Artist Limelight Featured PhotographerAs I'm sure many of you remember, I used to have a monthly feature here at Photo Trek called the Photographer Spotlight. This was a regular article that I would do where I introduce another photographer and show some of their work. It was a very fun feature for me to do, and allowed me to get to know a lot of other photographers over the years. Unfortunately, I had to discontinue this feature due to other commitments in my life. At some point I may start it up again, but in the meantime, one of my featured photographers, Steve Grob , has started up his own version.
Steve is a very talented photographer, and does some incredible things with studio work and product photography. He's probably one of the best in that genre of the art that I have met. His new feature called "Artist Limelight" is designed to do a lot of the same things that were in the Photographer Spotlight, and we collaborated a bit on this project. He has not got things up and running over at Dark Fox Media, and has honored me with the first feature in this series.
I have to say, it was very humbling to read about my work in this fashion. He did a great job with the article, and I am deeply appreciative of his time and effort. This article can be found in his journal under the Artist Limelight tab. Here is a reprint for your reading pleasure.
ForewordWhen I decided to go ahead with this ongoing project, Artist Limelight, I struggled with the decision as to whom I would feature with the first solicited article. (Solicited meaning someone I’ve invited to be in this feature) This was especially difficult because my wife is also a photographer, and I have many friends and family members that are artists in some form. As selfish as this may sound, I granted a lot of credence to someone that I have the most in common with, not only in choice of hobby, but also in a philosophical sense in their commitment to family and giving back to community. Having said that, I decided on Greg Kiser.
I’ve known Greg for a couple of years now as an online friend and fellow photographer. I have a lot of respect for him personally and of his work. He is very skilled in many areas of photography, but the mainstay of his work is in photographing the landscape. If you check out his galleries, you can easily see that he is a very busy man. As a family man and full time police officer, he manages to balance his life well between family, career, and photography. I strongly recommend photographers, especially those interested in landscapes to check out his work and pay close attention to his composition techniques and approach to lighting.
Greg A. Kiser
"At Peace" by Greg A. Kiser
Greg was born in North Carolina, and grew up hiking, camping in, and exploring the natural beauty this breathtaking area has to offer. Building models was his first hobby that stayed with him as he grew older. This hobby offered the chance for creation and the challenges of adding intricate details to his work. In high school, is goal was to attend either West Point or Annapolis and enter the military as an officer. This plan changed with the onset of Desert Storm, and Greg attended Appalachian State University and graduated in 1996 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He began his career as a police officer in 1999.
As a street cop, Greg is able to offer positive things to his community and help make an impact on lives that desperately need someone like him to intervene. But, being a cop is not easy, and Greg realized early that he needed an outlet in his life to take his mind from the human tragedies he faced every day.
"Exposed Granite (B&W)" by Greg A. Kiser
Greg did not necessarily start out in photography as a beginner. His interest in photography came early in life and he was always the designated family photographer. His Father still has the Konica 35mm camera Greg used to watch him shoot with. Greg states, “I remember him telling me how a polarizing filter worked and the whole concept amazed me. “ In his website biography is stated, “For years Greg had been the designated family photographer, but that was the extent of it. He made snapshot memories…the kind of pictures that really only mean something to those who were there at the time.”
When Greg was about thirty years old, he began having more personal challenges. Marital problems led to his divorce, and his Mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, forcing her into an assisted living facility. For a brief time, he considered going back to building models again to help take his mind off things. He began taking long drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a breathtaking area he discovered while attending college. In his questionnaire, he states, “I couldn’t figure out why I felt like a visitor just driving through.”
"The Layered Veil" by Greg A. Kiser
In 2004, his interest in photography began to increase. After using a variety of 35mm point and shoot cameras and Polaroid’s, he moved into the digital SLR world upon receiving a Sony FD-200 as a Christmas gift from his Mother. This offered new opportunities and opened up new doors to creativity. This also illuminated his interest in art, and his desire to express his feelings and deal with the many challenges in his life. “I had found my way to interact with the mountains of NC and at the same time found a way to take a mental vacation from my life.”
"Rolling Inferno" by Greg A. Kiser
As we know, life leads us through many interesting turns. Greg’s life is at a turning point, being engaged to his dear friend Toni, with their marriage planned for January of 2011. Toni is very supportive of Greg’s photographic work, and he credits her for several photos in his gallery and the gallery itself. She pushed him to building a new website after his lost his AOL website in 2008. She joins him on many photo treks, helps with the portrait shoots, and choreographs and directs the looks of his portrait works. (I’ve never had the opportunity to get to know Toni, but I see her references in Greg’s Facebook posts, and she seems to be an extraordinary woman)
"Lofty Aspirations" by Greg A. Kiser
During the creation of this article, Greg shared with me an interesting and entertaining story regarding “that one picture that got away.” He states, “When I was in college, one of my classes took a hiking trip (yeah I went for the hard classes!) up Grandfather Mountain in the late summer. The weather was hot and muggy with lots of clouds. I wasn’t a photographer at the time, and didn’t even think about carrying a camera with me for this hike. It was a rough hike and I didn’t enjoy it all that much…that is until we got to the top of the mountain. The last few feet of the trail broke through the clouds at the top of the mountain. I found myself looking out over a sea of clouds with blue sky above. I could make out the tips of other peaks and summits over the ocean of cotton. I was standing not on a mountain, but on an island. That was in 1992, and the scene is still emblazoned in my mind as if I were standing there today. I wished that I had a camera when I was there beca use I could recognize the raw beauty of the scene. It affected me deeply, probably deeper than I will ever know. I think I am still in search of magical scenes like that to share with others through photography.”
One of the main things Greg likes about photography is that he’s always learning, which he finds odd since he doesn’t particularly like school. For him photography is more than a visual recording of a scene, but the different aspects and levels of importance of the image can be changed to express Greg’s view as he sees it. Through his photography, he strives to gain and utilize the same attention to detail he once gave to his model building hobby.
"Reliable" by Greg A. Kiser
As said before, Greg’s favorite subject is the landscape, but he’s also very attracted to waterfalls and rustic scenes. He has a knack for recognizing and showing the beautiful parts of these types of scenes like the textures of aged wood and the rust of a vehicle along the side. Though his reads many photography books, magazines, and takes part in photography forums, Greg is largely self-taught. He sells photographs from his website in print form and hopes to use photography to supplement his income upon retirement. He also states, “My newly formed retirement plans include a large cardboard box that I will be living in which is slightly different from the lakeside cabin I had envisioned.” This statement from Greg caught me as amusing, but in truth, I don’t think he’s going to have to worry about that.
As for his equipment preference, Greg says he would love to get into digital medium format but for now works with his Canon 5D. This replaced his 40D after an unfortunate slip on the ice earlier this year. His lens collection includes Canon’s L Series of lenses ranging from 17mm to 400mm.
For his influences, Greg finds Mark Lucock who is the author of Succeed in Landscape Photography. He has interacted with Mr. Lucock on several occasions, in fact. Other influences include John Shaw, Ansel Adams, Jack Dykinga, Boyd Norton, Galen Rowell, and David Muench. Greg’s biggest goal he has achieved was learning how to use a DSLR camera in full manual. He has reached the level of competence that “far exceeds” his initial expectations.
"The Path Less Taken" by Greg A. Kiser
Greg has entered photos into the Dixie Classic Fair many times, and has received first, third, and fourth place ribbons in the Professional Photographer categories. He doesn’t enter into the fair any more or any other competitions but has received some for his original Photo Trek Blog.
I’d like to now offer a big THANK YOU to Greg Kiser for agreeing to be a part of the Artist Limelight page, especially being the first actual entry. Greg’s work can be found can be found:
446 Photography Greg's main website
Photo Trek II Greg’s blog
The Call of the Waterfall
Greg is also on Facebook
Article written by Steve Grob at Dark Fox Media