When I first started out with photography, natural light was my best friend. I didn’t have money for lights, so I learned to shoot using what was available to me. Shoot after shoot, I’d tuck a little money away into a gear fund to save up for lights.  Natural light can get you pretty far, but […]

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A key ingredient to any video project is an interview.  As photographers, adding a talking subject to your next video montage or slideshow takes it to the next level.  It can add a story to your project, and stories are what people want to watch. One of the most common video projects I’m hired to […]

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Meet photographer Scott Jarvie. You can see his prints of Mormon temples in many LDS religious book stores and magazines around the United States. He started out mostly doing wedding photography but this past year has been traveling the United States shooting religious buildings. His most recent book project can be found at Many of us would love […]

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Choosing the right backdrop for a video interview can be tough.  In this tutorial I walk you through choosing a location and what things should be considered. These techniques work for photo shoots as well. This is an excerpt from a full-length class from out partners at The complete course is 2 hours and 28 minutes […]

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Solid interviews are the foundation for a successful video project.  Its important that you capture the voice and the passion for the story you’re trying to tell. I’ve recently completed a new class at that I’m proud of.  It’s one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time to help video makers.  It’s […]

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Alan Murphy is a busy bird photographer. His work has appeared in publications ranging from National Geographic to Bird Watcher’s Digest.

Scott interviewed Alan in early January, 2009.

1 – Scott: Please tell me how and when you got into photography.

Alan: I grew up in England and Ireland and was a bird watcher since age 6 (now 48). I moved to the States in 1984 and although my years of birding helped me a little in identifying North American Birds, it was really like starting all over again. To help speed up the learning process I borrowed an old Minolta camera with a 80-300 MM zoom. I would lay out my prints next to my filed guide and compare filed marks to get a positive ID. It became apparent that my images were horrible. The birds were way too small in the frame, so I bought a bigger lens. I also bought some books on getting closer to wildlife. Next thing I was hooked.

2 – Scott: What is your favorite photographic location or subject?

Alan: My favorite location to shoot is the Upper Texas Coast during Spring migration. I have been shooting migrant songbirds at costal migrant traps for the past 12 years. When the birds make their flight across the Gulf of Mexico they arrive on the Texas Coast in search of food and water. Setting up a drip pond in front of my blind draws many species down to bath and drink. Every hour of the day different species may show up including Tanagers, Orioles, Warblers and Vireos.

3 – Scott: Can you recall the first photograph you made that caused you to think WOW – that’s a good shot and if so, what was it?

Alan: I think this has to be a shot of a Belted Kingfisher with a fish in his mouth. I worked three weeks on setting up the perch in just the right spot for this elusive species. I sat in the blind for many days before the bird took my perch. It all came together one evening with clear light, the bird catching a fish and sitting on the perch with his crest up.

4 – Scott: Do you have any formal training in photography or a related field and do you think that’s important for aspiring serious photographers?

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