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Photographer of the Week: Nancy Bray

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  August 11, 2008 07:00 AM

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Marigold, Rear View by Nancy Bray

By Nancy Bray

I enjoy taking photos of many things, but what I find most fascinating is how natural light plays on things and how it can illuminate a subject in a certain way for only a few moments – and then change completely.

Misty Sunrise Revisited by Nancy Bray

Egg by Nancy Bray

Boat Bow by Nancy Bray

The Zakim by Nancy Bray

Leaf, Morning Light by Nancy Bray

Descending the Light by Nancy Bray

Morning Light, Horse by Nancy Bray

Snowmobiling the Frozen Lake by Nancy Bray

Lock and shadow by Nancy Bray

Out the Mill Window by Nancy Bray

Kickin' Back by Nancy Bray

It's interesting to return to the same spot at different times of the year or the day. Last winter, my husband and I enjoyed many early morning outings at sunrise taking pictures – during the winter months, the sun rises so much later so that the "crack of dawn" isn’t quite as early as it would be during the summer. We enjoyed photographing at the Chatham Fish Pier, the end of Tonset Road in Orleans, Rock Harbor in Orleans, the Brewster flats, the herring run in Brewster, the windmill in Orleans, among other local spots.

I have always taken photos. As a Fine Art major and graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, I have always enjoyed art of all kinds. Before I married and moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts, I worked as a display decorator for a large department store. Most recently, I was an audiovisual / multimedia specialist at Weston High School – I videotaped, catalogued, set up sound systems, helped students with video projects, videotaped sporting events and plays, and so forth. I retired from that job in 1999, when we moved to the Cape.

I've always had a good camera, and enjoyed taking pictures. My first camera was a Yashica rangefinder with a fixed lens. During the '70s I shot slides. It’s kind of sad, so many of those pictures are rarely viewed now because of the inconvenience of needing to get out the old slide projector. Digital makes enjoying photographs so much easier!

About four years ago, I scanned more than 1,000 old prints that my mother-in-law had in her collection, including photos from my husband and his six siblings' youth. The photos were being stored in her attic and in danger of being destroyed, so it gave me great satisfaction to rescue them, edit them with Microsoft’s Digital Image Pro, burn multiple copies of them onto CDs, and distribute them to my husband’s entire family. It was a huge job, but it was a worthwhile project and something that I could do to preserve the history of his family.

Several years ago, I became interested in digital scrapbooking and realized that the key ingredient to a good page layout was a good picture. It was then that I became especially interested in making the best possible pictures – not just to record an event, but to create art.

Now my camera is a Canon Rebel XT and I enjoy using Photoshop and some of the available plug-ins – a favorite of mine is NIK Color Efex Pro 3.0. There’s always something new to learn, and the possibilities are endless.

This spring I bought a new Tamron 28-300 mm lens with Vibration Reduction. One great thing about it is that because of the very large range it allows for, I can put it on my camera, go out for the day and never need to change lenses.

I don’t use a lot of filters. I do have a skylight filter on all of my lenses to protect them, and I have used a polarizing filter, but there are so many effects that can be applied in post processing that I haven’t invested in a lot of filters.

For now I’m satisfied with my Canon Rebel XT, but I feel glad to know that any lenses that I buy now, I will be able to use on a newer Canon DSLR when the time comes for me upgrade.

I shoot a lot in RAW format – I haven’t always, but it does make a difference. If my settings are just a little bit off, I have more leeway to fix things when I process them in Photoshop. There is just so much you can do to a RAW file.

I participate in two other photography sites: Better Photo and Digital Scrapbook Place. You can get comments from others, which can really help you improve.


Ed. Note: After viewing Nancy Bray’s photos, you may scratch your head over her desire to improve. Improve what? Nancy likes to shoot photos with her husband Roger, who’s also a member of the Cape Cod Art Association Camera Club. In fact, for the first time, they shot a wedding together recently for someone Roger met through his work as a builder. "It was fun, and I was really pleased with the photos," Nancy said. We’re pretty sure the newlyweds were just as pleased.

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