I am very excited to introduce my featured artist for the month of June! Michael Zeigler, fondly known as Zig, is not only one of my very close friends, but has served as my mentor in underwater photography from the very beginning. When I first bought my DSLR camera and housing, I went out to Southern California to dive the Great Kelp forest with him. We have been great friends and colleagues since! Zig taught me through online Skype sessions about the basics of photography. I knew NOTHING about photography, really. This was three years ago, and I owe much of my enthusiasm to his teaching and love of marine life and photography.
Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University, Zig bought a one-way ticket to Southern California and immediately fell in love with the ocean. Although he had the opportunity to dive many amazing places around the world, he prefers capturing the beauty of the diverse marine life that inhabits the rich kelp forests of Southern California. Currently, his favorite local dive destination is Santa Barbara Island. The underwater flora and fauna are simply stunning.
Zig currently lives in Huntington Beach with his wife and three year old daughter, and works full time, as a sales specialist for Siemens Healthcare. He first became interested in underwater photography (and then photography in general) after his wife, Minnie, bought for him, an underwater housing for a compact camera in 2009. He quickly became addicted to the learning curve, and soon found himself dedicating all of his time underwater to creating images.
Over the years, Zig been very fortunate to work with the great people at Sport Diver and Scuba Diving magazines, as well as other publications around the world. Most recently, Zig co-founded Immersed Imaging with his friend, Todd Winner (who is also an AMAZING photographer!). In addition to creating stunning video and still images for clients, Immersed Imaging runs some really fun domestic and international expeditions. Check them out!
Since March 2013, Zig been a proud member of the Ocean Artists Society, which uses ocean art to inspire people around the world to a greater awareness of our need to protect and preserve our natural world. It's a really great cause with a very important message. I would encourage you to subscribe to their free e-zine and quarterly films. Great stuff!
Zig loves teaching and helping fellow photogs take skills to the next level. Whether you're looking for a private, semi-private, or group lesson, Zig offers amazing and exciting new ways to learn! I promise you'll learn something, and have fun doing it, as his enthusiasm is contagious! Photography lessons are typically held on a charter boat, however, sessions for photography and Lightroom can be held in a classroom setting or via Skype. For those just getting started in the wonderful world of underwater photography, Zig has the following suggestion: read everything you can and talk to other underwater photographers! There are a lot of great resources out there such as Dive Photo Guide, WetPixel, and of course, trips with Immersed Imaging!
If you would like to see more of Zig’s work, please visit his personal website at www.seainfocus.com.
Featured Artist : Anis Girgis- Drone Photography
I was lucky enough to spend an amazing week with my great friend and brother, Anis Girgis. Anis has introduced me to a new kind of photographic art: drone photography! While we were playing in the sand, he was practicing drone photography and got some amazing shots. The drone can shoot video and still frame, and the quality is really amazing! He controls the drone with his iPhone. These photos are from the very tip of the Baja Peninsula in Cabo San Lucas. El Arco is a famous landmark, and yes, it is this beautiful!!! With this article I would also like to introduce you to a new section on my web site called "Places". Here, I will feature shots of landscape and culture from the places that I have traveled and also work from featured artists. All work on this site is available for purchase in many types of print and all sizes. Contact me at email@example.com for prices and details. - Tracey Winholt, Photographer, Bourbonnais, Illinois.
One of the most fun things for me is learning about and sharing the work of other artists. Today, and for the rest of this month, I am featuring a very talented photographer, Pat Cortez. Pat lives in Bentonville Arkansas and is the sister of one of my very best friends, Stella Girgis. Pat has been interested in photography since the birth of her grand daughter and now, she has an amazing bird and nature collection that I would like to share with you. Besides photography, Pat is more than passionate about cooking. She has been cooking since she was 12 years old, and has collected over 100 cookbooks! Her son is a chef in Houston, were she travels frequently. I Hope you enjoy her gallery! All prints are available at www.traceywinholt.com. $20 for individual prints or 3 for $50. Beautiful canvas prints 40%off! This week only. Tracey Winholt, photographer, Bourbonnais, Illinois
Meet Kristy Jane, a very talented 24 year old artist from Bradley, Illinois. Kristy and I met approximately one year ago at the Wright in Kankakee Art Show and have since become the best of friends. Not only is she creative and talented, she quite possibly might be as weird as I am, and therefore, we have bonded. Kristy has many passions, two of which we share, photography and dogs, but for this month, I am highlighting her as my Tracey Winholt Photography Featured Artist of the Month of May for her beautiful art of Painting. As a child, Kristy wanted to become a veterinarian, but she quickly discovered her talent for art in kindergarten, when she was the only child who could color between the lines and in one direction, as asked. ( I really was jealous of kids like that!!)
Kristy studied art and received her Bachelor’s degree of Fine Art Specializing in Water Color Painting from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. I asked Kristy to tell me a little about her inspiration, style and technique:
I am inspired by God and his creations, especially in nature. My style could be categorized easily under Realism. I strive for precision in my work. When a person sees my work for the first time, I want them to believe they are seeing a photo, and once they realize it is a painting, I want them to take a second look and engulf themselves into my work to see the details, craftsmanship, and labor that I put into the piece. My technique, as far as HOW i paint my paintings, is probably not what my professor wants to hear. haha. I start with a precise drawing (he would prefer loose) then I start with light washes of color to map out and give some definition. I then continue to layer the paint on, starting from light to dark since in watercolor there is no room for mistakes. Once I get my medium/dark layer finalized i then go back through and really lay on the detail with the absolute darkest parts of the painting which really pulls the whole piece together! (my favorite part!!) When i'm finished I prop my painting up and stand back to look at it and flip it upside-down because that really shows the imperfections. The last step is correcting the imperfections and signing it!The combination of a tightly rendered object against a loose background is like perfect harmony for me! I try to incorporate some loose techniques of painting into all of my pieces to give it a real sense of contrast. I asked Kristy to tell me about her favorite piece:
Man. picking a favorite piece is hard! They're like my children - you can't pick a favorite... out loud... I guess deep down in my heart it's a tie between my large Chicago landscape with the purple sky or the pelican painting. I think i'm so attached to my Chicago painting because it took me well over 80 hours to do since A.) it was so large and B.) I painted AROUND each tiny window since if possible I avoid using white paint because lets face it- it looks like white paint stuck on there afterwards and is way less impressive! BUT after typing and thinking about it- the pelican piece is probably my favorite. About 60 hours of work went into that one and it's a combination of my two favorite things to paint- architecture and animals! I feel this piece is the best representation of how I want my work to be viewed - as a picture! I photographed this picture in California on an extremely sunny day- so there are phenomenal harsh shadows and such a great contrast of colors within the painting that it just is perfect to me!
Kristy Jane is available for commissioned work. She can create beautiful and realistic paintings from any photo from your favorite landscapes, architecture (house- building city scape, barn whatever), animals and even patterns or logos .
Please see her gallery at www.kristencecile.com, and feel free to contact her.