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Portrait or Personal Image - Deborah Sandidge Deborah Sandidge

Following her formal study of art and photography at the University of South Florida, Deborah Sandidge began dedicating her time to the art of digital photography, establishing a name for herself as a leading infrared photographer. Deborah, who is the author of the book, Digital Infrared Photography, teaches an excellent 4-week online photo course right here at Digital Infrared Photography

What influenced you to become a photographer?
Since childhood I have always been involved with art in one form or another. I studied art formally, and I enjoyed drawing, painting, pottery, and working with stained glass.  I started with black and white photography and really enjoyed developing film in the darkroom because it required both technical and creative skills. As digital SLR’s became mainstream, it allowed me to experiment more freely with creative techniques and shoot many images, without the limitations of film processing, quickening the learning curve. Going digital also enhanced my creative opportunities, which was a real motivation for me.

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
With every subject I ask myself:  "What happens if?"  I enjoy creating an image by shooting a subject in different ways—such as varied angles, color versus infrared, single exposure, multiple exposure, and using different lenses. I also like to think ahead when I take a photograph, and discover how I can take it to the next level after capture. For me, clicking the shutter is only a start, just as fulfilling is finding out “what happens if” in the digital darkroom. Working in Photoshop makes me feel like an artist.

Do you have a specialized interest?
Actually, I have many interests that inspire me. I especially enjoy wildlife and landscapes, but I love anything new and different. I had the best time photographing vintage cars in HDR, and equally enjoyed exploring how to make them look luscious in Photoshop.  Also, shooting in infrared is a passion. It makes me consider a subject differently. It’s fascinating to me that there is invisible light—infrared light that exists beyond the visible spectrum. I can’t see it with my own eyes, but my camera can record it with the use of an infrared filter. It’s surreal, artistic and helps me fulfill my need to be creative, plus it's just fun!

 What has been your most significant professional accomplishment?
I recently completed my first book titled Digital Infrared Photography, published by Wiley. The book required about a year to complete, from pitching the idea to the editors, to having it go to press. At first, the task seemed daunting, however, it turned out to be one of the most personally rewarding things I have ever done. I learned much through the process of writing, not just about the book, but also about myself.

What are your short term and long term goals?
One of my goals over the past few years was to become an instructor with BetterPhoto, it’s something I always wanted to do. I had the opportunity to meet Jim Moitke a few years ago, and I was very impressed with his accomplishments encompassing the BetterPhoto community. As an instructor, I want to share my enthusiasm and what I’ve learned about infrared with photographers that want to expand their horizons, skills, and make available another artistic outlet beyond traditional photography. My long term goal is to continue to share my experiences with others through fun and creative workshops, classes, travel and write another book.

What role did BP play in your career?
BetterPhoto creates an environment where the beginner to the expert can always be improving their skills. Digital photography is ever changing, and there is always something new to explore.

I took courses to stretch myself, and learn from many of the best photographers in the nation. These classes also served as inspiration and validation to me that I was in the right vocation. I love what I do!

What are your favorite places to travel?
I like traveling to learn about different cultures and to experience how incredibly diverse the world is.

Namibia is fascinating, from the incredible beauty of the Sossusvlei dunes—to the remote tribes of the Himba people. The charm of Europe’s historic towns and unique architecture excites any photographer. I especially enjoy our national parks, with their endless supply of inspiring photographic opportunities.

I like unknown destinations, so my favorite places might be where I have never been!

What do you carry in your camera bag?
Nikon D3
Nikon D2x
Nikon D200 infrared converted
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Nikon105mm f/2.8
Nikon10.5mm f2.8 fisheye
SB-800 Speedlight
Singh-Ray polarizer
Singh-Ray variable neutral density filter

The lenses I reach for most often are the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, the Nikon 70-200mm f /2.8. I love the D3/24-70mm combination; it’s perfect for so many things. The 70-200mm is such a versatile lens. I use it for bird photography, creative work, and even with extension tubes for close-ups. I really like the 14-24mm wide angle, it’s great with everything from landscapes to antique cars. I also use the Nikon 70-300mm, which is perfect for travel, very lightweight and has Vibration Reduction, a great feature.

What is the best photographic advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was to step outside of my comfort zone and strive to work in new directions by experimenting technically and creatively.

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