started with landscape photography, developing a real passion for the wonders of nature, colours and light and for all the beauty surrounding us. Her landscape photographs are magical. But there is more. Lydia also creates beautiful still life images when she is not travelling. Still life photography allows her further control over aspects of lighting and composition. In short, this great artist photographer excels in both categories.
Through this interview, she reveals a lot more about the person behind her work. Enjoy...
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs dear Lydia.
I was born and grew up in China where I earned an Electronics Engineering degree at the Wuhan University. I worked for the Bureau of Quality Supervision as an electronic engineer. After immigrating to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, I attended British Columbia Institute of Technology and earned my CAD programming post diploma and Desktop Publishing certification. After working three years as a graphic designer, I met my husband and immigrated to the Seattle, Washington area. Currently, I am working for a company that produces childhood products as a product engineer/Graphic designer. I like listening to music, love watching and participating in Chinese cultural dance, and of course photography in all genres.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Which are your most important experiences that has influenced your art?
The subtle influence of my father laid the foundation for my interest in photography. He was a college gymnastics professor, but his dream was Arts. Although he wasn’t able to attain the training that he desired in that area, he had a natural artistic talent. He loved capturing landscapes, portraits and still life in his drawings, sketches and watercolour paintings. He developed these skills on his own and learned some of them to me as a child. I remember going with him to museums and art shows. At work he was also responsible for photos of college events and activities. I have such fine memories being with my father in the darkroom, watching him developing the photos. It always amazed me to see the images come to life out of plain white photo paper. These childhood experiences all led to my interest in photography.
What first attracted you to photography?
I like all genres of music, dance, design, art, etc. As a child, I wanted to be a dancer or musician. My parents wanted me to be an engineer. Even though I fulfilled their desires, my joy of life was related to many forms of art expression. I didn’t have a camera and never thought I might be a photographer one day. But I really enjoyed looking to the work of great photographers. In 2015, a photo album, “Dreaming in the Distance” by Tim Zhang was published and ignited my dreams sleeping deep in my heart. I felt I had to have my own camera to capture my own dreams. I got my first Sony A7ii camera in October, 2015.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
My greatest wish is to capture the wonders of nature, light, colour, and the beauty all around us.
Why are you so drawn by landscape and still life photography?
I’m interested in almost every photographic category, but landscape was the first to capture my attention. I felt in love with it. My hunger to travel and explore the world through my own eyes became stronger day after day. You cannot foresee what nature will bring you. Landscape scenes can be almost magical when you are on the right place on the right moment. As I gained experience, I realized how much subtlety in light and colours nature can provide and how much t can affect a scene. I love the challenges nature provides.
My interest in still life photography began when I wanted to create something in my home environment. As a full-time employee, I’m limited concerning free time to travel.
I always was admiring the many beautiful still life images on 1x and they inspired me to develop my interest in this area. I was moved by the work of Ustina Green (ustinagreen), Christophe Verot (verotch) and many others. Still life enables me further control over aspects of lighting and composition that I don’t have in landscape photography. I enjoy finding props at garage sales and thrift stores as well as fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables to make my compositions.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Of course, technical perfection can enhance the quality of the images, but the mood and story are more important to me. They are the soul of an image. It is essential to me have an impact on the souls of the viewers.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Generally, I like to do my homework before I go to a special place for shooting. If possible, I also like to make preliminary visits to prospect photography locations. That way, I can try out different compositions, decide what lenses to use and look for possible foregrounds. But sometimes, simply being on a special location opens up possibilities for a shot that I might not have foreseen in my planning.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses)?
I am using a Sony A9 and a Sony A7RIII.
The lenses I have are:
· Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM
· Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS
· Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA
· Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
· Laowa 12mm
What software do you use to process your images?
I use Adobe Photoshop 2020, Nik Collection, TK Action V6 and Topaz Studio.
Can you tell us something more about your work flow?
I always shoot in raw format. I start by doing some basic adjustments on exposure, highlights, shadows, whites and black to recover the details in Camera Raw (CC). I may also adjust the white balance or colour tone if needed. Then I work further in Photoshop for the final touch. I use the Nik Collection and Tony Kuyper Luminosity Mask to make local adjustments on specific colour tones, mood and details.
For my still life images, I usually use Topaz Studio to create the fine art mood or expression as a final step.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in Landscape and or Still life Photography and how do you get started?
I think it’s important to have an artistic appreciation and a strong passion for photography. Learn from other more experienced photographers and keep practising with passion and determination.
Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top professional photographers. His video story on YouTube, “Don’t prove yourself – improve yourself”, left a deep impression on me.
He suggests that you “Spend your time everyday trying to be better than you were yesterday”. I think that is wise advice for any beginner.
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
As an amateur photographer, I’ve been fortunate to have so much help from many friends and one in particular: , a master photographer when it comes to landscape and wildlife photography. He helped me greatly when I started photographing. He encouraged me to upload my first image on 1x : “The Wreck of the Peter Iredale”. Since then 1x became my home base.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
I like to mention - not only one but numerous great photographers.
Their work has inspired me in terms of composition, colour tone, mood and other aspects and helped me to improve my own work. A few of these inspirational photographers: , , , , , , , and .
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
The world is a huge place and I would love to explore it all with a camera. As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently unable to go to the many places I would like to. But, I will continue to do as much travel, as often as possible, around the Western US and Canada. I want to continue learning and improving my skills in both landscape and still life subjects. I would also like to further develop my abilities in portrait and macro photography.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
I have a hard time to pick out a single one. I have been very happy with all my images published on 1x.
I also realize and admit that none is perfect, and I will continue to work to achieve that goal.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
Since 1x.com is an exclusive curated art gallery, being published gives me a feeling of achievement. Therefore, 1x is my home base to promote my own photography and a wonderful learning platform to me.
Thanks a lot for this interview.
Peter Davidson CREW
Well done Yvette on another fine article and for allowing me to discover yet another very fine photographer in the form of Lydia. Beautiful work!
Thank you for your nice notes.
I love Lidias landscape images and still lifes also made with a sense of light and composition! She is talented photographer!I big thanks Lydia for having noted me in her favorite photographers, it is truly an honor for me. Big thanks to Yvette for your fine interview!!
Many thanks, dear friend. Warm greeting.
Great article and very inspiring photos, big congrats to Lydia! hope to see more exposure of Chinese talented photographers.
Appreciate your nice comment.
Judy Tseng PRO
Congratulations, dear Lydia!
Judy Tseng PRO
Congratulations, dear Lydia!
Thank you, dear friend Judy.
John Fan CREW
Appreciate your comment. Thanks John.
Thierry Dufour PRO
Magnificent interview, I love Lydia's work. His landscape images and still lifes are truly marvels. I thank Lydia for having noted me in her favorite photographers, it is truly an honor for me. A big thank you Yvette and a big thank you Lydia !!!
;-) Thanks Thierry!
Dear Thierry, thanks for your nice notes. I truly love your amazing work as always.
Phillip Chang CREW
Lydia is a very talent photographer with a lot of creative and beautiful works. Congratulations, Lydia. Keep doing good works.
Really appreciate your nice comment. Many thanks dear Bro for your encouragement.
Peeters Jos PRO
Thank you very much.
Larry Deng PRO
Lydia is my close friend also she is very talented in photographic and arts. Keeping do the good works Lydia !! Big thanks to Yvette for your fine interview. Best regards. Larry
Dear MF Larry, really appreciate all your kind words. Your album always inspire me. Warm greetings!
Thanks a lot, dear Larry!
A palette full of beautiful colors from artistic abstract and Landscapes keep going on this way Lydia I'am a Fan Congrats Jeannot
I really appreciate your nice comments, love your work too.
Congratulations and many thanks for this fine interview, dear Lydia. Best regards, Yvette
Dear Yvette, It's a great honor to do this interview with you. I'm very proud to be the Photographer of the week. Warm greeting!