Author Topic: Hello from Michèle in Switzerland  (Read 1387 times)

Michele

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Hello from Michèle in Switzerland
« on: March 01, 2010, 03:42:09 AM »
It is so nice to have found this site.  I want to thank Keith for making this site and offering his time and expertise.  I really wish I could meet people who love to do photography as much as I do.  Well, what can I say.  I am originally Canadian from Montreal.  I studied to be a teacher but I let that go to take up an amazing job that let me travel worldwide in the satellite broadband technology area.  It did not matter if I was working, I always brought along my trusty Pentax and took some time to find something unique to photograph anywhere I went.  I remember once I went to Rochester, Minnesota in the winter and I was not too pleased to be there.  It was cold and there was a lot of snow.  Coming from Canada, you would think I would have been prepared.  But I just got back from Singapore and I did not think about it.  I was in a suit (skirt) and heels.  When I got off the plane, I was knee deep in snow.  (Really not happy)  But someone told me about a lake where the Canadian geese do not migrate because of a factory that heats up the lake.  So I bought some boots and went off to see this place.  (Still in a suit)  And I was in awe.  The steam rose from the lake and there were gigantic geese everywhere the eye can see.  Flying just inches over my head and it was overwhelming.  I took the pictures but I was freezing.  All that to say that there is always something unique about anywhere we are, even our own backyard.  Sadly that camera was destroyed by dust when I went camping in Tanzania.  I met my husband on one of my business trips in Basel.  We fell in love and I moved to Switzerland 14 years ago.  When we got married, our hired photographer got sick and never showed up.  I was heartbroken because I had no photographs of my wedding exept bad snapshots from people who did it without thinking. I now have 7 year old boy/girl twins and I live in a tiny village in Bennau.  I am now kind of this remote village's on site photographer although I don't know  enough to feel that confident.  I have only taken photographs for my own pleasure and now I am asked to do important events for people here.  So far so good, but I am always ALWAYS nervous that I might mess it up.  I try very hard to make sure that everyone looks good and that the event is covered without missing anything significant.  I manage using the bare minimum to accomplish the tasks.  Just this year has been hell.  I turned 40 and my husband has traded me in for a younger model.  I am on my own and trying to take the high road keeping my children happy and secure that their daddy loves them and blah blah blah.  All this to say that my camera and the time I take to photograph is my "Away" from it all.  If you are still reading, thanks for your patience.  I appreciate being able to have a forum to ask questions and to learn all I can.  Again, thank you.

keithsnell

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Re: Hello from Michèle in Switzerland
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 08:36:01 AM »
Hi Michele,

Welcome to our little community.  I love the wonderfully supportive photographers that belong to our site.  I am often inspired by the images that other photographers submit, and have a special appreciation for the images from Dave Leiker (Prariedust).  I was very disappointed when we moved from our home in the beautiful mountains of Colorado to the middle of the city in Kansas.  Seeing Dave's wonderful images of rural Kansas helped me realize that there are beautiful images to be taken anywhere, as long as you are observant and appreciate the subject.

Believe me when I say that we all suffer from anxiety that we might mess up and miss an important photograph when we are responsible for photographing an event.  I am lucky that Rebecca is often my "backup" for an event, and that takes quite a bit of pressure off of me to always get the shot.

I understand what you mean when you say that the time you take to photograph is your "away" from it all.  When I have a camera in my hand and am actively looking for a subject to photograph, I find that I can forget about my everyday worries for a time, and better appreciate the beauty of the world around me.

If you ever have any questions about photography, please don't hesitate to ask.  I enjoy talking about photography, and helping others to learn also helps me to improve my understanding of a subject.

Welcome, and I look forward to seeing many more of your beautiful images.

prairiedust

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Re: Hello from Michèle in Switzerland
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 11:03:55 AM »

Welcome Michèle.  I admire the photos you added this week, and look forward to more glimpses of your area of the world.  I feel a kinship after reading your history.  I, too, used to travel for a living, though not as far as you have.  Mostly through the mid United States I watched the colors of the landscape change at every moment as I drove the highways. The rich textures of fields and roadside weeds, the moods of the sky, the tones of the season were always at play. Here we don't have the mountains or grand vistas of Switzerland or Colorado. But we do have sensuous fields of tall grass, croplands, and above all the incredible openess of the plains.  Every play of light adds some element of drama, and the simple open beauty of the Flint Hills is powerful to those of us who grew out of its dust.

And I understand the feelings that come with doing photography for others, caring enough to give our best and the emotional consequences of falling short (especially in our own estimation). From what I've seen you'll be a treasure to that community.

I sympathize with Keith's emotions, dragged from the Rocky Mountains.  I look at his photographs and there is no doubt how much he loved that area.  But Colorado's loss is our gain in Kansas.  He and Rebecca are wonderful teachers. Their patience, kindness, and knowledge never fail to impress me. 

I'm glad my photos of this area are helping him adjust to the new landscape.  It's very different, but on its own terms Kansas has one of the most most subtle and satisfyinig vistas anywhere.  Isn't it great to have a site like this where we can share those visions of our home grounds?
Dave Leiker (PrairieDust)
Exploring the Rural Midwest

Michele

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Re: Hello from Michèle in Switzerland
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 03:28:55 PM »
Travelling seems like a lifetime ago.  I still get itchy to go, anywhere.  You are right that Switzerland offers quite the views (where I live there are many beautiful things that have not changed throughout time but my life is now very complex and mundane at the same time.  People here appreciate what I do and that is always suportive.  I tend to edit wrinkles on faces to lighten them but I never remove them (even though I have been asked many many times)  My answer is the same every time, it just wouldn't be you anymore and you are perfect the way you are.  The people in my little village keep asking for more and more.  I do family portraits, single portraits, events, etc.  but rarely charge.  Just the extras that I need to get the task done.  Ink, paper and so on.  But for big events such as weddings or first communions, then I charge something but I have no clue what to charge as I am not a proffessional, it seems wrong to ask.  The cool thing about it is that I get into some pretty intimate situations such as a prize winning cow and the family with the cow.  (A very big deal to these farmers) or a calendar of men trying to make a joke on a man turning 40.  (My first nudes, I was so nervous (even though the wives were ok with it because it was me taking the photos) that I forgot to check my white balance and my light source.  It took me two months of photoshop to even come close to something I could get printed - in the end they were more artsy than reality, they liked it.) The problem is I don't have the equipment to do these jobs and improvise as much as possible.  I also can't afford the equipment either.  It's kind of a catch 22, I don't charge much but I can't buy what I need. Oh well.  I still have projects to finish that are on the "to do" list but I need to be motivated.  By shooting for myself, I get that motivation.  I am so grateful to this site.  I think Keith is already shown me exeptional patience.  I am going to learn all I can from this site.  Thank you for the warm welcome.

RebeccaSnell

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Re: Hello from Michèle in Switzerland
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2010, 09:47:00 PM »
Hi Michele,
I'm Rebecca --the one who dragged Keith to Kansas--little does he know, it was for his own good.   It's just too darn easy to just step out your door and snap picture perfect mountains - no real skill required.  The real challenge is to find the beauty in what others cast off.   Kansas gets at bad reputation because others have deemed it 'flat' and boring.  My brother who ranches in the flint hills area says that is just perfect as if others realize what there really is in Kansas; it will get run over by the population migration from California just like Colorado was :-)   So, it will take a while, but you'll start seeing the beautiful side of Kansas from Keith's photography too :-) 

I so admire you being a single Mom.  Keith was away from Feb. 1 - 23 and wow, that gave me a whole new appreciation of what all those single parents out there go through.  Just garnering the energy everyday to be upbeat and encouraging for your kids takes a lot.    And, I found I just craved a moment to myself.  Of course, an 18month old and 4 year old are a little more clingy than yours probably are at this point. 

I am very glad you found this website as well.  I LOVED your zone 7 pictures.  And, I look forward to getting to know your area of the world through your creative eye.   And, don't underestimate yourself, with just the few shots I've seen, you are an excellent photographer.   I do find the weekly assignments help me from getting too lazy with the camera and keep me thinking about the technical aspects of photography as well as the artistic side.  Seeing the other member's shots also inspires me to try a little harder and to get a little more creative (when I have time!).  So, go out there and shoot with conviction and confidence! :-)  Looking forward to seeing more of your work.   
Rebecca