Friday, March 13, 2009

Finish the Sentence...with Tim Grey

[tap your feet to the beat of your favorite game show music]
"It's time once again to ask a well-known photographer, instructor or otherwise interesting person the same 10 questions and ask them to Finish the Sentence! This week the sentences are finished by.... Tim Grey.

Tim, please Finish the Sentence..."

My favorite photography accessory (lights, modifier, bag, tripod) is
my Epson P-3000. I love photography, and when I'm traveling or otherwise taking advantage of a photographic opportunity, I take LOTS of pictures. Being able to offload images from my digital media cards to a portable hard drive in the field enables me to re-use my cards and be effectively unlimited in how many images I can capture. When I'm done shooting for the day I can then transfer the images to my laptop and external hard drives (for extended trips) or just keep them on the P-3000 for shorter excursions.

I’ve learned the most from..
spending time with some of the world's best photographers. What I love most about having had this opportunity is picking up tiny nuggets of knowledge that change the way I see the world and photograph my subjects. It has also given me a much better sense of how I should be thinking about the image as I'm optimizing it in Photoshop. Nature photographer George Lepp taught me to really understand my subject and my equipment. Former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones taught me to first and foremost always savor the experience you're having while capturing images. National Geographic photographer Sam Abel taught me to think about both the overall composition as well as all the small details that impact the final photograph. Art Wolfe taught me to look for all the many ways a given subject can be interpreted photographically. The list goes on and on, and I keep adding to that list all the time.

If I could go anywhere in the world it would be_____ because….
If I could go anywhere in the world it would be Antarctica, because I've not yet made it there and the extreme nature of the place fascinates me. The reality is I have a difficult time deciding where I want to go next, because in reality I want to go everywhere. A huge part of photography to me is documenting experiences, but what I'm really after is the experiences themselves. Photography simply helps me remember those great and incredible experiences as time goes on.

My most-used Photoshop add-on, plugin, action set (etc) is
is my own batch of actions I've created to automate tasks I need to perform on many images in my work. I really don't use a lot of creative plug-ins or actions, but when I'm working on a book project or other task involving performing the same tasks on a number of images, actions are invaluable.

I love the fact that Photoshop
is so powerful. I often say that with Photoshop you're only limited by your imagination. Anything you can envision, you can find a way to accomplish in Photoshop. I also love that it (along with digital photography) has made photography so much more accessible to so many photographers. It seems to me that photography has never been so popular, and I think that's a wonderful thing.

I hate the fact that Photoshop
has tainted photography in some ways. The fact that we can exercise so much control over our images has also led many to feel that the final result has been cheapened. Too often the legitimacy of a photographic is questioned. And too often we find a photographic image was used to fool us. Context is the key thing here. Obviously different rules need to apply for photojournalism as compared with fine art photography. But it frustrates me that all photography seems to have fallen into the same bucket, with viewers not as awed by a great photograph today as they were back in the days when film was king (despite all the extreme manipulation that was also often done with film captures in the wet darkroom).

If I could turn back the clock 10 years
I would have done a lot more traveling by now. I didn't see New York City until I was about 30 years old. I didn't go to Europe until I was about 31. The first (and so far only) time I went to Asia I was 34. I finally made it to South Africa this past year, at 35. I've always enjoyed seeing new places, but that didn't involve venturing very far until the last five years. I wish I had started earlier so I would have already seen many more places and had many more great experiences. But I plan to be around for a while, so I'll just keep traveling whenever I can. There isn't any place I'm not interested in seeing (though a few places I'll wait until things calm down or I get more brave before I visit).

In 10 years
I'll still be doing what I love doing most: making photographs, traveling, writing, and teaching. I just don't know the details of what that will entail. What will photography (and videography) look like in 10 years? What will digital imaging look like, or will it have somehow been supplanted by then? What software will be using, or will the notion of software be quaint by then? The only think I know for sure is that the road getting there will be adventurous, and in ten years I'll still be loving what I'm doing.

If I could give one piece of advice it would be
keep learning and having new experiences. I think nothing stimulates our brains more than learning new things and having incredible experiences upon which to build great memories.

Your readers can find out more about me
on my website at, and they can get a peek inside my mind and read my random thoughts about photography and digital imaging on my blog at

Ladies, Gentlemen, let's hear it for Tim Grey!
[music fades. Lights dim. Applause sign flashes. Audience on their feet]
Tim Grey is regarded as one of the top educators in digital photography and imaging, offering clear guidance on complex subjects through his writing and speaking. He loves learning as much as he possibly can about digital imaging, and he loves sharing that information even more.
Tim’s work combines several of his greatest passions: technology, teaching, photography, writing, and travel. All of these have been part of his life in some way for as long as he can remember, and became a major focus starting in high school. He has been focused on digital photography and imaging for over 10 years.

Tim has written more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, including the best-selling Photoshop CS4 Workflow and Take Your Best Shot. He has also had hundreds of articles published in magazines such as Digital Photo Pro, Outdoor Photographer, and PC Photo, among others. He publishes the Digital Darkroom Questions email newsletter, as well as the Digital Darkroom Quarterly print newsletter. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events. He is a member of the Photoshop World Dream Team of Instructors.

With such a busy schedule, Tim doesn't get much time to actually take pictures. He squeezes in as much photography as he can during his business travels, and also takes advantage of every opportunity to photograph near his home in Bellevue, Washington.


Susan said...

Great idea -- inspirational and instructive. Thanks Dave and Tim!

Anonymous said...

I've always enjoyed Tim's instruction and was glad to read his views on the 10 questions. Thanks. Anne

Amy Hickman said...

I am so proud of my brother! Any time I read interviews about you, it reminds me to enjoy my life and take time to take it all in!