People have asked me who and/or what motivated me to get into photography as well as what got me started to put together my photography website as well as my blog.  The first part of this topic will be about the people that have influenced me to get into photography.  The second part of the topic will be about my photography website and blog.

There are several people that have influenced me greatly.  I think it might have all started when I was in Waikiki taking a vacation and I was window shopping along the main strip there heading towards the Hilton.  I saw this great sunset picture where the sky had a purple hue, the ocean was reflecting that purple color, and of course there was the signature palm tree in the fore ground.   The picture must have been at least 45-60 inches wide.  I was amazed to say the least.  The gallery the picture was displayed in belonged to Mr. Peter Lik, Master Photographer.  Peter Lik, Master PhotographerPeter Lik has a bunch of galleries in the islands of Hawaii, as well as Las Vegas, Nevada.  Every time I go into his galleries, even to this day, I am truly mesmerized by the vibrant colors in his photographic art as well as I really love the panoramic sizes.  I forget the name of the print I fell in love with, but it was #19 of 20!!!  At the time I had no clue what something might cost at Mr. Lik’s caliber, so I asked.  The sales representative said, “$16000.00!”  “Whoa!,” I said. “Thank you for your time.  Even though the photograph is wonderful, unfortunately it is something that I cannot afford at this time.” At the same time I was thinking and asking myself if can do this for 10% of the cost.  Yeah right!  Mr. Peter Lik is a Master Photographer.   He’s an expert at what he does.  It is my dream to even do 10% of his quality of work.  One day.  I can only keep trying.

He has motivated me and influenced me to get into photography so that I may create some photographs that I can truly call art in one form or another.  The vivid colors he captures has also influenced my work.  I love the color he captures and how they can compliment each other.

After the emotional let down that I couldn’t purchase something so esthetically pleasing, I truly decided to see what it takes for me to start taking better pictures.  This comes to my second person that I owe for getting me into photography.  My old car buddy, Mr. David Kim (DKSF).  I would have long listening conversations with DK on the drive back home from work.  He always starts out with, “You know what you gotta do…”  I ran by him my dilema at the time whether I should stay with Nikon or switch to Canon.  In the end Canon didn’t have anything new and Nikon had release their D300 dSLR camera about 6 months prior.  I bought the D300 and I absolutely loved the camera (for about 6 months time–short lived).  After taking a lot of pictures in 2008, I figured I wanted a full frame sensor; enter the D700.  It is very similar to the D300, but is full frame.  Wide is wide!  DK has given me a lot of advice about photography as well as post processing and monitor calibration.  We recently have been discussing Lightroom3’s processing power vs. Nikon’s View NX2.  It is good to listen to someone who has a lot of experience and to learn from.  I’ve incorporated some of his techniques into my post processing routine.

My son, Matthew, motivated me when he was born in April 2008.  I wanted to make sure I took great pictures of my son and my family so I could cherish them forever, and of course share with him, family, and friends.  He actually is already trying to take pictures and at times I am truly amazed.  It is cool to see what he takes from his height and perspective.  Since he is so active and it is hard to keep him in one place or let alone sit still for me,  taking pictures of him can be tough at times.  As many of you with young children may already know, immediately once you take a digital picture, they automatically want to see it.  They will never know the patience it takes when developing film.

An avid photographer and photoshop guru that has helped me in many ways, and who is THE man for National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), is Mr. Scott Kelby.  I’ve bought a few of his best selling books: The Adobe Lightroom 3 book for Digital Photographers (Voices that Matter) and The Adobe Photoshop CS5 book for Digital Photographers (Voices that Matter). These two books have been invaluable to me in my pursuit of photographic excellence.  I really like Scott Kelby because his books are easy to read and follow, he is very open about what he does, and he doesn’t mind sharing some camera settings and tips to help people like me take better photographs.  His blog is here: Scott Kelby Blog.  Scott’s entire group, including Matt KloskowskiRC Concepcion, and others have all been a great resource and help to get my photography to what it is today.

Last but not least is my wife, Julie.  She has been a great supporter of my photography passion and I do thank her very much.  She also has been very understanding when I do get the itch to go do some photography.  Without her encouragement, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.  Thanks, babe!

Stay tuned for Part II: Factors that Motivated Me to Start My Photography Website and Blog.

-Greg Chong

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