Cotton Carrier: Where do you call home?
Michèle Thompson: I’m Michèle Thompson and am a Canadian photographer originally born and raised on the Canadian east coast ( Halifax NS) but now call Toronto, Ontario my home
CC: How long have you taken photographs unprofessionally and professionally?
MT: I started photography 4 years ago as way to manage my anxiety and quickly found that photography was a great way to be able to focus in on a single moment in time. By being able to do that, my mind was able to rest - which is what I needed. I am not a full time photographer (as I have another full time job in Public Health - very busy these last two years ! ) but am a full time serious photography enthusiast. Any profits I make via sales of my work is donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association for mental health and wellness support and awareness
CC: How would you define your style as a photographer?
MT: You know, I don’t know if I have a defined style. I enjoy a range of genres from capturing that brief moment and story of a street scene to the more detailed planning of light trails or the the vast landscape long exposures. Most recently I have been more focused on landscapes.
CC: Have you ever gone to photography school?
No I have not. I actually went to school to study dentistry but do see many parallels as both are very detailed oriented work, both involving science and are both creative and technical. But back to photography, I am self taught, learning and developing my skills through reading, talking and sharing with other photographers, watching a plethora of available videos on you tube etc, attending webinars, workshops and just doing!
CC: Where is your favorite place or thing to shoot?
MT: It changes but I love that excitement of capturing that brief moment of a “ if you blink you will miss” shot such as for example a moon or sun alignment with the CN tower. I also really enjoy shooting long exposures of moving clouds during a beautiful sunrise or sunset and am currently trying to capture the perfect wave trails along a coast.
CC: What Camera(s) / Lenses do you use
MT: Right now I shoot with a full frame mirror less NikonZ5 which I love . I use the following lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G FX LensNikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRNIKKOR Z 28MM F2.8 LENSNIKKOR Z 20MM F1.8 LENS
Other gear I don’t leave home without are my circular polarizers and neutral density filters. Plus of course my tripod and Cotton carrier harness !
CC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get “The Shot”?
MT: I don’t consider anything I do for a shot crazy 😂#truth
CC: Who has inspired you as a photographer?
MT: So many different people/photographers have and continue to inspire me on my photographic learning journey. From those who I see and have met in Toronto - so many talented artists here - to many others who’s work around the world are truly jaw dropping . But if I had to say who and what started it all I would have to say it was probably a chance encounter in 2018 with Socality ( socality.org). Socality is a creative community based in Alberta that in their words, exists to inspire people from all walks of life to create things that make a difference. They had organized a walk-about for new and seasoned photographers in NYC which I joined on a whim. Back then I was just shooting with a iPhone, didn’t even know what overexposure meant but thought why not ? The photographer mentors ie Scott Bakken (@scottcbakken) Jonathan Zoeteman (@ionathanzoeteman) Garret King (@shortstache) just to name a few were so friendly open and patient answering all my questions. They genuinely seemed excited that I was showing interest in this creative outlet and was very supportive. That meant a lot to me and I learned a lot from them then and continue to do so now.
CC: What advice would you tell an aspiring photographer?
- You don’t need fancy equipment to take great photos. Great photos are created by the person behind the lens and not the camera or lens itself.
- Find what you like shooting and shoot for the love of it. When you do that everything that matters will fall into place
- Never stop learning and experimenting. Try new things.
CC: Can you share a photographic resource you personally use?
MT: To be honest when I first started I was frustrated as I couldn’t find a resource for the beginner that could answer my simple questions without it going into a detailed explanation I didn’t need at that moment, or being too technical or using too many overwhelming photography terms which I had to first filter through to understand the resource. As a result I found that I could learn more from asking photographers on IG and they would graciously answer my question in a way a layperson could understand. But I did find watching the free videos from KelbyOne helpful and now I watch many different youtube videos, attend many of the free webinars offered by B&H , Nikon, NiSi, Socality etc to continue my learning. Many photography brands host great sessions
CC: How has photography shaped your day to day?
First and most importantly photography has played a huge role in how I am now able to effectively manage my anxiety and as a result was able to recover to be where I am now, mentally well ☺️. Other than that, other ways photography has opened a whole new world for me is in how I now notice things I never noticed before such as how the light filters though the trees or softly dusts the air, various shapes and height of the clouds, moonrises, sunrises and all details I now see through my telephoto lens which I never would have noticed before. It literally opened my eyes to the beauty of the natural world.
CC: Where has photography taken you, and made you experience?
MT: Other than the creative and mental healthy journey I have mentioned above I think the other significant experience is meeting the people I have met these last four years and being inspired by them creatively. It’s a great feeling knowing you are growing in your art and are able to create art you can call your own.
CC: Any exciting photographic events in coming up you’d like to share?
MT: I am a Kase Filters Canada Pro Partner and will be developing and creating more work and material using their filters, which not only do I love using but has also allowed me to experiment creatively. Additionally in light of the barriers I faced in finding simple to understand resources for the beginner photographer, I have started a small blog “Photography Made Simple“ on my website to try and answer those simple questions I had when I first started photography but in simple, easy to understand way , using layman language, non technical photography terms for the beginner. The understanding of the technical terms can always come once that initial hurdle is overcome. I am hoping it will help those aspiring photographers who are now at the spot I was at four years ago have some of their simple questions answered. I’m hoping to find more time in the months to come to write more. Please stay tuned !
Please follow me on my social channels:
IG - @magpie_n_moo
Twitter - @magpie_n_moo
FB - @magpienmoo