Welcome to Jasonian Photography! My name is Jason Vines — hence “Jasonian.” This site features, courtesy of SmugMug, a gallery of my photography to browse and buy. Also, I shall write here a blog showcasing my photographic exploits, pictures from others I find noteworthy, and profiles of other photographers.
I’ll kick off the profiles with one of me.
How did you become interested in photography?
I’m not a born photographer. I found digital photography intriguing in the early 2000’s because I’m a geek, and it was at the time new and exciting technology. But I didn’t get a digital camera until 2004, when out of boredom I bought a wimpy Olympus point-and-shoot from my college bookstore. I didn’t use it much, though, because I found it frustrating to operate, especially with its reliance on traditional batteries that it drank dry faster than a young DC professional does a beer mug.
A couple years later, I replaced the disgraceful Olympus with a point-and-shoot Sony Cybershot. This camera finally had decent photo quality as well as rechargeable lithium batteries. So I used it a lot more often and began to enjoy photography for its own sake. My chief locale of Washington, DC, nurtured my burgeoning hobby with its plethora of photogenic sites.
I puttered around with the Cybershot for a few more years, until a friend suggested I could achieve better results with a DSLR. I held off at first, but eventually I found the P & S too limiting. I wanted to capture sharp and colorful photographs like the best ones I saw on sites like Flickr, but I couldn’t with the Cybershot. So I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D5000, in December 2009.
What kit do you use now?
I wield a Nikon D7000, one of the best cameras ever made, with a 17-55 DX Nikkor on it most of the time. I had primarily used a 16-85 DX Nikkor before early this year, but even though the 17-55 has slightly lesser range, it makes up for that with greater quality and versatility — by which I mean, the 17-55 performs well inside or outside, and its constant aperture of 2.8 suits me better than the variable aperture of the 16-85.
As for software, I use Aperture to organize and share my photos, and DxO with Andy’s presets to develop my RAW files. With the combination of the D7000 and the 17-55 lens, however, I’m finding many of the JPEG’s straight from the camera as good as, if not better than, what I can wrest from the RAW’s, so I just use the JPEG’s now more often than not.
What kinds of photography do you most enjoy shooting?
Mostly I’ve done landscapes and architecture. I endeavor to funnel the beauty I see around parks and buildings through my imagination and camera lens, and to share what comes out with the world. This fuses three of my passions: technology, which I must tweak to get the results I want; sightseeing, which I find a relaxing diversion from my everyday life of pixels and walls; and artistry, which I must summon to create images that are somehow more than just what I happen to see.
For me, the most boring approach would be just pointing and clicking immediately whenever I see something cool. I try to ask myself, how do I best convey the story of what I’m seeing, and my feelings about it? How do I frame it so the image wouldn’t be cookie cutter? I’ve advanced greatly in this artistic dimension since I began photographing, and I strive to progress even more as I continue with the craft.
Also, I hope to branch out more into other kinds of photography, such as portraiture. I had the opportunity recently to take action-packed shots of dancers at the DC Travel and Adventure Show, and I want to do more and better photography like that in the future.
What are your favorite photographs of the ones you’ve taken?
I went on a two-week holiday last year in California and Nevada, and I came home with many great pictures. I particularly like a few I took of waterfalls and the Half-Dome at Yosemite National Park, as well as some pictures from the wilds of the Mojave that I think capture the desolate otherworldliness of the place (from the perspective of this East Coast city boy).
A couple of my shots of the Travel and Adventure Show dancers make the list as well. They wore colorful and bright costumes that stood out in my pictures.
Any last words?
The advent of relatively cheap and easy digital photography and Internet distribution has democratized photography. Some old-guard photographers fear the new more egalitarian paradigm, but I think it’s wonderful. More participation and more freedom always foster creativity and innovation. Uncloistering the art will be the best thing that happened to it since its invention in the 19th century.