location for photography?

Alaska has had a huge impact on my travels. I love the wide-open wilderness, the wildlife is plentiful and it has quickly become one of my favorite destinations.

What is your top location on your visit list for photography?

This is a tough question. There are so many places I have yet to see. There are also some fantastic places I would like to revisit. From a Landscape perspective, Tuscany might be near the top or possibly the Pantanal in South America. From a wildlife perspective, Africa is on my hit list for later this year. South Africa and Botswana with a focus on Leopards. I am excited about this trip as my last visit to the Masai Mara did not generate a lot of Leopard photography. Since Leopards are nocturnal, we will be doing some night photography using fill flash. Another learning experience for sure. In addition, I will be travelling next year to the Galapagos Islands.

 I see from your photography that you occasionally use HDR. Do you think HDR is ever overused?

HDR photography is certainly one of the newest aspects of photography brought about with the digital age of photography. It is a great toll when used properly. HDR can also be used as a creative tool when looking for that “grunge” look or a special portrait enhancement. The caution for using any technique is to use them properly.

Some people think everything should have this garish vibrance to them. Clearly, when I use HDR in a landscape setting I try to use the technique to demonstrate the vision that I saw when I clicked the shutter. Having a larger range of exposure certainly can help, but sometimes just a little goes a long way.

 What role does Photoshop take in your photography?

Every image I post on my website, blog, or print has been post process through Adobe’s Lightroom as well as Photoshop. I think the new Creative Cloud is a big enhancement for my post processing work. Since I always shoot RAW files in my camera, my images lack contrast and sharpness. At the very least each image is enhanced with tonal contrast using NIK software through Photoshop as well as output sharpening for the final image. My goal is to always capture the best image photographically using my camera. The work I do in post is determined by the end result of my vision. Whether it is designed for print media or is ending up on the web, I often times have more than one processed image of the same photograph.

Charging Bear

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What is your favorite photography tip?

I guess there could be many tips or tricks that I can share with you today. One that stands out harkens from my days in business when we read Stephen Covey to help us with our goals and work ethic. Always remember to begin with the end in mind. As we look through our viewfinder I think it is essential that we a have a general idea what it is we are going to do with this image and set the exposure accordingly. There are so many different ways we can display our photographs and to just click away at the shutter with no idea about the end results boggles my mind. One of the greatest photographers of our time, Jay Maisel, talks about making pictures not just taking pictures. No matter which aspect of photography you chose to capture, make sure you enjoy the experience along the way. Take time to enjoy your environment and remember that every picture tells a story. What’s your vision for today?

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