Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Mentor

I have to dedicate this blog to my mentor, the late Mike Ash. Mike and I met via the web when he emailed me with photography advice. I was so very green. At the time, I had a Polaroid PDC 640 digital camera that I had bought used from my brother, and I took it everywhere. With the enthusiasm of the inexperienced photographer, I snapped everything in sight. Then I met Mike. I was immediately dazzled by his amazing macro images of wasps, bees, and butterflies. How did he get in so close? I wanted to do that!

Mike was ever the humble guy. He was never ashamed to share with others his secret. I chuckle sometimes now at people with thousand dollar cameras and lenses. You see, Mike had a point-and-shoot and a really old computer. He was pre-DSLR, pre-Photoshop, pre-flat computer screens and even non-Mac or Windows. And Mike got noticed everywhere on the web. He won contests and prizes.

"So what was his big secret?" you ask. Mike's secret was small, stacked, plastic magnifying glasses, toilet paper tubes, and masking tape. "Oh, come on!" you say. Ah, but I have proof. Friends of Mike keep his memory alive and you can read about his technique in his own words and view his work at the following website. I encourage you to do so.

Mike showed me that you didn't have to have the best equipment to take good pictures, but that good photography was the product of a dedicated photographer. He taught me to learn what my camera could do and use it. And most of all, he gave me a love for the subject matter. For me it's no longer a matter of just the photograph, but of learning what's in the photograph.

Tragically, Mike was taken from everyone far too early. But his memory, his photography live on. And I am ever in his debt for what wisdom he gave me.

"Go in Peace," Mike.

I took this image with my first digital camera and a hand held magnifying glass. I entered it in an online contest and won. It was my beginning, and I owe it to Mike.

Green Drops

Green Drops

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Suzanne Williams Photography

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.


Jessica said...

Wow, I'm sorry he's not here anymore. He sounds like a lovely man.
And your pic is lovely too. No wonder it won :-)

scw1217 said...

Thanks, Jessica. He was unique and gave me a lot of pointers that have really helped me out over the years.

Lori said...

That was amazing and you can't see your reflection off the water, which I know that I would do. I think this is such a beautiful picture for you to cherish!


doycosmo said...

what a great picture, I love anything with drops of water sinc eI love the rain and sound slike a wonderful man!

mike.kris said...

That's incredible! Guess I can't use the "I don't have a fancy-schmancy camera" excuse any more! That was a beautiful tribute to your mentor.

Jennifer said...

wow what a beautiful photograph! thank you for sharing! I am not sure I would have thought to try to take a picture through a magnifying glass!

lukenlarry at yahoo dot com

Audra Marie said...

How sad to lose a gifted photographer and friend. I'll definitely check out the link and learn his technique. Love the photo. :)