I'm Blair (@below_my_feet) and I'm from the vast, vibrant city of Phoenix. Arizona is often underrated, I think. Sure, it's hot, and people die hiking on mountains because they don't hydrate, but that's only a few months out of the year, so no bigs. Truly, there's so much beauty here. I primarily capture nature shots because of that reason. So many people think Arizona is just dirt, cacti and tumbleweeds, which are cool in their own right, but that's just a small part. On my hikes and day trips around the state, I try to show what my home has to offer.
When I'm not outside, I'm cooking or baking. My hope is to start a wedding pastry business. There's too much cake and not enough pies at weddings, for my taste. Maybe I'll start a movement. That'd be cool.
How'd you get in to taking photos?
For Christmas one year, I got an HP laptop/printer combo that came with a little camera as a gift for purchase. I took tons of horrible photos and loved every minute. Eventually, I upgraded my camera and began the never ending pursuit of capturing the brilliance of life. When I got my iPhone, I joined the ranks of mobile photography and haven't looked back since. In that time, I also replaced my HP with a Mac, so you can relax. I know you were worried.
Clearly you have an affinity for the outdoors. Is there anything special that you try to capture in your pictures?
I think I try to find what catches light the best. I look for lines and patterns in nature, and follow that line to where it touches the light and BOOM! Captured. Natural tones as well. No amount of editing can create the exquisite tones of nature, so I look for colors that I can enhance with editing, as apposed to trying to re-create.
You use Mextures in a really complementary way to those natural tones you just mentioned. How do you achieve that feel?
I start with either the 'Radiance' or the 'Landscape Enhance' pack, usually at a lower intensity, and rotate the overlay(s) until it highlights the colors I want. I often use the same overlay twice to deepen the tones without over-contrasting. After that I'll add a layer from the 'Vintage Gradients' pack to either soften or enhance the more earthy tones within the image. And I love me some light leaks. Positioned just right, they can add a touch of color to foggy light or strengthen the glory of a sunset. And with so many to use, I always find a place for a little light leak love (high five for alliteration!) in each of my photos. 'Window Wash' in the 'Grunge' pack is awesome. I use that one a lot. I use it to add intensity or depth, and it gives my images a coarseness that mimics the rough terrain I often attempt to capture.
After that, I use the adjustments feature within the app to tweak the intensity, fade, exposure and contrast until I am satisfied.
I've recently started playing with the film layers too, and F-Fortia, Lomography and P-669+ have become some favorites.
Do you have anything you'd really like to accomplish in 2015 regarding your photography?
Yes, indeed! My best friend Sarah (@sarahjanephotograph) is a stellar photographer and has asked me to be a second shooter, so I'm looking forward to that. In addition, I love film and have two film cameras that I plan to use and fine-tune my craft with this year. I'd even like to eventually get back into a darkroom and mess around with all that cool crap.
But overall, even in mobile photography, I'd like to improve and challenge myself to find different points of view, capture more urban life, and work towards building a portrait portfolio. I find people so interesting, and I find great joy in having the chance to capture a bit of their life story.
What Instagram feeds are you really into right now?
I love SO many. There are some talented freaks out there. It's hard to keep up. Since I'm sorta into nature stuff, a lot of the feeds I'm inspired by also feature tons of nature like @hannes_ becker, @andy_ best, @_lukecotton and @bobbimac (whose subtle editing style reminds me that nature doesn't need enhancement). @kodakmoments_bynina and @lovelydecay both have EPIC portraits and nature shots, it kills me. And in the Mextures world, @c_grizz and @wesleygrimm are super freaks with their surreal edits and gorgeous use of Mextures--always inspired. @joncourville and @triglyyy are also stupid good.
I know that you love music. If you had to make a playlist for editing, what are a few songs that would be on there?
I ALWAYS edit to music. The mood of the music and the mood of the edit often coincide. I have a billion songs on my Spotify, but here are a few songs to get you going:
When I'm Small--Phantogram Send The Pain On--Chrome Sparks Bottle--Texture Like Sun Know Where--Holy Other In Blue Music We Trust--Little Comets Howling/Original Mix--Ry/Frank Wiedemann Take Us Alive--Other Lives