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Focus on Fujifilm • Patricia Davidson

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Patricia Davidson is an award-winning outdoor photographer specializing in landscape, commercial assignments and travel photography. She has been living on the Oregon Coast in USA for over 20 years. With a background in the visual arts and web development, she sets out to produce images that express her artistic vision as well as her love of nature and the outdoors.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Colorful and vivid! I am very passionate about color images. When I’m in the outdoors, the color in nature really speaks to me. On occasion I will create a black and white image because I feel it really resonates better in monotones but, for the most part, I really love color photography.

When I first became interested in landscape photography, I was drawn to seascapes because I lived on the beautiful Southern Oregon Coast. Then I diversified into more different types of landscapes. I would say that flowing water is what I love to photograph the most.

How did you get started as a pro photographer?

Photography has always been something I’ve been interested in since I was in high school. My photography journey really started after winning a state photography contest with a point & shoot camera. It was then that my husband surprised me with my first DSLR and this renewed my passion for photography.

Over the last ten years I spent a lot of time photographing landscapes around the Pacific Northwest and sometimes beyond. I began my photography business by building my portfolio of landscapes, but also taking on some commercial assignments, when it was the right fit for me. I also began selling prints in some local shops and galleries along the Oregon Coast. Being that I lived in a unique tourist setting, I was able to make the majority of my photography income from selling prints, cards and calendars.

Why did you switch to Fujifilm?

About three years ago I began looking for a mirrorless camera that would be easier to take with me on long hikes but still had the quality of a DSLR. I switched to Fujifilm because I heard so many good things about their camera systems. It was then that I purchased my first Fujifilm camera, the X-T1. At the time, I fell in love with this little camera, all the while still using my Canon DSLRs. That first year though I wasn’t fully convinced that it could handle my landscapes. For one thing, I wanted the megapixels to be bigger than 16. I needed more megapixels since I mostly sell large prints.

I believe it was in December of 2015 when Fujifilm released the 3.00 version firmware update for the X-T1 that convinced me that this system was the right fit for me. That firmware update and more to follow, improved upon the autofocusing, shutter speed and more. I was blown away by the differences this made in the camera. I felt like I had a brand new camera! Because of the company’s dedication to improving their products and listening to their users, I decided to purchase the X-T2 when it was released.

I completely switched to the Fujifilm system after obtaining the X-T2. I sold all my Canon gear shortly thereafter. Not only do I love their camera systems but also the lenses are so incredibly good. I have picked up several lenses that I absolutely love and thoroughly enjoy shooting with this camera system, with no regrets at all. I’m excited to see what is next in the Fujifilm camera line-up.

Is there a noticeable difference in your workflow (field and post) using the Fujifilm system?

The only difference in my workflow is in post-production. Since I’m a Lightroom user, in the beginning I didn’t like how Lightroom displayed Fujifilm files. Adobe did have some updates that improved upon this, but I believe it’s still not quite there as there is still a noticeable change in the color when opening in Lightroom. What I currently do is pull all my files into Lightroom then I begin my edits with Iridient Developer. After that I would make my Lightroom or Photoshop edits if needed.

I’m currently looking into other software I have heard good things about that handle Fujifilm files better such as, OnOne Raw 2017 and Capture One Pro 10.

What’s the one thing you love most about the gear?

I really love the quality of the Fujifilm cameras and lenses. I love the colors and dynamic range that the cameras capture in my landscape scenes. The quality of lenses are tack sharp. I like how there are more lenses available now that are water resistant. This is really ideal for outdoor photographers.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a pro photographer in 2017?

I would say that the most difficult thing about being a pro photographer today is that there are so many talented photographers out there now. Photography has gained in popularity over the last few years, probably due to social media. Another reason is that there are so many good and affordable cameras available. Because of that there are more pro photography workshops and training schools than ever before.

To keep your name out there, you need to spend some time promoting your work on social media platforms by sharing your images on a regular basis. This then becomes a balancing act.

Being a woman in landscape photography, I feel like I need to work harder at it to be recognized in my field. More of my male counterparts are featured - and even sponsored - by major camera and gear companies. It’s really startling to see the imbalances when looking at their pro or ambassador line-ups. I am hoping these companies will begin to change so that more women starting out in landscape photography will be inspired to take a leap into making a living in the field.

What’s your most memorable and difficult field experience and how did you overcome it?

The only thing that comes to mind is hiking The Subway in Zion National Park a couple of years ago was my most memorable photography experience. There were so many photographic stops along the hike. It was such a gorgeous hike. I had my full-frame DSLR camera and a couple of lenses in my backpack, along with my tripod. It was a pretty heavy set up. Even though I did own the Fujifilm X-T1 at the time, I didn’t bring it along. After that hike, I wished I had brought it because it could have reduced my backpack weight significantly for a rugged day hike!

Where will your next adventure take you?

Since I live nomadically, traveling in an RV, my goal is to see and photograph many places in the USA that I have never been to before. I’m currently concentrating on the western park of the USA, but hope to see more places across the country. I definitely see myself traveling internationally in the future.

If you could go back to your early days as a pro and do something different, what would it be?

I would probably not invest in a lot of inventory, for one thing. When you first start out marketing your prints to sell, you tend to invest in matting and framing of a lot of your most popular prints. Over time though, as you improve in your photography skills, you tend to no longer want to put that older work out there. When I decided to travel and leave a “sticks and bricks” home-base, I had to find a way to sell-off some of the older inventory. Eventually I sold most of it through an Etsy account for a lower price point, so I would definitely recommend to someone starting out selling prints not to invest so much in inventory, until you really understand what will sell in your particular market.

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