Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What kind of mediums do you work with?
Mike Reid: I have been taking photos in one form or another since the mid-1990s. I started out with a basic film camera and moved on to digital with my first Fujifilm camera. It was a 2-megapixel wonder, and I took it all over the world. I still sell prints from it. I have moved along the food chain from Canon to Sony back to Fujifilm's medium format offerings. I still remember my first Contax Zeiss 50mm lens and how it opened up a world of natural colors and detail. I shoot a variety of Zeiss lenses, a few Canon lenses and several Fujifilm medium format lenses. My processing is done in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and everything is backed up on a growing pile of 14tb hard drives and the cloud.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Each month in each season draws me into nature in different directions. There are different places to be to ideally capture what I am after. For example, June is the rose season, and I spend a lot of time in rose gardens. August is a great time for wildflowers in Mount Rainier National Park, so I am down there a lot. International travel is a different set of considerations.
Weather plays a role, of course. I am a bit of a light seeker in that I prefer softer light around dawn and dusk. So it wraps around to being in the right place at the right time with the right gear. Sometimes this is flying, other times a long hike, or even a drive across the state.
Given that I am in the right spot, I look for angles and compositions and set my gear to capture these. Over the years, I have found that I can get what I am after in fewer shots.
Back on my computer, I review and shots and mark those I like with stars to get back to. I try to keep the processing to a minimum and not obsess. I also mark the ones I hope to sell and send them to that website.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
My inspiration is light and how it falls in nature. I am in constant awe of nature's beauty and how light and color play a part in it. Fortunately, I sometimes have my camera with me to capture it. I try to make sure this is more often than not. The internet does a nice job of presenting others' views of light, color and nature and this helps me in the right direction. Photography is a solitary thing to me. I tend to experience capturing what I do alone.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
I shoot a lot of landscapes, botanical abstract/macro, travel and aerials. The landscapes of the Pacific NW are absolutely stunning, and there is so much beauty close by and within hiking distance. Weather and the potential for atmospheric drama at sunrise and sunset dictate the directions I go here. I guess I am a bit weather obsessed, trying to figure out where to be and when. I love to be around Mount Baker or Mount Rainier at all times of the year. I spend all year capturing Seattle and its various moods.
Flowers, leaves and other close-ups are a year-round thing for me. I wait for dahlia and rose season, the turning of maple leaves, and all the colors and patterns. I capture these with fast prime lenses, which choose a focal point and let everything else turn to painterly blur beyond.
I am fortunate to travel a bit for other work and try to capture the local landscape as I would back home. Iceland is a current favorite. I really enjoyed South Africa, Namibia and Rome as well.
Spending some time in a helicopter introduced me to the aerial perspective around the Northwest. It's a unique view I am particularly drawn to. I get in a helicopter whenever I can and also use two photography drones to get a similar, but closer to the ground, view.
Do you have one piece that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Hard to say, of course, because there are so many memories. I like the leaf sitting in the dark water for its simplicity and timing. I like the pink flower because it's so painterly. Anything of Seattle because it's my hometown. The Enchantments images because it's such a hike to get up in there.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I was always more into art class than anything else. I painted for a while, drew, did mosaics. Photography came later and is compelling in so many ways. The gear, the light, nature, how people see things. It all comes together. I now see things that I didn't pay much attention to in my 20s. I'm fortunate to be able to focus on it. I could have chosen the traditional life and made art secondary. I made it primary and enjoy that every day.
If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
My website, www.mikereidphotography.com, and Twitter @seatownnative are probably the best. My e-commerce site is email@example.com. Not showing anywhere currently.
What is next for you? Anything you are working on right now that you're really excited about?
Tulip season is coming up, and the amount of snow in the mountains is really beautiful. I am enjoying working with the drones in the backcountry as well. I booked a trip to Iceland in June, but who knows if we will be traveling by then.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
Several triple tall mochas a day.