Originally published 2014. Updated 2020.
Our featured photographer this month is Mike Thomas.
ACC: How long have you been into photography?
MT: I started in High School in 1979. I was on the yearbook staff. I did all of the darkroom work for the yearbook as well as a lot of the photography. My dad loaned me his Nikkormat FT. After High School I put away the camera. I went to college where I earned a degree in Computer Science. I didn’t start shooting again until I bought a Nikon D80 Digital SLR in 2006. I didn’t do any research into what camera to buy. My dad had taught me on a Nikon, and so I bought a Nikon.
MT: A funny thing happened over the years, my love of photography was rekindled in the digital era. Now that you have to download your images and process them yourself on a computer vs. in a darkroom, my interest in computers and photography merged. I’ve been shooting steady ever since.
ACC: What equipment do you shoot with?
MT: I have been a life long Nikon shooter but today I shoot mostly with my Olympus OM-D E-M1X Mirrorless. I just got tired of hauling around all that heavy equipment. I love my Olympus. It has some great capabilities for night photography with live bulb and composite as well as macro capabilities.
ACC: What are your favorite subjects?
MT: My favorite subjects are wildlife, particularly birds. My wife and I travel all over to shoot wildlife. My favorite National Parks are Blackwater here in Maryland, Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, and Katmai National Park, Alaska. We have also been to Canada, Australia, and Costa Rica to photograph birds. I also love to shoot steam trains. Luckily we have the Scenic Western Maryland Railroad in Cumberland.
ACC: How long have you been in the Arundel Camera Club?
MT: I joined in 2006. I have served multiple tours as Co-VP for programs, Co-VP for contests, webmaster, and newsletter editor. I’ve been editing and publishing the newsletter since 2010. This is an all volunteer club. Without volunteers we would cease to exist.
ACC: What photographers have inspired you?
MT: Wildlife and bird photographers that inspire me include Moose Perterson, Alan Murphy, and David Hemmings. I also follow David Hobby, a.k.a. the Strobist, who is a local Marylander and is single-handedly responsible for me owning eight strobes. Finally, even though I’m not much of a portrait shooter, I really like Joe McNally.
ACC: How would you describe yourself?
MT: I’m detail oriented and being a computer scientist, I know every button, dial, mode, and menu item for all of my equipment. I have a greater appreciation of technically difficult photographs like stopping the motion in a hummingbird’s wings or catching a salmon in mid flight into the jaws of a grizzly. Sometimes I’m blinded by the technical challenge of a photograph vs. its aesthetics. So it never ceases to amaze me when a photo of a pet or a common animal like a blue heron beats an eagle in flight.
MT: I’m a little introverted and therefore lack self confidence when doing portraits. I’ve long gotten over getting up at the crack of dawn for the light. I would much rather get a sunset than a sunrise.
ACC: How would you describe your photography?
MT: Eclectic…You are just as likely to find photos of fruit, trains, people, buildings, or wildlife in my portfolio. I have not mastered landscape photography. My landscapes are always very two dimensional. Rarely do I have a foreground, mid ground and background in my landscapes so they tend to lack depth. I’m red/green shade blind so I tend to do much better at B&W photography than I do color. I always have to ask my wife if the colors look right in my color images.
ACC: Noteworthy accomplishments?
MT: I was the photographer of the year three years running, 2010-2012, in the Bowie Crofton Camera Club. In 2018 I was awarded BCCC’s Master Photographer. My photo “Baltimore and Domino Sugar” placed second in the Maryland Photo Alliance contest this year. I’ve sold a number of prints and won a few contests. “Brush Tunnel” and “Supermoon Rising Over D.C.” are two of my most popular images. You can find more of my images on my website mikethomas.photos.