I was born in Texas, in an army base. I've always had a camera in my hand, mostly to keep me busy. It wasn't until about 20 years ago or so, when I got my first digital camera that I could experiment and learn how to do photography. My first camera was a Canon Powershot Pro 90, it has a 300mm lens and a whopping 2.9mp sensor on it. I learn by doing and seeing, figuring out what I like and don't like, and advance from there. I took over a 100,000 images on it, and actually wore out the button.
Over the years I've had a number of cameras, ranging from small to SLR sizes. Sometime back in 2003 I think it was I joined a site called Photosig. They are a photo critique site, and I learned how to give and get critiques. Learning this one skill will make anyone better at anything they do. To be able to separate yourself from your work, to be able evaluate your images through a critical eye, is a very valuable skill to have. The more critical you get, the more you see, the more you can improve, or to avoid those mistakes in the first place. I was there for about 10 years or so, on and off the site. I still go up there every now and then.
I started selling art on Redbubble in 2007. Since then I've spread out across many sites. I have over 2400 image at this time I seem to add about 500-700 a year. My style is not really photography and not really a painting.I create images that resemble paintings, a cross between Rockwell, and the paintings of the Renaissance. I don't like plain photos. I found that over time every photographers work will look the same. Its hard to set yourself apart from everyone else if your work looks like everyone else's.
I specialize in HDR. HDR stands for: High Dynamic Range, it has the ability to sustain both highlights and shadow at the same time. It allows me to see out a window on a sunny day, see the grass, while at the same time, see the pie on the table, and the cat under the table. To achieve this, you need multiple frames and you have to edit it into one image.
I was introduced to HDR around 2006 or so. It was a new look, it created an almost illustration look to the image. However after a while of doing this, images looked the same. Depending what program and what settings you used, the images looked burnt, blown out, gritty, or there were overlapping errors. You couldn't make an HDR if it had things that moved in it. And this was all very annoying. My style actually started because I had to clean up what the HDR program left behind. Cleaning noise, fixing color etc, I did that by hand. Later I found it was easier to just cut out the middleman and edit each layer myself. In this way, I was able to adjust the colors, control the noise and create images that have moving things in them. Images that would normally be impossible by any other HDR software. After a while I started to add my own light source, using a painting with light method adding my own highlights and shadow. This works best for objects that are evenly lit. I try to honor the subject and unless it looks better beat up, I try to make them look as good as new in the image. This means it's shiny and useable looking. I add light streaks in windows, smoke to chimney's, distant haze and fog to landscapes. Some say this is cheating, but I'm making art, I'm not making a documentary. I want to create a scene where you can feel like you can just walk in and sit down. Or reach in and grab things from the screen.
Besides photography, I also do digital art, primarily focusing on steampunk. My goal is to create photo-realistic images that you can sort of reach in and enjoy. Naturally the challenge to get the perspective, shadow and highlight correct can be difficult, and I try to get better with each thing I make. Depending on when you view my site, my avatar will change monthly often reflecting a holiday of some kind. You'll know it's me by the mustache (which I don't have in real life, it's also a composite).
My sites: Fine Art America - http://www.mikesavad.com/
Tutorials - http://www.suburbanscenes.com/
Zazzle – http://www.zazzle.com/suburbanscenes?rf=238004228064905610&CMPN=zBookmarklet
Red Bubble - http://www.redbubble.com/people/mikesavad