Lani Barbitta- www.flickr.com/photos/lanibarbitta/
Lani has a style that brings shallow depth of field and interesting subjects together that leaves you thinking “Wow, that is just so cool”. I always find myself waiting to see what Lani will post next.
Enough of my rambling, here is the interview.
1 ) How long have you been interested in photography?
I’ve always been a little curious about photography, but it was only recently that I developed a strong desire to create ‘more than a snapshot’. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with snapping a generic snap shot. I do this on a consistent basis! However, I wanted to raise the bar a little bit for myself.
2 ) What got you started in photography?
My dang co-worker Hawk! He convinced me to open a flickr account at the tail end of 2006. Ever since then it’s been the battle of the dueling cameras, each trying to out do the other! Hahaha!! No really, it was the viewing of all the amazing images, taken by photographers whom I found on flickr, and realizing that I, too, could try to create the same caliber of images.
3 ) Do you have any photographers who’s work you admire?
Good question. I’ve recently found Henri Cartier-Bresson to be an inspiration. I love how he captures that definitive moment in his images. His quote, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” speaks volumes to me. I’m there. I don’t quite ‘like’ my images yet. I’ve been shooting for three years steady, so in a few more years, I’ll discover that I will actually like the images I produce! I also admire Robert Mapplethorpe for his edginess and strength for photographing and publishing images he feels so strongly about.
4 ) What inspires you to make photographs?
When I started flickr, I partook in a ‘project 365’, which entailed taking and posting one image a day for a year, all in the attempts of honing one’s photography skills. It proved to be a challenging endeavor and I dropped out of the project. I like the less demanding, non structured way of doing my own thing, so I continue in the vein of project 365, but instead of the emphasis of taking one image a day to post, I’ve built up a little repository of images that I ‘perfect’ using Photoshop, posting one of those each day. I found that I really do enjoy the post processing part. It can be quite addictive.
5 ) Do you have a specific style that you like to shoot? Such as portraits, fine art, photojournalism etc.
Jeez, my photography style right now seems so eclectic and vast…I think my style is still evolving. Nonetheless, I try to challenge myself to visualize the ‘essence’ of what I’m photographing. Such as, what makes it unique, what gives it purpose, trying all the while to convey this into an image.
6 ) What is your favorite photographic subject?
Lately, that subject would be anything I can shoot close-up using the 50mm 1.8 lens. I love getting that creamy, shallow depth of field effect. In fact, that sometimes is my subject!
7 ) What gear do you shoot with?
Now Chris, you’re getting kinda personal here! But since I like ya, I’ll tell ya. I shoot with a Nikon body with various lenses. My kit at the moment contains:
AF-S Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF DX VR
Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D AF
Nikkor 60mm 1:2.8D AF Micro
Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM
Sigma 30mm 1:1.4 DC HSM
Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 APO DG (macro/telephoto)
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Autofocus Lens SB-800 AF Speedlight from Nikon
FinePix F50 SE
and one el cheapo tripod!
I like to shoot in raw format and post process using Photoshop CS4. I post process everything in Photoshop. That’s the Maybelline for my photos.
8 ) What is your favorite lens?
My favorite lens of the moment would be my Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens. Not only is it affordable, it looks cute on the end of my D80. Cuteness is what it’s all about, right? 😉
9 ) Do you shoot in Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Manual?
I do shoot in Manual, but I get really lazy sometimes and end up keeping the camera in Aperture Priority mode. Since I really admire images of the shallow depth of field variety created by using a wider aperture, by shooting in Aperture Priority, this ensures that the images are shot with the aperture I desire. However, if I run into an extremely hard lighting situation I’ll pop that puppy in Priority mode, making the camera choose my aperture and shutter speed.
10 ) Where do you see your photography in 10 years?
Hopefully not stuck in my hard drive located on my computer! Har har. Hmmm…I’d like to have a show room one day where I would showcase more fine art images. I’d also like to venture out and be a wedding photographer with a photojournalistic edge, as well as creating on location natural light portraits for clients.
11 ) Do you have a tip for our readers?
Don’t give up on your photography. It’s so easy to get frustrated with your growth level or lack of growth. Just keep on going, keep on pushing that shutter button. (I’m in love with that shutter sound. It’s music to my ears!) Get/Borrow/Buy Bryan Peterson’s book entitled “Understanding Exposure”. It will change your life! Erm, it will give you a clear understanding of how to meter your camera for those hard to get exposures. Of course, I had to read it five times before it all started to sink in. Now, that’s not Mr. Peterson’s fault. It’s the fault of my extremely thick non-information absorbing skull.
12 )Do you have a favorite photo of yours that you would like to share with us?
I shot this image with the Sigma 30mm 1.4. I adore the shallow dof and how the wrought iron fence just leads the eye. I think the beauty of the shot comes from the golden hues caught on that clear, crisp, fall day.
Thank you very much Lani.
I highly recommend everyone take some time to look at Lani’s photos. Especailly her Bokeh and dof (Shallow) sets. I’m sure you will enjoy them as much as I.