Tag Archives: san francisco

Interview with Laura Macky

21 Jan
Laura Macky - A Way Out

Laura Macky – A Way Out

Laura Macky’s creativity is a bright light that cuts through a lot of the noise on the internet.  I discovered her blog a while back and have consistently enjoyed seeing the art she makes and the way she sees the world.  This interview was a chance to get a behind the scenes glimpse at what goes into making her images, and a chance to share her bold, painterly, thinking outside of the box images with you.  Hope you enjoy! 🙂
Where are you located?
I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area in California

Laura Macky - Sailboat

Laura Macky – Sailboat

How did you get into photography?

I used to play the piano as a hobby but developed a nerve issue in my right hand from a neck injury/surgery and I couldn’t play like I used to.  For several years I had no hobby and one day I thought it might be fun to try photography because it was in the arts, and I’ve always been a huge fan of the arts!  So off I went to our local camera store to buy cheapest DSLR, a Nikon D3000.  I remember going out with the camera for the first time and being scared to even press the button in auto.

Laura Macky - Fog Wave

Laura Macky – Fog Wave

Laura Macky - SF Skyline

Laura Macky – SF Skyline

One of things I love about your work is the creativity and bold edits. Do you have a vision in mind when you shoot, or do you let the photo edit develop as you start working with each image?

I love this question Shannon.  Thank you!   First off, you can probably tell I love color and vibrant color to boot!  I do a bit of B&W too but color is definitely my favorite.  It’s important that my personality show through in my photos and because I think I’m anything but demure lol, I think you pick up on that side of me through my editing.  As to the second question, usually I’m driven by mood of what I’m seeing at the time.  For instance, if I’m standing behind a willow tree and I see beautiful light and I feel magical, I know that I will try to edit the photo to match my feeling at the time.  Or if I’m zooming in on a tiny flower and I see it as a jewel box while I’m there, I will try to edit that way later.  Once in awhile I get an image that’s in between and then I let myself go in photoshop and see what I come up with…no preconceived idea up front.

Laura Macky - Flying Mallard

Laura Macky – Flying Mallard

Laura Macky - Windswept

Laura Macky – Windswept

What/whose work inspires you? (Doesn’t need to be a photographer)

What inspires me are artists who are original and come from a unique viewpoint.  I see a lot of images that look the same and you can’t really tell who took the photo.  It’s inspirational to me to see someone who takes a chance and expresses themselves out-of-the-box.


Laura Macky - CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky – CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky - Willow Glow

Laura Macky – Willow Glow

What are your goals for your images? Are you trying to convey anything with your art?

My goal is to express the mood I felt at the time I took the photo.  I hope to evoke someone to feel the same as I did when I took the photo.  Since I’m fairly new to photography, I feel like only recently have started to be able to do this and while I’m not always successful, it’s what keeps me motivated to improve.  When people comment on my photos with certain words that I was already thinking, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

Laura Macky - Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky – Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky - Tangled Coneflower

Laura Macky – Tangled Coneflower

How can people find you? Website, email, twitter, instagram, etc.

You can find me at http://www.lauramacky.com/, www.lauramacky.wordpress.cominfo@lauramacky.com.  I’m also on G+, Twitter, and Flickr.  The links can be found either on my website or on my blog in the sidebar.  Thank you for the opportunity to share!

Give Thanks

25 Nov
Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -JFK

There is so much in our lives, both good and bad, that fill up our days that it can seem overwhelming.  I’ve found though, that a moment of gratitude can do wonders to give you perspective about what is important versus what is just “noise”.  It can drastically improve your mood and remind us to have some humility.


That being said, I want to take a moment to recognize the sources of joy in my life, and then encourage you to do the same. 🙂


Today, and every day, I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  I have my health, security, stability and opportunities to improve my life if I’m brave enough to reach for them.  I live in a place that recognizes my basic human rights.

The Hearts Overflows

The Hearts Overflows

I am surrounded by people who love and support me.  I was lucky enough to be born into a family that values things like compassion, kindness, and laughter.  I get to share my life with an incredible man who supports my dreams and enjoys making memories with me.  I literally have the best friends a girl could ask for.



I’ve seen enough beauty in this world to make anyone’s heart overflow with joy.  The power of nature, the rain, the wind, the lightning, the cold, the feel of the setting sun on my skin on a summer day, the colors of a dramatic sky, the smell of new grass and lilies, the sound of the ocean, watching children play and people love…

In Wildness

In Wildness

Adventure fills my soul, leads me to exciting places, introduces me to new people and enriches my life in a way that words can only barely describe.  I’m grateful to have wanderlust in my blood, to have had a family that nurtured it, and to now have the resources to follow its call.

Hope Rises

Hope Rises

The world is such a wonderful, frightening, beautiful place filled with an exquisite tapestry of human existence.  Every day I draw breath I am grateful that I get to be a part of it, grateful for the experiences that shaped me and the memories that sustain me.

We Are One

We Are One :: California

Thank you to each and every one of you for being part of my life.  Your support, your kindness, your smiles (or emoticons as the case may be), your love fills my life with so much joy.  You’ve all had a hand in shaping my life and I’m grateful for your influence.  It’s always appreciated when you take a moment to send me a note or comments.  I love the discussions and friendships that can be built from a photo.  And most importantly, you are a huge source inspiration.  Your perception and appreciation of my work is a humbling thing.  It’s incredible to think that my images can brighten someone’s day and my experiences (mistakes) help teach someone on the other side of the world.


Now, I challenge all of you to think about the blessings in your own life.  We all have our struggles, but perhaps focusing on the positives will help the negatives seem that much more bearable. 🙂


For those of you in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving week!  For my international friends, happy regular week! haha  Hope it’s a good one!




Keeping the Canvas Clean – Vol 1

24 Jun
Keep Your Canvas Clean - Vol 1

Keep Your Canvas Clean – Vol 1

I spent the first weekend in June attending a workshop in California hosted by David Gaiz, Toby Harriman and Michael Shainblum.  One of the points they made, which I guess I always subconsciously understood but never articulated was the importance of keeping your canvas clean.

(Side note…this is a great group of guys to take a workshop from!  If you can, do!  And if you can’t still follow their pages and work!)

As a landscape photographer, I often search out places that are beautiful and still relatively pristine.  After all, the thing that draws people to landscape shots is that fact that they aren’t your everyday, commonplace, dirty, graffiti’d, covered in trash scene.  It’s one of the reasons I rarely shoot the views from our mountains in Connecticut….too much civilization in the views.  Go a bit further north though…

Anyway, my favorite location shots have good light, a relatively clean landscape and a unique subject.  From the perspective of  photographer, that means the scene is your canvas and it’s up to you to keep it pristine.

(Disclaimer…photos are art, and everyone’s tastes are different.  There are many shots that I enjoy adding a human element to, but not every shot.  One that human element is there – like foot prints in snow, for example – it’s hard to undo them.  I try to start with an unblemished scene first, and if I decide it needs something, then I’ll change my angle or perspective to include evidence of my own passage.)

During the workshop, the example given was footprints on a beach.  Once they were in your shot you had a lot of work to edit them out later, or you had to wait for a wave to reset your canvas.  It became a bit of a theme for the weekend, and we teased each other about getting in each other’s shots. 🙂

The image above is a prime example of keeping the canvas clean.  There is a little speck next to my setting sun that I easily could have cloned out of the image.  But the reality of the speck made me laugh, so I decided to keep it.  That speck is a helicopter and in that helicopter was Toby Harriman (along with Mike Mezeul II and Mital Patel).  Toby, if I recall correctly, was the one who first brought up how much of a pain editing out footprints was. haha

Keep Your Canvas Clean - Vol 1 (Inset)

Keep Your Canvas Clean – Vol 1 (Inset)

So…uh…Toby, you’re in my canvas, dude. 😉

For those of you on the FB, I turned this image (heli-bomb and all) into a banner for your page.  My gift to you.  All I ask in return is that you like my FB photo page.  With all of the changes made recently to FB, I have begun to use the page less and less…but every now and then I’ll post give aways and freebies and other FB only content there and if you don’t follow the page, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!!  Neither of us wants that.  So, if you wouldn’t mind hitting the like/follow/subscribe/etc button, I would appreciate it!

San Fran Banner

San Fran Banner



The Photographer’s Life

17 Jun
Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

When I see a beautiful image, it always gives me this magical feeling.  I get a sense of longing, of wanting to be there, of imaging how having that memory for myself must be.  It makes me covet the moment I see captured within the frame.

What I don’t think of, however, is the difficulties I will have to overcome to get to that moment.  For example, this image was from my recent trip to San Francisco.  The model on the right of the frame – another photographer whom I do not know – grounded the image for me. Otherwise, it would have just been a pretty sunset with no subject for the viewer to focus on.

Now…the realities of making this shot.

On location, this hill from which we were shooting was anything but remote.  It was crawling with other photographers all trying to get a shot of the sunset in front of me, and the city and bridge behind me.

Furthermore, I live in Connecticut.  Cali is about an 8 hour flight for me (with layover).  Friday, I went into work early so that I could leave work early.  I drove an hour and a half to the airport in Rhode Island (best deal and timing of flights).  I got on a plane around 5pm.  I got into Cali around 11pm (which to me, with the time difference, was 2am).  My friend David picked me up at the airport, we stopped to get water and snacks, and then he dropped me at the hotel.  I finally went to bed around 12:30am Cali time (3:30am Shannon time).

We got up for sunrise just 3.5 hours later.  The whole weekend, in fact, I expect I got about 11.5 hours of sleep in Cali, and another 4 hours on the plane ride home…which, after landing I had to drive straight back to work for the day.

This particular sunset, was at the top of Slacker Hill, which – I believe – is a bit of a misnomer.  We got to the base of the trail and it said 0.4 miles.  How hard can 0.4 miles be, right???

Did I mention 0.2 of those miles were almost straight up? On only a few hours of sleep?  And low blood sugar, since we hadn’t found time for dinner yet? Oh, and by the way, San Fran has a micro climate and a serious wind issue when you get that high up so I had 5 layers on to stay moderately comfortable.  It was 90 degrees and I picked up a sunburn earlier that day, and had to wear two coats at the top of the hill. haha

Truly, in the grand scheme of things, these things are hardly worth mentioning as obstacles compared to full day 10 mile hikes I’ve taken, weather I’ve endured, pain I’ve put myself through, etc to get a shot….but the point is, there is often a huge disparity between the calm beauty of a scene, and the reality of the environment in which it was created.

So, now that I’ve seen this sunset, I think of this shot in two ways.  The image itself resonates with me.  If we consider this solely as a piece of art, then for the sake of art, I enjoy the scene…the beauty of the sunset, the colors, the fog lending it a mystical air, the lone figure in the foreground taking it all in, giving you a sense of what it was like to see it firsthand…

On the flip side, I also remember being exhausted, sweaty, chilly, sunburned, my recently repaired knee aching, and the muscles in my legs burning.

More than that, I remember feeling determined.  I remember feeling a sense of awe that I…little old me…was strong enough to follow her heart, to see the world, to take in what mother nature had to offer, to be brave enough to ask another photographer, Michael, to tag along with them that night (because sometimes, I’m awfully shy).  I remember feeling lucky.

Most importantly, I remember feeling grateful.  The hardships and discomforts of a photographer’s life are immensely outweighed by the sense of rightness, the joy of creating something beautiful and the value of the memories collected in the course of pursuing the right light and location.

In my house, I have a print hanging on my wall that says “Do more of what makes you happy.”  It represents a choice I made a few years back to bring more value and meaning to my own life.  Today, I wish the same for you.

Whatever happiness is for you, I hope you fill your life with it and hold tight to the joy it brings you.  In the end, all we have are our experiences.  Fill your life with as many good memories as possible, never underestimate how important they are, and appreciate how lucky you are to have the opportunities for small joys in your life. I hope you find your version of a photographer’s life. 🙂