Interview with Christina Rollo Fine Art Photography

I’m passionate, sensitive, and hardworking. I never quit or stop learning, and I’m always grateful. I take my work too seriously. I consistently strive for perfection, but I believe that’s what enables me to be successful.

http://www.rollosphotos.com
christina-rollo-400px
When did you first become interested in art, in general?

Since I was a child I have always loved to create things! My mother encouraged my creativity and taught me how to use my imagination. When I was a young I used to love making animals out of modeling clay, everyone told me I made them really well!

When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?

During high school I enrolled in a photography class and took a lot of photos of friends and family pets. Later in life I worked for a company where it was part of my job to take photos of work related events. I would then arrange the photos creatively, along with other good news into a weekly sales bulletin.

In what other forms of art do you also work, if any?

I love to create colorful art, wall hangings, arts and crafts, picture frames using sticks, and I used to sew stuffed animals. I first began my photography as an arts and crafts business. I used my images to hand craft note cards, t-shirts and screensavers in addition to prints, and sold them at craft fairs. When my inventory became to large to carry around I stopped attending shows, and decided to start selling my prints on demand.

Art of Hummingbird Flight  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Art of Hummingbird Flight – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On which style(s) of photography do you specialize?

Nature, specifically animals. Any kind of wildlife, insects, flowers, macro photography and landscapes. My hummingbird images are the most popular. I also have experience shooting sporting events and was a national winner of a “YouNews Prep Sports” award where the high school football team won recognition and $1,000 towards the purchase of sporting equipment. I was also recognized locally in the “Joyce KL Smith Environmental Photography Competition“, and nationally in “Photographer’s Forum Magazine“.

Has your style changed from when you first began? If so, why?

No not really I have always enjoyed the outdoors in the company of animals and nature. I feel like I belong to the earth under the trees surrounded by wildlife!

What kind of equipment do you use?

I started with a Nikon D-80 DSLR Camera and Olympus Stylus 1010 Point and Shoot for some macro photography. Currently I’m using the Nikon D5100 DSLR camera with my Nikkor 55-300mm, and Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 macro lens. I use a Nikkor 18-135mm for landscapes. Microsoft Windows OS and Photoshop Creative Suite for processing.

Tranquil Joy  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Tranquil Joy – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What made you choose that equipment?

Quality and price. All things being equal, the Nikon camera had a slightly larger sensor than the equivalent Canon so I purchased Nikon. I love my Nikkor lenses and the Sigma lens perform just as well as other name brands without the expensive. Photoshop is more than a photo editor, I think it’s the best software for creativity.

Are you a specialist photographer?

Yes specifically nature. I spend most of my time alone in the woods observing nature and wildlife while learning about the natural beauty that surrounds us. I rarely photograph people anymore.

Do you have favourite times of the days to take shots in?

Yes I prefer morning because I’m gaining daylight rather than losing it. I don’t feel rushed and I can continue to photograph throughout the day if the light isn’t too bright.

Touched  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Touched – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Are you a patient photographer, waiting for the right moment, or do you tend to just shoot and hope for the best?

I am both, depending upon the subject. If I’m photographing something I’ve photographed before such as hummingbirds, I tend to be patient and wait for the right moment. But when unique opportunities arise I seize the moments by taking as many photos as I can, and yes of course I hope for the best.

Tell us about one of the longest shoots you had?

It’s not unusual for me to sit for hours, sometimes days in one place waiting for specific birds to photograph. I have learned not to chase them. If you stay in one place, they get used to you and accept you into their environment. I take frequent breaks by exploring other things such as plants, insects, and flowers. I also spend a great deal of time praying and expressing gratitude for all of the natural beauty that surrounds me. I’m very thankful for my ability to recognize and capture it.

How often do you go out just to photograph or, do you have your camera ready at all times, even shopping?

I go out almost every day in spring, summer, and fall specifically to take photographs. I never carry a camera in my purse or keep it with me for everyday activities. I would be too distracted, so I keep those two aspects of my life separate.

Do you edit in Photoshop or another programme? Or do you outsource to someone else?

I edit all of my own photographs using Photoshop creative suite. Most of my editing is limited to color and contrast adjustments. Most of the time I like to do as little editing as possible. However there are times I have enhanced my shots by replacing backgrounds, blurring areas to increase depth of field, or just add other elements to a photograph to make it more beautiful and appealing, mixing two or sometimes three photos together.

Sweet Success  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Sweet Success – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

How much time (on average) does it take to edit a work?

It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending upon how much editing I feel is necessary. Many hours are spent editing due to the volume of photographs I take and the artworks I create. Generally I spend equal time photographing and editing.

What was your worse job?

I spent many years working as a secretary in an office, although I liked the work, I never enjoyed being confined to the indoors.

What was your best job?

I love taking photographs. It brings my love for animals and nature into a productive business that I can share with the world, and also prosper from.

How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?

I never know when a piece if finished. It’s easy to walk away but I may notice something days or even years later that I want to change. I rarely post photos immediately when I take them from my camera. I have to “let them bake a while”. I go back and look at them two or three times before I decide whether I’m satisfied with the image.

Peaceful Love  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Peaceful Love – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?

Walk away, take a break, go outdoors without the camera! I never force it, I shoot and create all of my images from my heart not my eyes. If I don’t feel it, I can’t make it happen.

How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?

I’m open to it and my feelings don’t get hurt. I realize people have different opinions and views. All comments and feedback are helpful. In most cases I find that I’m the most difficult person to please. I welcome all comments, positive or negative about my work and I use it to improve my skills. When someone makes a suggestion I always try it to see if there’s a difference in my final image.

Who is your favourite photographer?

I don’t have one favorite photographer. There are many people who inspire me which I have included and maintain in my blog of “Inspiring Artists to Watch”.

Which one of your photographs is your favourite?

“Sun Sweet” was my first great hummingbird shot. A Ruby-Throated hummingbird in flight, hovering over a pink zinnia flower is my all-time personal favorite. It signifies the challenge I had to overcome. I practiced for two years before I finally captured this photograph that I was really pleased with.

Do you think Smartphone cameras will change the whole world of photography?

No, any camera can be used to take a great photo. What really makes a difference is the person behind the camera.

Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?

I have exhibited my work at many business within the local community. Awards and publications are listed at the bottom of my bio page which can be found on my website www.rollosphotos.com.

On A Wing And A Prayer  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
On A Wing And A Prayer – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What are your plans for the future? exhibitions etc?

No exhibits are currently scheduled. Any future announcements will be posted to my website. In terms of my photography and art, I plan to become better at it, practicing each day, always striving to produce memorable, striking images, while teaching people about my subjects and to be more sensitive to our environment. In terms of life in general, when my husband retires we plan to travel to the western U.S. We would like to spend time in the state of Washington and Alaska.

What advice do you have for budding photographers?

Read the camera manual play with all the different settings! Look at lots of photographs which you find appealing, avoid frustration, keep practicing! When you do get frustrated, think of all the great inventors and artists in the world who never gave up even though they were ridiculed for perceiving the world differently.

Have you done any courses to help you?

No, I am self-taught.

What do you do to market your work?

Social networking, some exhibits, but mostly word of mouth. I speak to people face to face and online about my work every day. I let them know that I’m a photographer with fine art for sale. I provide them with a business card and web address. People who see and enjoy my work buy.

Do you enter your work in contests?

Yes but only for fun and the purpose of learning.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/rollosphotos
Google+ http://gplus.to/christinarollo
Twitter https://twitter.com/ChristinaRollo
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/rollosphotos/

Just Looking  - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Just Looking – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Are you available for work (commissions)?

Yes, I am often asked to take photos for various reasons. Some of which include, pets, sports, portraits, landscapes and special projects. I answer all inquiries as needed.

Have you got hobbies?

Exploring nature and identifying species, walking, hiking and exploring with our two dogs, working outdoors maintaining trails and landscape on our 9 acre woodlot, gardening, web design. Photography ties in
nicely with all of my hobbies.

Where are you based?

Castle Creek, New York located between Binghamton and Syracuse. The best way to contact me is through email using the contact form on my website www.rollosphotos.com/contact or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/rollochr.

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