Monday, January 27, 2014

FOL Interview Series - Deanna Swauger

by Terri

We have a special treat for you today!  We are beginning a series of interviews of our Focusing on Life contributors. Our first interview features Deanna Swauger.  You can read some of the basics about Deanna in the About Us tab above, but even though Deanna is one of the inaugural contributors to FOL, I’ll bet there are some things you don’t know about her!

Where do you live and have you always lived there?
I grew up in Dallas, TX and I think once you are a Texan you are always a Texan However I have lived in Naperville, IL, a suburb of Chicago since 1976, so I should probably consider myself a Midwest gal with some leftover Texas drawl.  

What attracted you to photography and when did you begin to take it seriously?
I have always loved taking pictures, even with my Canon Sure Shot, gosh that seems like another age and time.  But I became seriously interested in photography about 5 years ago.  For those of you who have read my bio or follow my blog know that my husband has Alzheimer’s.  When he began to really fail and I had to keep him with me most of the time, I felt like photography might be the answer to a creative outlet for me.  Prior to this I was heavily involved in the craft of rubber stamping, with my “studio” in the basement. My “sweetie” always wanted me within eyeshot so descending to the basement to bury myself in creating with my stash of rubber stamps, papers, pens, and watercolors was not in the cards for me.  With photography he could be with me as I wandered.  He enjoyed walking and taking drives so this became my creative outlet with my sweetie by my side.
If you were able, where in the world would you like to go for a photo walk?
Oh my, so many places.  If I could go anywhere right now, I would go to Italy.  I did have a trip planned last fall but my husband’s health worsened and I did not feel comfortable leaving the country.  So for now, I stick to the good ol USA.  Trips in the immediate future are to Phoenix, AZ and Charleston, SC.  And I am seriously considering going to Olympia, Washington in August for another photo workshop.  If I could I would travel monthly!!   

What’s in your camera bag and what is your favorite “go to” lens?
I’m a Nikon girl, currently owning a D7100.  I have more than one go-to lens, but I have to say my Tamron 18-270 is the most versatile lens I own.  It takes terrific close-up shots as well as wide-angle landscape images outdoors in natural light.  Indoors I prefer either my 24-70 2.8 or my 50mm 1.4.  When doing portraitures either indoors or outdoors I usually use my 24-70 or my 18-270 for outdoor work.
What other hobbies/interests do you have?
In the summertime, I love my garden, I love to travel anytime. Reading is always on my top 10 list of favorite interests.  Of course, I love being with family, especially my grands, and I have a large circle of friends that are dear to me that I share many activities with. 

What would you say is the single thing you’ve done that has improved your photography the most?
There are many things that I have done to improve my photography, but I think the single best is to practice, practice, practice.  There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t grab my camera for an image or two or three or more.   Learning the art of composition, being aware of your shot before you snap has been an on-going learning experience.  I just recently decided to shoot in RAW format and I do believe my images are clearer and are more easily edited. 

What direction do you see your photography taking in the future?
Don’t we wish we all knew the answer to that question?  This past year I began a small family photography business.  I would like to see that expand and grow in the future. 

What kinds of things do you like to do with your photography, i.e. framed and displayed, scrapbooked, making cards, etc.?
I do print and frame my favorites.  My small powder room is a mini-gallery of my work, plus I have my photography displayed all around my home.  There is a saying that a photograph is not complete until printed.  I am a firm believer in that philosophy.   I use a lot of my photographs for greeting cards as well as calendars.  Once a year, I share an Open House with a friend who makes jewelry, knits and paper crafts.  I create my greeting cards and calendars and together we sell our wares to make money for our favorite charities, mine being Alzheimer’s and hers is the Cancer Research Center at Purdue University.  

You are such a wonderfully diverse photographer, but what is your favorite kind of photography, i.e., macro, landscape, portrait, etc.?
I don’t have a favorite, but I think it is whatever I am shooting at that moment.  It takes my breath away when I capture a beautiful flower, or a stunning landscape or the innocence of a child’s smile.  

Do you have a “tip” for anyone starting out in photography?
Take a class on the basics of photography, learn what ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperature is all about and practice, practice, practice. 

And if you’re not already a follower of Deanna’s wonderful blog “Snippets from Springdale”, you can find it here:

 Watch for more FOL interviews in upcoming months.


AFishGirl said...

Lovely! I met Deanna back when we were young girls in the initial round of the Picture series and I had Fishboy's old cast off point and shoot. Her warmth and humour lit the place up. Plus, she laughed at my jokes. What's not to love about her, right? A joy. She's a joy. Deanna, you're a joy!
Love and welcome to the week,

Barb Brookbank said...

I've been following Deanna for quite some time now and I am always blown away by her photography - she's a wonderful writer too!

kelly said...

a wonderful photographer....and i can personally attest to deanna's warmth and kindness. so blessed to share this space with you deanna. xoxo

Jeanne said...

Very nice interview, and love this shot of Deanna!

Dotti said...

I have to agree with Jeanne - that photo of Deanna with Cinder is my favorite ever. I have the second favorite looking at me right now with a 'Deanna Grin' since it hangs on my photo line above my computer, a reminder of the wonderful weekend we spent with her on her home turf in Naperville and Chicago. Wonderful interview, Terri. And yes ... what's not to love about our Deanna? {{{ Big Hugs }}} And as always ... a million thanks for that wonderful weekend with you last August.

terriporter said...

Thanks, Deanna, for the fun interview! Over the past few years, you have become so much more than an FOL sister. You have become a true friend and I treasure that so much. Looking forward to seeing you next week!

Linda/patchwork said...

Great interview.
I've followed Deanna for a while now. Her photography is amazing. I'm trying to take her advice....practice, practice, practice.

Viv@within the Frame said...

Love learning more about you Deanna...

Sarah Huizenga said...

Practice is definitely the number one way to become a better photographer. I too like to shoot a variety of things.

Kim Stevens said...

And it is too bad that we couldn't have heard the interview in her sweet voice...yes, Deanna is not only a fabulous photographer, but a wonderfully sweet person all around! xo

Cathy H. said...

Lovely interview of such a lovely lady! I've always admired Deanna's work. I think of her work and of her and think...JOY!

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. If for any reason you are unable to leave a comment here on this post, please leave your comment on our Facebook page or in our Flickr discussion group. We love hearing from you!

© Focusing On Life