Interview with Zulu42!


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Sep 2, 2003
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In the mental ward of this forum
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Welcome to another TPF Member Spotlight!

This forum is designed, quite simply, to showcase our members. It’s not meant to be a pretentious show, or make anyone feel self-conscious about their work style or artistic preferences. These interviews are casual chats just to get to know each other better - a celebration of our wide, diverse group of photographers who, despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, all come to TPF because of a shared love for photography.

TPF is a wonderful community and it’s worthwhile to shine the spotlight on our members. This means YOU, reading this – don’t be surprised if you hear from us asking for an interview!

Remember, each interview segment will be left open like a regular thread, so you can ask your own questions or comment on things you may have learned. This is our new way to highlight the skill sets and display the unique styles of our wonderful community.


Now, onto our interview – member Zulu42!

So, Zulu, let’s start with your background in photography – what got you interested?

Early on, it was grandpa's family slide shows and super 8 movies I enjoyed. He gave me an old Brownie Target and I've always had a camera since then. A roommate had an early version of Photoshop - must have been the early '90s. It was inspiring, even though I wouldn't get a digital camera for another 10 years. My real obsessive push didn't come until around 2010 when photography became my main creative outlet.

Zulu42 1 of 5.jpg

"This was one of my first planned ICM images. I got up early to get the high contrast sun behind the treeline in order to create the vivid swirl. A favorite because it represents my learning to use the camera as a tool beyond standard photographs."

Tell us about your current gear set up. Do you have a favorite kit you turn to, or do you like to mix things up?

Gear is just one digital body, Nikon D800. My most used lens is a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro. I use it for people, pets, landscape, flowers, macro, even birds. I have a Tamron 150-600 G2 - mostly for wildlife. A Nikon 18-35 and a 50mm 1.8 fill out the lens bag. I also love my two cheap speedlights, a couple modifiers and trigger. I have an 8 stop ND filter, a CPL filter, as well as a graduated ND and some color and effect filters.

I use the Adobe subscription plan with about 80% of editing done in LR, sometimes PS for special needs or just fun. Although I don't make much content change to my images, the editing at home is half the pleasure to me. I can spend ten minutes contemplating changing the angle of a crop by one degree.

I also have an assortment of manual 35mm cameras. I like to tinker with them - load them up with film and take a slow approach to shooting. Funny thing is - I hardly ever develop the film.

How often are you able to get out and shoot?

I almost always have my camera with me, but life is busy and time to focus just on shooting is pretty rare.

Is there a special type of photography you like to shoot – landscape, portrait, street? Why do you suppose you are drawn to it?

Not really a specialty by desire. My subjects tend to be the things that surround me, rather than things I seek. If that makes any sense...

My goal is to be proficient enough to see and capture shots of many different types. Those who specialize may take it to another level, but sometimes I see the way light is pleasant around any subject, person, place, thing, and I hope to capture something of the moment.

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"I have to include at least one birding shot. Just a fun and educational hobby and what an exhilarating day when I came face to face with this juvenile great horned owl."

What’s your favorite time of day to shoot? How come?

Outdoors, morning and evening light are the best, naturally, but whenever inspiration and free time overlap - I make an image.

Zulu42 3 of 5.jpg

"I might have gone overboard with long exposure water shots for a while, but this is one of my favorites. I only have a few prints hanging, and this looks really nice in 20x30."

If there were a single place in the world you could visit to go photograph to your heart’s content for a month, where would it be? Why this place?

New York City for sure, or maybe Paris. No, wait - Alaska or an African Safari! I would love a month to shoot with no obligations. I think I'd be just as happy in my local area. Maybe find a small alpine lake and make 30 views in 30 days. I once spent a few months on one particularly difficult flower.

Zulu42 4 of 5.jpg

"I spend quite a bit of time photographing flowers. The whole process from growing the flowers to editing the shots is relaxing and therapeutic for me. This tulip was growing out in the backyard. I shot this at night looking straight down. With the camera in my right hand, a speedlight/bounce in my left and a reflector bowed between my knees- I must have looked ridiculous!"

To date, what do you believe to be your most satisfying accomplishment? (This could be of a personal or professional nature.) Tell us why it strikes you as the most satisfying.

Photographically, there was a moment a while back. I was shooting a fork for a Black and White challenge. It was a table top setup, with two speedlights. I set up the lights, estimating the location and distance for the shadows I wanted, then making a guess at the power level needed for the aperture value I wanted to use. I took a test shot and it was just what I wanted. It felt satisfying to pull the memory card out after one click.

Outside of photography, what do you do for fun and adventure? In a similar note, do you have an artistic hobby outside of photography?

My wife and I work a lot, then we love to spend time with family, in the outdoors, or spoiling our pets.

I grew up in a musical family and learned to play guitar and a few other instruments. I did music as a side gig for many years, until I developed a nerve problem in my neck that caused the loss of strength in my left hand. The good news is that's when I really pursued my love of photography. The better news is I recently got surgery in my neck that has given me improved use of my hand, so I might be playing music again one day also.

Ah, a musician! Do you play other instruments in addition to the guitar? Do you have a favorite type of music?

I also play bass and steel guitar, mandolin, and some piano/keyboards. In college I studied jazz music and recording. In the recording studio world, I witnessed the transition from analog to digital, and the de-valuation of professional recording studios. It very, very much paralleled the photography industry.

Zulu42 5 of 5.jpg

"I love nature and landscapes are an always-willing subject. I like what happens sometimes when you reduce the world to 2D."

Back to photography - do you have a favorite photographer whose work you admire? Living or dead, doesn't matter. Tell us why this person's work appeals to you.

I'm guilty of being a very poor student of photography. I've watched a few documentaries and such, and always explore/dissect any photo I find intriguing, but no. I don't have a favorite of any notoriety. I mention Victor Cobo when I can, because I went to school with him and he went the crazy, artsy photographer route. I love and appreciate many famous artists, but when I thought about your question, I realized I'd be quicker to name many of those on this forum. People who, by sharing images, show their personality or passion.

That's a great answer.

Thanks so much for participating, Zulu! Fun interview!

Reminder: we’re encouraging our TPF members to also participate! If you have any comments or questions for Zulu42, by all means, take it from here!
Interesting read.
great reading .. very interesting.. thank you
Nice insights and an interesting read.
Interesting read.

Great work!
Loved the interview. I first viewed this on my phone and the first shot was interesting, but looks so much better on the desktop PC. I can see the little movement swirls.
It is interesting that you shoot film yet do not develop. Is it more the joy of shooting than viewing?

The owl shot is excellent.

Glad your hand is better! Hopefully playing music will back in your life soon.
Glad to hear the hand is getting better, Zulu. Build those calluses up on the fingers!
Thanks Dean. I've been playing music a lot. I picked up a guitar in early January, and it has been a personal miracle for me. I can play again, but I even have better hand control than I did when I was playing actively 10 or even 15 years ago.

It is interesting that you shoot film yet do not develop. Is it more the joy of shooting than viewing?
That's it, pretty much. Thanks for asking. I will develop someday. It will be fun to send a bag of film off. Or maybe I'll try home developing. I just like the mechanics of film shooting. Metering, focusing, winding the film. Often I have digital, too, and can see a similar image.
Cool. Like the one shot, pull the card out.
What a great interview! Beautiful photos too. I love that you’re into many types of photography. NYC, Paris, Alaska, safari... any or all!

ps - That 105 2.8 is a fabulous lens and the only thing I miss about Nikon!
I'm fond of Mr. Zulu's body of work. A multi dimensional artist.

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