Rachel Bellinsky is a nature photographer who loves to shoot anything she finds interesting. She tells us that most of the best pictures she had shot over the years are sweet accidents. Often shooting stuff in her neighborhood, her pictures show us a beautiful feeling of spring with a touch of hope. You will love her style of photography and her straightforward answers are fun too. Let’s get more from Rachel herself.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Rachel Bellinsky and I am a photographer and graphic designer from Las Vegas, Nevada.
How would you describe your style of photography & how did photography happen to you in the first place?
I take pictures of stuff I pass while I’m out walking with my dog, mostly. I look for instances where nature starts to encroach upon the man-made. (it’s best when nature is winning). I got interested in photography about 5 years ago, just as a way to be creative and capture some of the things that I love. Then it slowly started taking over my life. I’ve been a graphic designer for about 18 years, so that gave me a head start in the photo-editing department. I don’t need to tell you how much I love Photoshop.
Most of your nature shots have a particular feel & wonderful essence of calmness to it, few words on it please?
Somebody on Tumblr said this about my photos and I thought she really summed it up: “There is a darkness to it, but also a touch of hope and springtime.” I like that.
A photo right out of the camera is mostly real, and what you do with colors, tones and editing makes that reality better and determines the mood. I like to create scenes that appear just a little more surreal and peaceful than the actual moment, but that is still totally attainable like the place could actually exist, and you think, “I want to go to there.”
Where do you shoot most often & how do you plan stuff?
My favorite place to take photos is anywhere there is a neighborhood that’s been allowed to age a bit and have some character. (That has been a little tricky to find since I moved back to Las Vegas last year.) My best pictures happen on accident, but every now and then I get an idea for something and I try to make it happen. The only time I ever make any serious plans is when I’m shooting people, which doesn’t happen very often. And not every concept I try to execute turns out great, I have a lot of ideas that just don’t work out.
Up until about a year ago, I shot with a Nikon D70, then my best friend arranged for me to get a D4, which is amazing. I used to really love my Nikkor 17-50mm f2.8, but now I mainly shoot with prime lenses (because they are so fast, and the depth of field so much nicer). I have a 35mm 1.4, a 50mm 1.8, and an 85mm 1.4. I just won a 70-300mm Tamron in a photo contest that I haven’t really had a chance to play with yet.
I look at photo blogs until I’m cross eyed. A few of my favorites:
I am also greatly inspired by nature, of course, and an urge to be closer to it.
One greatest achievement & one important lesson you’ve learned being a photographer?
I was really happy when I completed my book of animal portraits, Tails from the Fishbowl, and it was featured on today.com. But I’m still anticipating my greatest achievement.
The most important lesson I’ve learned as a photographer, as it relates to the craft of photography, is to isolate your subject as best you can, and don’t over-process your photos (which I am quite guilty of!) As it applies to life, I have no idea. I’m sure there is a great photography/life metaphor that I will think of three weeks from now. The only thing I can think of right now is that I’ve learned people don’t like you snooping around in their shrubbery, shooting their cats and their roses. : )
Your future goals?
My only goal is to get better at taking pictures and to get out into the world and visit more interesting places. Also to stop worrying so much. And to eat more vegetables.
Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity with 121clicks.com. Any final thoughts for aspirants in this field?
Thank you so much for talking to me! My advice to anyone pursuing anything creative: If the work of creating feels like play, you are on the right path. Have fun, and do it without apology.
You can find Rachel Bellinsky on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Rachel Bellinsky. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.