Student of the Month: Steve Tabor

Steve is our student of the month for September, 2016. His photographs are open and bright. There an unmistakable sense of life to them. Steve utilizes selective focus, vibrant colors and direct light to create a sense of suspended motion in this photographs. Don't miss Steve Tabor's project on Pt. Lobos in our gallery this month.

We had an interview by Creative Photo Academy's Ryan Chambers with Steve Tabor to hear about his work and what inspires him:

If you could sum up this work in one word what would it be?

Which photograph has meant the most to you?
There is not one photograph that has meant the most to me. I have several personal favorites, but truly every photo has a story. Sometimes you have waited and waited for the right moment. Others you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes the image becomes one of your favorites simply because of the story behind it.

For example, when I was creating the self-portrait for the exhibit, a young man was watching intently as I set up the equipment and shot. He stood there probably about 15 minutes. Then watched me shoot the picture. In all, he probably invested 25 minutes out of his schedule. When I was finished, he asked me if I wouldn't mind, could I shoot a picture of his girlfriend and him. He approached the young lady and when he was within an arm's distance, he got down on one knee and began his proposal. I must have click off 50 photos of the event from start to finish. Even capturing the moment she said a teary "Yes!"

Before we parted ways, we had an opportunity to talk. He told me that he did not intend to propose at the moment, but after seeing me work through my portrait, he knew that this would be the right moment and I would be exactly the person to capture the moment. We reviewed the pictures in the finder and I watched the couple as they re-lived the moment. Before parting ways I wished the couple much happiness and the newly engaged couple proceeded down the pathway to live happily ever after.

Where have you found inspiration photographically?
Initially, I was inspired by the photographs taken by Jacques Cousteau and his crew members of the various marine animals, seascapes and landscapes they captured. Then, Robert Talbot brought additional inspiration with his images.

Also, growing up in the 60's, the variety of photos from Life magazine were captivating. As I have continued my photographic journey, I have drawn inspiration from the greats like Ansel Adams. But, I must also give credit to the Mark and the other students in the Tuesday Night Advanced Class.

Who do you feel like you were making this work for?
Let's be honest and a bit selfish, it's me. But, there is a special satisfaction seeing a picture in the viewfinder and having the picture appear in print or on the screen exactly how you pictured it. I do enjoy sharing those photographs with my wife, Lauren, my family, friends and others.

With the monitor on the back of the camera, I find myself in situations where a stranger will come up and ask what are you taking a picture of. Watching their expression as they see something they have not noticed or see in more detail is quite satisfying.

Was there anything about yourself or something else that you discovered making these pictures?
As I stated earlier, my photography is evolving. The more I shoot and the more I talk to other photographers, I have come to look for the light, the details and other factors that make an average picture a better photograph.

Also, I believe that I have become more creative in my thought process and composition. This has expanded my thought process not only in my photographs, but other aspects of my life.

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Was there a class, instructor, Pro Talk or trip that really helped you connect with photography?
David Bever has been a mentor to me. His intermediate classes have developed my skills in not only photographing people, but how to talk with them and position them in a way that can make such a difference in your photographs.

Additionally, his classes in artificial light have greatly expanded my photography not only in low light, but in a variety of situations.

Our discussions led by Mark in the Tuesday Night Advanced Class have been beneficial in learning techniques. Additionally, studying the variety of photographers has provided food for thought about how and what I shoot.

Is there a piece of equipment that you really love?
I don't think I have one favorite piece of equipment. I do have a variety of lenses and other equipment that allow me to produce a variety of photographs. I feel I have the equipment to shoot in a variety of situations and a variety of subjects. Because you never know what is going to happen, It is very difficult for me to reduce my bag to one lens. I also always carry at least one speed light with a way to have it function off camera.

Maybe that's why my bag is so heavy!

What thread do you feel ties these pictures together besides you taking them?
All of these photographs were taken over a number of years at Pt. Lobos State Reserve just south of Carmel, California. It is an inspirational place. I am never at a loss for subject manner. I look forward to each visit because the light, the weather and scenery is always different.

What is your advice to someone starting in photography?
Don't buy a camera, lens or piece of equipment just because its is cheaper than the other item. Study your options and know why you want this item and what can you use it for in the future. If you have a chance at all, rent it or borrow it prior to purchasing.

Do you have any projects you're planning to do next?
Currently, I am spending a lot of time on Catalina. I am hoping this will translate into producing images that are more than pictures of Avalon and bison that are found on the post cards.

What's your favorite color?
I think you guessed it, ocean blue.

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See his work at our main gallery through the month of September, 2016.

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