With a careful eye for detail, photographer Linda Howes draws her inspiration and creativity from the beauty of nature. Linda resides in the charming town of Middleboro, Massachusetts, where she continues to immerse herself in the world of photography. Linda creates one-of-a-kind pieces of works from a variety of subjects and viewpoints. With an instinct for experimentation, Linda draws inspiration for her captivating photography from subjects that may elude the untrained eye. Linda’s body of work is quite expansive and her passion and drive for her craft speaks for itself.
Linda, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses. It’s not every day we get a behind-the-scenes view of someone with such skill and passion.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
Nature is my favorite thing! I love everything about it and it feeds my soul! I am a self-taught photographer. I am a business owner and a homeowner. I was a single mom, my son is now grown, and almost 39. I have a passion for the outdoors so I ran a Meetup group for about 14 years. It was called the Outdoor Adventure and Anything Fun Meetup Group! We hiked, biked, kayak, and did anything fun I came up with! My other passion is for helping people, especially those with Special Needs. I have a Massage Business for adults and children with Special Needs, and I travel to group homes, private homes, and facilities in towns surrounding Middleboro, MA, where I live. I love them so much and learn from them every day!
Where is home?
My home is in Middleboro, MA. It’s the second largest town in Massachusetts after Plymouth. A beautiful, country town.
What inspired you to be a photographer?
The beauty of nature is definitely what inspired me to be a photographer! I wanted to show what I see.
Is photography your full-time career?
Photography is not my full-time job. I have a massage Business for Adults and Children with Special Needs. I travel to group homes, private homes, and facilities in Middleboro and surrounding towns.
What drives you to create; does it satisfy a need or passion?
I would say nature drives me to create. I am just so inspired by nature, and it ignites my passion for photography. Being creative and expressing myself through photography is fun and inspiring. Ideas for photography just pop into my head. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes one idea leads to another idea that I may not have thought of if the first one didn’t work out.
I shoot a lot of bugs and flowers, so the wind is always my enemy! It doesn’t take much wind to screw up a macro shot. The bugs are always moving, so you really have to have extreme patience when shooting macro. I have been called the bug lady. People ask me how I get these shots, how do you make a spider look so cute? I do talk to the bugs and tell them how beautiful they are, and I swear they sometimes pose for me!
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I hope viewers feel a renewed or new love for nature. I have been told I have a unique perspective in my photos, so maybe they will see something in a new way that they haven’t seen before. I was told recently that it seems my macros are taken from the perspective of a little bee! I love that! As for my crystal ball art and light paintings, I hope it opens them to a whole new view of photography and nature.
Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
For aspiring photographers I would say, be patient and practice. Remember photography is all about light!
How do you choose what you are going to shoot?
I don’t think I always choose what I’m going to shoot. I just go outside and see what I find. Things catch my eye. The way the light comes through the leaves etc. I have lots of gardens and plants, so I take a lot of macro shots in my own yard. Because I am an avid hiker, biker, and kayaker, and run my own business and home; I really have to fit my photography in when I can. I try not to shoot when I am leading a group because it’s not fair to them. It is hard to refrain sometimes.
When shooting subjects, what do you find most challenging?
By far Chrystal ball photography is the most difficult. The view through a crystal ball is upside-down, so you can imagine how tricky that is. I try to keep my photos as natural as possible, so I do everything by hand and figure it out. The balls pick up light and reflections from all around, so I find it better on a not so sunny day if I am outside. They also act as a magnifying glass, and I have gotten a lazar-like burn while holding the ball in my hand, and also almost started a fire when I put 2 balls down next to each other, they started smoking! The light painting would be next; it’s a very tricky business because you can’t really see what you are doing while you are doing it! Put the crystal balls with the light painting and that’s a real challenge. But when I get it right, it’s very satisfying. Trial and error, trial and error.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
My most memorable session was when one of my Special Needs massage clients’ daughter asked me to do a photoshoot of her and her mom before she passed away. She was in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. I massaged her twice a week in the Nursing home, and fell in love with this adorable little lady! Her daughter told me she thought of me as one of her kids. I just adored her. I told her I wasn’t a portrait photographer; that I was all about nature. She told me to pretend they were a couple of trees! Lol. I wanted to do it for free and told her she could only pay me if they came out good. We went outside a couple of different days. I wanted to get it right. I had to make them laugh to get the real smiles to come out. We ended up having so much fun that day! Her daughter tells me often how much the picture and that wonderful day meant to both of them. She is still thanking me.
What type of camera do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Sony A6300 Mirrorless camera. I used to be a Nikon girl, but I do a lot of hiking and I had started hiking the 4000 footers in New Hampshire, and people thought I was crazy carrying a big camera because there is so much gear you have to carry in your pack already. So I decided to look for something lighter. It was the best thing I ever did! It’s so light and so amazing! I am a Sony girl now!
My favorite lens would have to be my macro lens. Having a light camera when doing macro is just wonderful! I am really in love with macro photography. It’s like a whole other tiny world that most people just walk past and never see. A big part of my photography is done in my yard and my kitchen.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
My favorite accessory would have to be my crystal balls.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in processing your final images?
With so much manipulation in photography these days, I don’t want to go that route. I would call myself a naturalist when it comes to my photography. I do as little as possible to my photos. I like to do things naturally, by hand whenever possible. I do edit my photos in Lightroom. I shoot in Raw, so you do need to edit. I might tweak the light and shadow a little, add or take away a little contrast, etc. Other than that, I don’t add anything or use presets. I will sometimes add a little tint of color if I think it really needs a little something, or add a vignette once in a while, but that’s about it. I haven’t really tried Photoshop yet. I am sure it’s good for some things.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
I think It’s good to experiment, it’s called being creative! I have tried things that didn’t work out, but I always learn from them.
Was there a point in your artistic journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
I think you do get to a point where you feel like you kinda know what you’re doing; now you can really be creative. When I figured out how to use light, that was a game-changer. When you use your intuition in your photography, it’s a beautiful thing! There is always so much more to learn though.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn?
I haven’t done much action photography. I would like to get better at things like birds in flight.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I plan to do more photography when I retire. I will be shooting till I am 100! I hope to do some local shows and it would be a dream to get a photo in National Geographics!
I have won some photography contests, and have been published in a book, a few calendars, and a magazine. I would like to continue doing that. I also am interested in art and sculpting and putting it all together. I would like to do natural sculptures in nature and photograph them. Creativity is Awesome!