As the leaves start falling and the change of seasons presents with a stunning array of autumn colors, we are always pulled to the beautiful landscape photography that captures this time of year. At Zenfolio, it is our privilege to support some incredible photographers as they pursue their art and develop their businesses. Today, we are shining the spotlight on hobbyist photographer Stephen Beckwith and his website, Scenes of Maine Photography. His portfolio is full of poignant captures of the incredible landscapes to be found all over Maine. We were pleased to be able to take some time to hear his thoughts on his work and process.
1) Tell us a little about Scenes of Maine Photography. What does your work entail and what has been most challenging for you?
I started shooting landscapes when my wife and I moved to the small western Maine town of Harrison. It seemed like there was a beautiful scene to capture around every corner. Even though I have a full-time job that has nothing to do with photography, I wanted to share the beauty of western Maine with people, so Scenes of Maine Photography was born. I spend my weekends planning and shooting landscapes, mostly in the form of sunrises and sunsets. Probably the biggest challenge I face is as simple as deciding where to go. Not from a lack of wonderful scenes to capture; on the contrary, I often wish I could be in many places at once with my camera.
2) You mostly shoot landscapes and outdoor scenes. What inspired you to begin this style of photography, and how do you choose your subjects?
Growing up in Maine, my family used to go camping quite a bit. As an adult, I have continued to do so. I love getting away from the usual stresses and strains of everyday life to enjoy the peace, quiet, and tranquility that can come from being out in the woods, small ponds, and lakes of Maine. The change of colors in the fall, the sound of loons on a small pond, the beauty of absolute quietness that a remote location can bring, and even the stark nature of winter can be very soothing and therapeutic for me. I will find scenes that are good for sunrises and other scenes that are good for sunsets and use this to help me determine where to go when I go out to shoot.
3) What have been some of the most joyful or unexpected moments in pursuit of your photography?
Most of the time when I shoot in western Maine, I am the only photographer around, which I enjoy very much. However, I also shoot coastal scenes, particularly the many lighthouses that Maine has to offer. When I go on these photo shoots, I hardly ever have the place to myself, but I have learned to embrace this and enjoy meeting people with a similar passion for capturing the stunning Maine coast. We tend to be like-minded in that respect. To be standing on the rocks at Portland Head Light next to someone else who may have gotten up long before the sunrise just to arrive there early enough to capture it, there is usually an instant bond and respect forged due to what it takes to get out there so early.
4) What has been your favorite place or type of scene to shoot? What spot would you suggest to other photographers?
Dawn and dusk have always been my two favorite times of the day, long before I picked up a camera. The transition of light from day to night can bring about amazing colors, hues, and brilliance… all naturally born from the wonders of a rising or setting sun. The advice that I would give other photographers is an old axiom I learned long ago about writing: write what you know. So for a beginning photographer, I would say start out shooting what you love. You know what scenes have caught your eye, so concentrate on places you find beautiful, not worrying about whether or not other people may find them beautiful. Your passion for a scene will come through your lens, and you may just open up other people to beauty that perhaps only you see.