What's the story behind your username and avatar?
SilverPadfoot has been my Internet name for the past 11 years. If you see a SilverPadfoot (or SilverPadfootLives - my backup if my other name is taken) around it's probably me. Silver is one of my favorite colors, and still is to this day. I think it's a lovely and classy color. Plus, it goes with almost anything. Padfoot is, of course, from Harry Potter. Sirius Black is one of my favorite colors and I love black dogs, just like Padfoot. However, over time, Padfoot now has another meaning to me and I don't even think about Sirius when I say 'SilverPadfoot'. I have had the name for so long that it just comes natural. It's just as a part of me as my birth name. I even respond to it in the real world (one of my best friends did an experiment on me without me knowing). I made my avatar in Microsoft Paint when I first got my DA account, so about seven years ago. It's a silver paw pad (hehe padfoot) with SP underneath it for SilverPadfoot. It's not the prettiest thing, but I can't bring myself to change it. I'm too nostalgic.
What do you like of deviant art?
I love seeing a wide variety of art in one place. Every artist is unique and I have seen things on here that have blown me away. I would never be able to see any of these artists any other way, so I am happy we can come together in one community. I also love receiving feedback from a third party. I take all constructive feedback on DA very seriously and I enjoy learning how to improve.
What type of artist are you and why do you love it?
I am a photographer who specializes in wildlife and nature. I am one of those people who can sit and wait for hours until an animal comes along. I love observing animal behavior and capturing it with my camera. In fact, I started my career as an ethologist. However, I didn't feel like I was in the right area of animal biology. Now, I am getting my Master's Degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking so I can make films on animal behavior for scientists. I use my personal still photography to educate others and share the beauty of wildlife.
Explain us about your workflow- "steps to do your art"?
Oh goodness, haha. Well, it depends on what animals I have on my list for the day. Sometimes I'll just go outside and take pictures of the animals close to home. Other times I'll drive to a national park, like Yellowstone, and go on a photo safari. I also enjoy just going to zoos and sitting with the animals, just watching what they do. I usually go to the zoo by myself because my friends and family want to keep walking through while I just want to observe. Then, it's the hard part. I have a Nikon D7000, which I've had for 11 months now, and I still have trouble with it. I'm just not quite experienced enough yet to set the ISO properly or the F-stop and things like that. It's a lot of trial and error and a lot of dumb luck. In fact, I edit most of my photos in iPhoto or Photoshop Elements afterward. Usually I had it on the wrong setting or it was too cloudy on that day or something. I've become a pretty good editor, though, which has transferred to my films. I never, ever add anything to my photos that wasn't there before. So, I don't add a vector of a bison to a landscape. No. Whatever I took a picture of is what I actually saw.
Who is your favourite artist?
Ciruelo is my favorite painter of all time. I have been getting his Dragons calendar every year since about 2000. And I've kept every one lol. Dragons are another passion of mine, and Ciruelo's interpretation of them is just beautiful.
In terms of photography, Charles Flip Nicklin is one of my all-time favorites. His whale photography is awe inspiring, and I hope to be as dynamic as him. I want to take photos of whales, too, and I hope I can do them as much justice as he does. My other favorite photographer is Paul Nicklen (I think it's funny how my two favorite photographers basically have the same last name lol). You would probably recognize him from his leopard seal photos. His photographs are so beautiful that they seriously make me burst into tears by how wonderful they are (I'm being very serious here). He was one of the ultimate factors that made me go into wildlife filmmaking. His leopard seal series is also a huge bonus. Leopard seals are my favorite pinniped and to see him put them in such a fascinating light is much appreciated. Paul Nicklen really did change my life and I hope to meet him one day to thank him.
Do you accept commissions, requests or art trades?
Well, it's hard to take commissions for photographs since you never know what will pop up. I'll do requests any day, but there's no guarantee I can get a certain animal in a specific time period. I have taken an artistic interest in string board art, so I'll have a few examples of that up in a month or two. I'll definitely be open to taking commissions for those once I get better
Any advice for other artists?
Yes: don't give up! As a self-taught photographer, I know how frustrating and difficult it can be to miss the perfect shot or to not understand why your pictures are turning out all white. Read and do research on your camera and on photography in general. Seek advice and help! Keep notecards in your camera bag about F-stop, aperture, and all that good stuff. I am awful with terminology so it helps to have little reminders every now and then. Be patient, too! You will never learn photography or any trade over night. I've been taking photographs for 12 years now and I still don't know what I'm ding half the time, lol. My goal is to get to the point where I am super confident in my camera and can adjust for any situation that comes my way. Also, don't be afraid of Photoshop and other editing programs. It's not cheating to edit your photos! It's called 'post-production' in the filmmaking world. Editing is just as a part of photography as the camera is itself. Believe in yourself and your camera will follow
Anything else to say?
It is never too late to try something new! If photography really isn't your thing, then try something else! But promise me that you will always find ways to be creative. Don't deprive yourself of art. I made that mistake in college and felt like I was drowning. Pinterest is a good place to find project ideas and DeviantArt is a wonderful place to see what other people can do, to inspire you.
Never give up and keep moving forward!
Thank you, Rising Artists for this opportunity! I had a lot of fun! I can't wait to read other members' entries!