The Observatory at the Earth and Space Sciences Lab
As long as I’ve been making my living at this photography gig, I still love seeing new work published. I apologize if that seems boastful or somehow too ego driven. I guess it’s the adult version of having Mom put our early drawings on the refrigerator door. Something that affirms “I did that”.
Through the years, I’ve always been a bit of a science geek, after all, I started in photography when we mixed our own chemicals and developed both film and prints through our knowledge of chemistry and physics, the interactions between light and chemicals. In pursuit of better imagery and building a “look” I was always experimenting with different chemistry, too, in order to differentiate my work from that of other photographers.
So, imagine how pleasing it was to be asked to create photography for SASS Magazine’s summer issue, especially since it was for the “women in science” article, highlighting three women with outstanding credentials in the fields of Environmental Science, Chemistry and Electron Microscopy (Stephanie Peters, Dr. Mary Kirchoff and Dr. Mei Sun).
With photography taking place in Frederick County’s Public Schools Earth and Space Science Lab ( https://education.fcps.org/essl/ ) on a rainy spring afternoon, we made every effort to bring a certain scientific ambience to the session. Many thanks to the good people at ESSL for allowing us to take over their building for time, to our scientists, and to Kim Dow and Ashley Bailey at SASS for brining me on board for this session.
Dr. Mary Kirchoff
Dr. Mei Sun
While we’re talking about these images, allow me to demonstrate just one of the many abilities we bring to your photography – retouching. Not just of the “Can you make me look younger?” variety, but the “Is it possible to correct this problem?” type, too.
In this case, we photographed Stephanie Peters, wearing her waders, in front of the ESSL’s mural of the Chesapeake Bay and bridge – subjects with which she was familiar, having worked on the Bay in her career. There was an issue, however, with aquaria built into the wall looking distinctly out of place in the photograph. In order to improve the image, we completely rebuilt the missing sections through the art of retouching until you wouldn’t even notice that had been done unless you knew that wall. Even then, you might not notice.
Carole DonovanAs I read your description of the old-fashion-messy-chemicals that turned photographs into beautiful images, I pictured the alchemists of ages past trying unsuccessfully to change iron into gold. You were and still are successful at snapping shots of moments in time, turning them into golden memories. Whether you know it or not, you are my mentor.