About the Photographer

Michael Zecher grew up on his family's grain and livestock farm in east central Illinois, where he developed a love of the land and the cycle of life. A self-taught photographer, Michael purchased his first camera in 1986 with the intention of taking photographs of his high school students' classroom and extra-curricular activities. Summer vacations to numerous National Parks developed this budding interest into a passion for capturing the beauty of nature within the viewfinder of his camera. Michael is known for patiently waiting until just the right moment before tripping the shutter on his camera, a trait which frequently causes his wife, Jennifer, to become somewhat impatient with him. Attending seminars taught by nationally known professional photographers and the careful study of photographs has developed his photographic skill into what you see today. His personal photograph "portfolio", which now includes over 10,000 different images, continues to grow.

Over the years, Michael has travelled to 22 National Parks, visited 34 states, 10 Caribbean islands and and 4 foreign countries. It's never very difficult to talk him into going somewhere to explore photographic opportunities!

While Michael's current interests are primarily photographing nature and agricultural scenes, he also does some wedding, sports and special event photography.

Equipment

Michael has used a variety of camera equipment over the years. In his earliest years of photography, he used Pentax K1000 and P3N cameras and utilized primarily negative film. As his interest in photography became more serious, he "graduated" to Canon's Elan and A2 cameras, and utilized professional transparency (slide) film such as Fuji Velvia 50 or Kodak E100VS almost exclusively to capture the vivid colors of nature.
Michael finally entered the digital age in 2005 when he purchased a Canon 20D. In 2008, he added a Canon 40D, which now serves as his "work horse" camera. He uses Canon lenses and tele-converters including:

Canon 17-35mm f/2.8
Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
Canon 1.4X tele-converter
Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 2X tele-converter
Canon 300mm f/4 IS
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

Photographs shot on transparency film are scanned at 4000 dpi with a Canon FS4000 film scanner.

Michael currently uses an Epson Stylus Photo 1400 printer (capable of making up to 13 x 19 prints) with Epson Claria inks and photographic paper manufactured by Epson or Ilford.

Photographic Technique

Patience, patience, patience. That pretty much sums it up. Michael uses natural light almost exclusively (with only occasional use of fill flash), and has been known to return to the same location at different times of the day in order to get the best lighting and/or sky conditions. A tripod is essential to getting the best possible image quality. Polarizing or neutral density filters are the only filters used.

In the "digital darkroom", use of Photoshop is limited to making minor adjustments. The ultimate goal of any digital "tweaking" is to faithfully represent the scene as he originally saw it. It's much easier to take the time to get the correct exposure in the field than it is to adjust it later in Photoshop.

Last Updated: July 17, 2009
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