We are excited to add another female contributor to our team and this time I am happy to introduce you to Elizabeth Gray, our previous Photo Spot contest winner! Elizabeth expressed interest in joining our team and writing some killer articles for our readers (have you seen her first article on choosing and preparing for a photo tour?), so I am really happy to make this announcement! Please give a warm welcome to Elizabeth Gray! Check out her intro post below, along with her beautiful and lively images.
Hi everyone, I’m Elizabeth Gray, and I am truly excited about becoming a contributor for Photography Life. I have followed the site for several years, and am thrilled to be part of such a wonderful wealth of photographic knowledge. A special thank you to Nasim for inviting me to become part of the team.
I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. As a west-coaster, I love nature and the outdoors. Wildlife, hiking, and camping are in my blood. Three years ago my husband’s job moved us to Houston, Texas! A big change from Vancouver! Our university aged daughters and two cats stayed in Vancouver. I gave up my job of twenty years, teaching calculus and geometry at a local college, and we were off.
I knew that it would be hard to continue my post secondary teaching career in the U.S., so I took a risk. I decided to combine my passion for teaching and my love of photography. After settling into our new city, I signed up for an online website design course aimed at photographers. I created my website (photographybyelizabethgray.com) and started to advertise private photography instruction. I felt so fortunate to be able to teach photography. Between clients, I jumped at the opportunity to photograph the sites around Houston. Contrary to what some may think, Houston is a vibrant multicultural city. It has wonderful parks, museums and people.
We spent two years in Houston. During that time I was lucky enough to photograph in Galveston, Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande Valley, Austin and the Hill Country around Fredericksburg. The landscapes, wildlife and architecture were very different from what I was used to in Vancouver. It was a wonderful experience.
Just over a year ago, we moved again. We are now living in Gautier, Mississippi, a small town on the Gulf of Mexico. Southern Mississippi is another wonderful place to photograph. We have the most incredible sunsets here on the Gulf, and breath-taking storms. Luckily we haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a hurricane. Fingers crossed that we miss that opportunity! I love exploring the cypress swamps, bayous and coast.
I often get asked if I miss the beauty of the West Coast of Canada. Each of the areas we have been lucky enough to live in, have a beauty of their own. You cannot compare the coastal mountains to the Rio Grande, or the Pacific to the Gulf. Just like you can’t compare your children; each has its own unique features and personality. I have tried to convey each area’s personalities in my photography.
I became interested in photography in eighth grade, when my uncle showed me his collection of antique cameras. Shortly after that I got my first SLR, a Canon A-1 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I loved that camera! I used it for almost 30 years (you can’t say that about digital). I took pictures for the yearbook in high school, and belonged to the university camera club while I studied Structural Engineering at the University of British Columbia.
However, like many young photographers, I pushed photography to the side when marriage, kids and a job started to fill up my life. I never completely put down my camera though. I continued to take pictures during our vacations, at the kids sporting events and at family gatherings.
I was a late adaptor of digital, not switching over from my A-1 until 2005. I wasn’t convinced digital would stick around! I guess I got that one wrong! My first digital camera was a Panasonic DMZ-20. It had a Leica-branded lens with a huge 12X optical zoom and a 5MP sensor. At that time, I just couldn’t justify spending almost $1000 on an entry level DSLR. It was a great introduction to digital, but I couldn’t stand the shutter lag! A few years later I bit the bullet, buying my first Nikon DSLR. I haven’t looked back. I currently shoot with a D800, with a D7000 as my backup.
I don’t consider myself a specialist in any one area of photography. I love shooting wildlife, particularly birds. And of course, nature and landscapes make up a large portion of my portfolio. My background in Structural Engineering draws me to architecture as well. I also love creating black and white images. There is something very powerful about an image that is devoid of colour, with only shapes, lines and tones to convey its message.
My photography continues to evolve as I learn more, and there is always more to absorb! Nasim and others here at Photography Life have created an incredible environment for photographers of all levels to learn. Teaching and photography is a huge part of who I am. I hope that my pictures and writings will inspire and educate readers here at Photography Life, especially new photographers just starting out on their own photographic journey.
Cheers, and keep shooting!