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Interview with the Prodigious Outdoor Photographer Lewis Kemper

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“Today it takes many different strategies to stay in the forefront. Of course a strong digital presence is important, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.”


Times of Youth: For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Lewis Kemper: I am a nature, wildlife, outdoor photographer who has been working as a professional for over 35 years. I photograph what I love and have been fortunate enough to make a living doing what I love!

I got my start in photography with a high school class in my senior year and it changed my life. I decide to study photography in college and then went on to work at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park. I began teaching and writing about photography then and have written hundreds of articles and taught hundreds of classes. My work has appeared in magazines, books, calendars, ads, cards, etc. around the world. I was a Canon Explorer of Light for 10 years and now serve as an Explorer of Light, Emeritus.

I got into digital early have been using Photoshop since version 2.5 and was an Alpha tester for Lightroom. You can learn more at my website.

Times of Youth: What does photography mean to Lewis Kemper?

To me photography is a way of life. I can’t imagine not taking and sharing pictures. I think it is part of my DNA. I fell in love with photography as a student in high school taking a class that was half the year photography and half the year astronomy. I make my living witwfh a camera and own a telescope, so I guess it was a great class!

Times of Youth: How did you end up being such a versatile photographer, and what made you choose this as a profession?

I have always photographed the things I have a passion for, which is nature and travel and since these are broad subjects I get to do many different types of photography from macro to wildlife and everything in between.  As far as choosing it as a profession, there was nothing else in life that interested me more than taking and sharing images, so I never had any doubt that is what I was going to do.

Times of Youth: Who are your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence your career path?

My favorite classic photographers, and I guess by that you mean old and probably dead , are Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde, Ernst Haas, and Eliot Porter. I was fortunate enough to have met all of them except Eliot Porter.  I used to work at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park, when I was starting out as a photographer and Ansel would hold his workshops there and invite all of these amazing photographers to teach.  Through that experience I got to meet and also work with some of those people.  It was an amazing experience and one that helped shape my life!

Times of Youth: As a photographer, which aspect is the most important to capture the subjects fantastically?

The most important is light! I often tell people I am going out to photograph light and then try to find a subject that shows off that great light.

Times of Youth: How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of your camera to look on the film just the way you want?

It is much easier with digital than it ever was with film.  With film our dynamic range was so limited that every time you took a picture you were making compromises on the light.  You had to decide to either underexpose your shadows or overexpose your highlights, there was not way to control the range on a sunny day.  Now with digital and raw files, HDR, and Photoshop it is so much easier to photograph what you see and to portray what you photograph in the way you perceived it. So to answer that question, I would say I pay attention to the details and quality of the light and subject and I use whatever tools are available to me to bring out the desired emotions I want to convey in a scene. I am a big fan of realistic HDR photography, and I think that has given me the opportunity to photograph the way I have always wanted to convey a scene.

Times of Youth: Of all the conferences & workshops that you’ve been to, which has been the most memorable?

Wow, tough question.  For sure they have to be Ansel’s workshops in Yosemite, and  Fotofusion in West Palm Beach, Florida which I have been affiliated with for 20 years!  But my favorite experience was when I was giving a lecture in Rehoboth, DE and my high school photography teacher got to attend 41 years after I graduated.

Times of Youth: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

I can’t pick a favorite because my favorite is always the last good picture I took, but hopefully that will be replaced the next time I go out and make images!

One word answers:

1. What type of cameras do you shoot with? Canon

2. If you had to choose one lens which one would it be? For landscape my 24-105 for wildlife my 150-600

3. What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? 
My Feisol Tripod

4. How would you describe your style? Dramatic Light

5. What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.? Curves

Times of Youth: One of today’s main discussion points amongst photographers is about the use of digital photography and computer softwares to beautify the clicks; what is the influence of digitalization on your photography?

I use the new technology to allow me to create the scenes with the quality of light and detail that I have always wanted to capture. Before digital that was impossible under most lighting situations, not I find there is no light I can not capture to my satisfaction.

Times of Youth: Marketing and self promotion is crucial to photographers as other businesses. What is your ultimate strategy to capture the audiences? 

Today it takes many different strategies to stay in the forefront. Of course a strong digital presence is important, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I also like to speak at as many presentations, and conferences as I can get invitations. Writing online and print articles also help keep my name out there.

Times of Youth: One of today’s main discussion points amongst photographers is about the use of digital photography and computer softwares to beautify the clicks; what is the influence of digitalization on your photography? 

Digital photography and post processing are all part of the tools we have available to use today, so I have no objections to using any of these tools as long as the image ends up being about the subject and the story you want to tell and not about the process you used to create it.  I see what I consider too many images that are about the software and not about the picture.

Times of Youth: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for established professionals like yourself to remain successful in today’s times?

The whole market for photography has changed since I have been in business.  There was a time when your image was valuable for publication and I feel that time is long gone. Most photographers I know that were successful at selling images for publication, advertising, brochures, etc. (stock photography) are now making their money leading tours, workshops, teaching, and writing or selling books and ebooks.  So now the photographer and his/her knowledge may be valued but the image is not. So you just need to adapt with the times. Personally there is no way I would want to start out as a nature/outdoor photographer in today’s business climate.

Times of Youth: What advice/message do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography via TIMES OF YOUTH?

Do what you love to do and do it to the best of your ability, the rest will come to you.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how fans can contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.

Either via my website www.LewisKemper.com or email me at [email protected]

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Featured Interviews

Exclusive Interview of Mike Moats- Award Winning Macro Photographer

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Mike Moats on Times of Youth
 
“Spend as many hours as you possibly can honing your craft, and get online and participate on as many sites as you can find on photography.  Start a blog giving helpful tips about photography and build a following.”

Times of Youth: For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?  

Mike Moats: I am a full time pro macro nature photographers and live in Southeast Michigan, USA. I started with used equipment purchased off of ebay back in 2001, and it became a full time business by 2006. I have had my images and article published in many of the photo magazines, and my images have won local and international awards in contests. I am sponsored by Tamron and a member of the Tamron Image Masters group.

Times of Youth: What does photography mean to Mike Moats? 

Well it means being able to pay my bills, but more importantly it gets me outdoors where I love to be.

Times of Youth: Who are your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence your career path?  

When I decided I wanted to take up photography in 2001, I went to the local bookstore and checked out the photo books.  I saw a book by John Shaw on nature photography and one by Art Wolfe, and those were the photographers that inspired

Times of Youth: As a macro photographer, which aspect is the most important to capture images creatively?

I’m always trying to come up with a different view, or framing of a subject, something that is different from what everyone is doing.  I’m always searching for subjects that are not being shot by everyone else.  To many macro photographers only shoot flowers and bugs, and forget there are many other great subjects to shoot.

Mike Moats on Times of Youth

Times of Youth: Nature, doubtlessly, intrigues. What is it about nature that lures you the most? 

Would you consider choosing human subjects for your macro photography in future? Mother nature creates amazing subjects that are all different and unique in their styles, shapes, contrast, textures, colors.  Photographing humans are of no interest to me, but who knows someday I may change my mind.

Times of Youth: Are there any special scenic geographical locations that you prefer to shoot at? 

Since I don’t shoot landscapes, scenics are not my objective, but I do like to refer to my macro photography as tiny landscapes. The type of environments I like to shoot my macro photography in would be wooded areas and areas with water, like ponds and swamps.

Times of Youth: Besides being a nature macro specialist, are there any other areas of photography that interest you? 

I started out as a landscape photographers but after three years I realized my passion was in macro photography, so I dedicate all my time to macro, and never shoot any other styles of photography, and no other styles of photography interests me.

Times of Youth: Your work has intrigued many people and filled their lives with beauty. Your comments?  

I love to share my work and am very honored when I have people that would like to purchase my work to hang in their homes. It’s always fun when you show people intimate details from nature that they have never seen before, and watch them get excited.

Times of Youth: Of all the places you’ve been to for your photography expeditions and workshops, which has been the most memorable? 

The local parks where I live hold the best memories, because most of my best images come from those parks.  I can remember each image I’ve shot at those parks, and exactly where in those parks I shot them.

Times of Youth: What is your idea of a perfect picture?  

I created what I call a two subject composition which has been the images that have won all my awards in contests or have been my best seller to the public.  It’s a simple concept of having an interesting main subject on top of an interesting background subject.  I shoot  with both subjects in full focus. Very simple composition that works very well.

Times of Youth: Tell us about your books, especially ‘Tiny Landscapes’. What do your books offer and what has been their consequent impact on the audiences? 

The Tiny Landscapes book shows many of the different types of subjects there are to shoot in nature and also some insight into the environment where I found the subject, some info on my composition, and what f/stop I chose for depth of field. I also have an e-book called, Creating Art With Macro, and that is more on the how-to teaching about macro photography.

Times of Youth: Among your works, which one is your personal favorite? Why? 

I have an image of a beautiful green fern growing over top of a black charred tree trunk that was lying on the ground.  It has won me more awards and more honors than any other image I’ve shot.  The other significance of this mage is it was shot during the time when I started to really grasp macro photography and started to produce good quality images.  That was about three years after I started photography.
Times of Youth: You have been published by several iconic publishers in the the stream of photography. Has there been any accomplishment that you are especially proud of? 

I am not a good writer, and in high school was lucky to get Ds in English, so I was the proudest of my very first article in 2005 that was published by Outdoor Photographer Magazine. Happily many more came after that first one.
Times of Youth: Having won several awards in your field, you continue your magnificent work successfully. Which has been your most unforgettable moment of all? 

It was the very first image I had published in 2004 in Outdoor Photographer Magazine.  I was so excited that I called everyone I knew, and told everyone on the internet about my accomplishment.  That was very special day and very honored that I produced an image worthy of being accepted by a major photo magazine.  It sure fueled the fire for my photography.

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following- 

1. Camera: Nikon
2. Macro: Small details in nature.
3. Beauty: Macro subjects.
4. Love: Creating art with a camera.
5. Life: Live as much as you can in the outdoors.

Rapid fire:

  1. What cameras do you work with? Nikon D7000.
  2. If you had to choose one lens which one would it be? Tamron 16-300.
  3. What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera? A diffuser.
  4. How would you describe your style? Creative Macro
  5. What is your most used image editing software, tool, plug-in, action set etc.? I use Photoshop Elements, Nik Software, Topaz Software, and Smart Photo Editor.

Times of Youth: One of today’s main discussion points amongst photographers is about the use of digital photography and computer softwares to beautify the clicks; what is the influence of digitalization on your photography? 

I love that the post processing gives us so many creative options to enhance our images. Photography now has to stages, the creation of the images, and the enhancements through the post processing.

Times of Youth: How is the market for macro imagery in these current times of extreme digitalization?  

It’s great for selling to people interested in fine art photography for their homes, but as for stock photographers, I have no idea as I don’t participate in that area.

Times of Youth: Marketing and self promotion is crucial to photographers as other businesses. What is your ultimate strategy to capture the audiences? 

My business would not exist if it wasn’t for the internet.  Before the internet the only way you became know as a nature photographer was by having a book published and on a bookstore shelf, or you did a lot of writing for the photo mags.  Now you can become very well known by being out there on all the photo sites, writing blog posts, posting on all the media sites, Facebook, google+, twitter, etc.

Times of Youth: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for established professionals like yourself to remain successful in today’s times? 

One obstacle is that everyone that owns a camera now wants to sell their work or teach, and that cuts into everyone’s business. So you have to be always improving your skills and images, and staying very active online.  I’m online 365 days a year keeping my name out there.

Times of Youth: What advice would you have for those youngsters via TIMES OF YOUTH who dream to be photographers as prolific as you? 

Spend as many hours as you possibly can honing your craft, and get online and participate on as many sites as you can find on photography.  Start a blog giving helpful tips about photography and build a following.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how your fans can contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions. 

Contact me at [email protected]  My website is www.tinylandscapes.com, my blog is www.MikeMoatsBlog.com and my storefront is www.macrostoreonline.com.  Look me up on facebook.

Times of Youth: Any advice you’d give to aspiring youngsters who want to enter movies now or in the future? 

In the book called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, he say those who reached the top of their craft, were found to have spent an average of 10,000 hours practicing.  Work hard and you will get rewarded.

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Candid Interview of the Mystical Photographer Thomas Dodd

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Thomas Dodd on Times of Youth
“Always follow your heart and your passion. Don’t try and guess what people want or what you think will be commercial.”
-Thomas Dodd


Times of Youth: It’s an honour to finally be getting to know you. Yet, for those of our readers who may still be unaware of your works, how would you briefly describe it?

Thomas Dodd: Thank you – it’s nice to meet you as well! I call my style of imagery “Painterly Photo Montage”. What this means is that I take a series of photographs and layer them and manipulate them in editing software (Photoshop) so that the end result looks much like a painting, but it is in fact a photograph.

Times of Youth: What does ‘art’ mean to you?

Thomas Dodd: It is an expression of that which can not expressed in language. Art to me transcends cultural boundaries and elicits emotion from it’s viewers regardless of the intended context.

Times of Youth: We have seen your works and most of them are more of mystical. What makes your imagination psychologically intriguing?

Thomas Dodd: I have always found a connection between the realm of the “spiritual”/mythic and psychological states of consciousness. I think that the best art (and certainly the art that I am influenced by) draws upon these archetypes and invokes them in the psyche of the viewer.

Times of Youth: Most of your muses are nude women. Any specific reason for this choice?

Thomas Dodd: I consider the female form to be the most beautiful thing in creation (and of course, females are quite literally the creators of life as well). If you look at the history of Art, you will see that I am not alone in this assessment!

Times of Youth: What/who has been your ideal all along your colorful yet ‘Gothic’ journey?

Thomas Dodd: I think there have been many “ideals” along the way. I think really all of the artists, musicians and photographers who have influenced me have all set ideals for me to follow. There is a famous quote by Isaac Newton that sums it up perfectly- “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

Times of Youth: How does your family react to your works, considering they are so offbeat?

Thomas Dodd: Well, I was actually influenced by all of the art books that my mom and dad used to have in the house when I was a child, so my family sees the link between them and my work. My father unfortunately did not live long enough to see my success as an artist but my mother, who is a very healthy 94 years old absolutely loves my art and is proud of me. In fact, she has attended several of my art openings, proudly displays my book on her coffee table and thinks my nudes are very tasteful and elegant.

Times of Youth: What has been your proudest achievement so far?

Thomas Dodd: My first show in New York City (in October of 2014) was one of them. Having my work acquired by the New Britain museum of American Art was another high point as well!

Times of Youth: We hear you were a harpist and have composed for many albums, too. And now that you are an internationally acclaimed visual artist, which one of these two careers has been more satisfying to you comparatively?

Thomas Dodd: John Cale once said that “the problem with music is that you have to play it with other people” and although it was a humorous comment, I concur that being in a musical group can be a frustrating experience because if one person is not as into it as the others, then everyone’s career suffers. What I like about photography is that I get to collaborate with other people, but we don’t really have to depend on each other in the long run. I work with a model and then we both move on to working with other people. I have a show at one gallery and then I move to another, and they have another artist the next month. So art fulfils both my solitary nature and my collaborative nature and ultimately there is really no need to be competitive with anyone else, because there are more than enough opportunities for many, many people to experience.

Times of Youth: Since the start of your career so far, have you encountered any particular incident that literally changed your entire life/perspective?

Thomas Dodd: My life perspective was profoundly changed by a job I had (before I became a full time artist) where I worked with people with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. From them I learned the importance of living in the present moment and of the indomitable nature of the human spirit. I never heard any of them complain about their situations or anything else for that matter. That attitude was infectious and made me realize that life doesn’t really give us anything that we can’t handle, no matter how difficult we may perceive it to be from the outside.

Times of Youth: Since nowadays everything is more and more digitalized, including paintings, what do you think are future prospects for old style artistry?

Thomas Dodd: I think it will never go away. There is a huge contingent of representational painters that I am aligned with and they are all very much keeping the ancient art of painting alive. There are also many photographers who use film or even older methods (such as tintype) in their work. Technology will always inspire a reaction for some people to return to traditional methods (or reinvent them in the process) and I think that is a necessary and healthy cycle of creation/innovation!

Times of Youth: You have travelled to numerous places to showcase your art. Which one has been the most memorable of all and why?

Thomas Dodd: Probably my first show in New York City because of what it represents for an artist like myself, and the fact that I was reunited with my 92 year old Godmother who I hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years!

Times of Youth: What professional advice would you want to give to all the new and aspiring artists of the younger generation?

Thomas Dodd: Always follow your heart and your passion. Don’t try and guess what people want or what you think will be commercial. Do what you love and you will create your own market of people who love what you do.

Times of Youth: In life, is there any dream that you’d love to achieve before the end of your time?

Thomas Dodd: I would like to have more shows all over the world – especially Europe and Asia.

Times of Youth: Any message that you’d like to give for the youth of today via Times Of Youth?

Thomas Dodd: Never grow up- always have a sense of wonder and joy and always learn!

Times of Youth: Do tell us how your admirers can contact you to share their appreciation and suggestions.

Thomas Dodd: Best place to find me and message me is at my website- http://www.thomasdodd.com or my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ThomasDoddPhotography

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Exclusive Interview of Dr. Bilal Philips

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Dr. Bilal Philips on Times of Youth
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My message would be to learn about Islam, apply it, and convey it. Make whatever you are doing Islamically relevant, a means of Ibadah for yourself, so that you can succeed in this life and in the next.
-Dr. Bilal Philips

Times of Youth: Tell us a little about your background and your research. How did you get interested to preach Islam?

Dr. Bilal Philips:
My preaching, promoting and propagating Islam activities started with my conversion to Islam. Naturally, any new convert is driven to want to share Islam with those around them. With your parents, your brothers and sisters, your other family members, your neighbors and your friends. You could say that was my basic drive to want to share, propagate, and promote Islam.

I immediately began to seek knowledge, from the time that I first entered Islam in 1972. I sought to understand Islam more in depth, because the more I could understand, the better I could explain it to others. Within the first year, I quickly ran out of local sources for Islamic learning in Toronto, Canada, and I decided to go overseas to Saudi Arabia to study there. While studying there I used to come home in during the summers, to Canada and to the USA in order to share what I learned.  After graduation from Madeenah University in 1980, I went to Riyadh and started my Masters there and at the same time became a High School teacher of Islamic Studies. This became the new arena in which I became engaged in propagating Islam to Muslim youths.  During this period I was also forced into writing. I wasn’t originally a writer but I used to read a lot. However, when I started to teach Islamic Studies, I found that there were no Islamic studies textbooks available in English, so I had to create something. I began the process of preparing material based on my studies in Madeenah which I would teach from. The students used my notes as texts from which they could revise for their tests and exams. With the help of my parents, father in particular who was an English language expert, I soon developed effective writing skills. My parents guided me, and taught me, not only how to write, but also teaching methodology and classroom management.

My high school career lasted for over 10 years during which I completed my Masters and began a PhD in Islamic Theology from the University of Wales, UK. After completion of my doctorate in 1993, I moved to the UAE where I became a University professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai. Naturally, the university became another avenue for propagation and promotion of Islam to young adults. In UAE, I also set up the first Da’wah Center for propagating Islam to non-Muslims in Dubai, The Islamic Information Center. Through that avenue I was full-time actively involved in teaching, preaching, and promoting Islam and thousands accepted Islam from the Center over the subsequent years. I also became the head of Darul Fatah’s English press and published a number of my books through them. In 2001, I developed a department of Islamic studies at Preston University, Ajman, to further preach and teach Islam from an educational institution. A few years later, after moving to Qatar where I was a consultant for a Da’wah Center, I again moved to Chennai, India where in 2009 I set up my own University, Preston International College, and Al Fajr International School. These were additional channels for promoting, propagating and preaching Islam. In 2010, I took my boldest step to preach Islam globally by setting up the Islamic Online University (IOU), which now has over 2,00,000 students from 225 countries of the world. The IOU has the most diverse student body of any university in the world; a unique platform from which I continue my preaching, teaching and Islamic propagational efforts. That is where I am today.

I was also given the opportunity to propagate Islam through the television, in Saudi Arabia Channel 2. I did a program there called “Why Islam?” in which I focused on the new Muslims. I had different new Muslims each episode who described their journey to Islam and focusing on the turning point. I would use that as a means of inviting non Muslims who would be watching the program who may share common backgrounds to want to share the message of Islam. In UAE, I was invited to do 3 programs a week, on Sharjah television. All of them da’wah oriented, some of them question and answer types. One related to the Quran in particular, and the other one related to contemporary issues. Of course, a lot of people know me through Peace TV, so this is the channel I also utilize, as well as Islam channel in the UK, Guide US TV in the US, etc.

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