December Artist Spotlight: Karin Burbridge

When one of our admin team nominated Karin Burbridge for the artist spotlight, I was delighted. Karin's work is whimsical and fun, with lots of color and movement. She uses light in such a beautiful way, as you will see below. In addition to her work, she is also a supportive member of our group and I have enjoyed becoming one of her IG friends this year. You will not be disappointed by following her and engaging with her. Her work is stunning and she's a beautiful light as well.

p.s. Karin won 4th place in the Documentary category in Voice 2021 competition. Over 400, 000 images were submitted!!!

Tell us a little bit about your photographic journey.

I can’t remember a time when photography was not a part of my life. Whether being photographed or taking photos of family members, landscapes, or cityscapes while traveling, photography has always been present. It was during my fourth year in university that I truly began to appreciate photography as an art form. Although I was a French Literature major, I managed to complete all my elective credits by taking photography courses.

When I became a mother, photography gained an increasing importance in my life. As a military family, we are always separated from our extended family. Photographing my children to document and share their daily milestones became a noteworthy activity that has kept us all connected and close to one another.

“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart.

It’s a way of life.” – Henri Cartier Besson

Looking back on my eight years of motherhood, I realize it is the process of creating photographs to document my life that has kept me motivated to explore new techniques, and has challenged me towards becoming better at this artform. It is a creative outlet that gives me focus and more purpose. I love being a photographer.

1/125 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400

Tell us a bit about your style.

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like” ~ David Alan Harvey

I admit that my style is a work in progress with an evolving portfolio of images. I enjoy experimenting with new techniques, and I like to be challenged by what I don’t know and by what spark my interest. I have always liked to document and write. I’d like to think my photography style is highly influenced by that in the sense that it serves to preserve a feeling and share a story. I’d like my photographs to connect the viewer to a very precise moment. For this reason, I tend to lean towards images that are atmospheric and documentary in impression. At times, I will photograph with an editorial documentary style. At other times I enjoy a more controlled environment to create what I envision.

What gear do you use?

Nikon D750

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

Helios 44-2M/58mm F/2

Godox AD100Pro and I have experimented with a variety of light modifier

1/200sec at f/22, ISO 250

What’s your go to lens and why?

I most often shoot with my Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8. As we travel a lot as a family, I tend to document a lot of wider scenes including street scenes and landscapes. This lens is robustly weather sealed for using outdoors and is the most versatile, eliminating the need to change lenses while on the go. The zoom allows me to document close-ups of my children as well as include their surrounding environment with the wide-angle option, whether indoors or outdoors.

1/125 sec at f/4.0, ISO 100

I often have my 50mm f/1.8 on my camera. It works well with the type of low-light setting in my current house. I’ve learned a lot from this lens and have become quite attached to it. I also often use it for shooting portraits.

1/250 sec at f/4.0, ISO 100

Who and what inspires you?

I am strongly inspired by my environment. We relocate frequently as a military family, changing provinces or even country. We experience different types of winters and summers, encountering a variety of landscapes and cityscapes. I often explore the outdoors with my children and we discover local fauna and flora. I am nostalgically acquainted with the fact that the most enjoyable places and moments are always fleeting. We are residents here one day and there the next. With a fresh pair of eyes, I am invigorated at each relocation to photograph all of it.

1/160sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

The enthusiasm of my eight-year-old son and four-year-old daughter to discover their new home base is to me an immense source of inspiration. They remind me of the excitement of my own childhood, which also required constant relocation. They inspire me to create new lasting memories.

1/200 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1250

1/125 sec at f/4.5, IS0 1600 with OCF

What tips do you have for shooting with artificial light?

Shooting in artificial light does not require owning a lot of expensive gear or a perfect studio set-up. Our daily environment provides a variety of light sources to experiment with. They often go unnoticed. Some examples are a computer screen, an adjacent bedroom light shining into the hallway, a desk lamp, a smartphone in a dark space, a car headlight shining through a window, a street light, and the list goes on.

Artificial light sources can strongly influence the mood in your storytelling. A dim lampshade next to an armchair depicts a specific ambience and lights your subject in a unique way. Document that moment just as it is. There is no such thing as bad light, although there are always methods to modify the light we must work with. This usually will include assessing the placement and distance of the light from your subject, as well as working with its intensity and temperature.

Don’t hesitate to supplement your natural light with an off-camera flash (OCF). It can enhance a natural light source and it will also freeze motion for a more artistic capture. For example, when you see a pocket of light shining through, place your subject in that light, place your OCF (plus a color gel if you want to emphasize mood with colors) in the same direction as your natural light source, and start shooting. OCFs are very affordable. They can be placed anywhere, even on the floor or on top of a bookcase. When shooting with an OCF, I tend to start at 1/8th power. It leaves me room to adjust the flash power by lowering or increasing it as needed.

1/125sec at f/3.5, ISO 100, shot in natural light and complemented with bare off camera flash with orange gel to enhance the mood of the image.

1/200sec at f/5.0, ISO 100. Shot in natural light complemented with bare off camera flash

Some other tips to consider as you experiment: (1) Limit the light source to one source. This will give your more control on your image temperature. (2) Adjust the white balance (WB). I prefer using the Kelvin dial to best represent the temperature of light when shooting indoors. It saves a lot of time when post processing an image. (3) Move the light source around the subject (or vice-versa) to obtain the ideal lighting scenario. (4) Try shooting from different perspectives, whether behind, in front, or above your camera, the light source is your creative asset. (5) Don’t be afraid to increase the ISO. Editing software works wonders in removing grain on your image.

What artificial light image are you most proud of and why?

The artificial light image I am most proud of is a most recent portrait of my four-year-old daughter. She is extremely outgoing and a very fun person to photograph. This portrait truly depicts her personality. From a technical point of view, this portrait is a piece I had envisioned and was able to execute. It is also a beautiful keepsake that I will cherish forever.

1/250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Off camera flash with a softbox

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