Interview with Elaine Calloway
Elaine Calloway is an Amazon bestselling author of paranormal and urban fantasy books. She also is a photographer living in the Southeast USA. We have conducted an interview with her.
What do you do when you are not doing photography?
I’m a technical writer by day (I write user manuals for computer software) but by lunch hour, night and weekend I enjoy writing book-length fiction. Right now I have 2 series out. First, an Urban Fantasy series about good vs. evil, Elementals vs. Fallen Angels, to keep humanity safe. My second series is Southern Ghosts, and is a series of ghost stories with suspense and humor set in the Southeast USA states. To me, photography (or any other form of ‘visual’ art) is comparable to writing. You’re still trying to capture a moment, an emotion, a certain look. One uses digital means and film, another uses words and a computer document, but both will tell a story or offer a glimpse into something deeper. Doing both means that both sides of my brain are happy and occupied
What are your strengths in writing?
People tell me that they enjoy my settings and they enjoy my villains. I like that; to me those are the two most fun parts about writing. A setting, whether imagined or a real iconic place like New Orleans, becomes a character in itself in each book. The mood, the air, the trees—I like making scenery another character. I enjoy writing villains because so often things are black and white, and life is more complex than that. Villains have wants and goals but either became too jaded or cruel due to life’s circumstances. I enjoy having the good and evil in one character.
Which genre do you prefer to write on more: Urban Fantasy or Paranormal? Why?
Probably paranormal. I started out writing Urban Fantasy, and I’ll conclude my Elemental/Fallen Angel series with the 5th and final book later this year. But my paranormal ghost books are becoming a big hit with readers. I have ten planned for the series, with offshoots and ideas brewing for more. Guess I got hooked on Scooby Doo as a kid and ever since then, I’ve loved ghost stories and having a suspense tale of finding the bad guy.
What kind of camera(s) do you use?
Several! LOL. I have a Canon PowerShot that is a decent point-and-shoot digital camera. I also use a high-megapixel camera on my Droid Turbo cell phone. For more artistic shots, blurred waterfalls, etc. I use a Minolta X-700 SLR. I have tons of zoom and color tint lenses, wide angle lenses, etc. Since we are in the digital age, I rarely use this camera anymore but I do like the special effects I can accomplish with it. I’m aiming to get a digital SLR later this year, and even more possibilities will become open to me at that point.
Which is the most unimaginable tip amongst the 5 tips you've shared about bettering photography skills?
So many people make photography all about the equipment. They use terms like “f-stop” and “aperture” and other jargon. When I first developed an interest in photography, these terms confused me just as I’m sure they’ve confused other people. The deeper I dove into books and classes, the more technical everything became. I think the most important thing to learn right off the bat is: Learn to SEE things differently. This takes practice, but can be done. The fundamentals of photography (using slanted light, lines, patterns, framing the photo in the viewfinder so you don’t chop off someone’s arm, etc.) all use this key concept: SEE differently. How can that be done? Start by looking a very boring object. A tree. Not a beautiful cherry tree in full bloom in springtime, but a basic pine tree that looks like every other pine tree everywhere. Boring, right? But what if you got out of your car and walked up so close to it, then looked up as if to capture a squirrel’s point of view? Suddenly, the photo possibilities are opened. What if you took an extreme close-up photo of the bark, almost where it looks like abstract art if no one knew it was a tree? It’s this “seeing” things differently by using the photo fundamentals that is the key to great photography. Camera type/equipment is a tool, and some tools are better than others. But you can have the most expensive camera in the world, but if you don’t see things differently, your photos will never rise above the rest.
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