“Well, it all started with a caterpillar,” explained Jon, owner and namesake of Jon Smithers Photography. “Actually it was a photo that my wife had taken. That was when we were newlyweds back in 1979,” he continued. Jon’s interest in photography prompted the purchase of a Minolta XG9 35mm camera with a stock lens.
For those of you too young to remember, 1979 was long before the digital world of photography existed. Film was purchased by the roll, with some rolls being able to take up to 36 photos. Once a roll was loaded into the camera, it stayed there until all 36 photos were taken. When the film was full, it was rewound and removed from the camera. Then came the development process. Films were often taken to a retail drug store that had a camera department. From there the films would be sent off to a developer in some other location. With any luck, the photos would be developed and returned to the store in about a week. Of course, numerous things could go wrong with any film roll. Everything from over and under lighting exposure to a failure within the camera’s advance or rewind mechanisms could result in unrecognizable photos. Whew! Things sure were different then.
Jon went on to explain, “We took that camera up to the North Shore and took 72 pictures. That was a lot back then. When one roll of 36 did not come out, I promised my wife that I would make it up to her.”
Due to the overall expense of photography at the time, Jon set his interests (and that promise to his wife!) aside until 1996. That is when digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras became readily available to the public.
Armed with a DSLR camera matched with a 400mm zoom lens, Jon was able to take a stunning photo of an eagle swooping down out of a tree, right at him. “I was hooked!” he said with a sly grin.
Jon’s favorite photographic subjects are eagles. That is followed closely by smaller birds, namely the warblers and cardinals. He is also very inspired by thick woods in the fall and springtime.
Although Jon’s photography captures Mother Nature’s scenes in a seemingly effortless fashion, not all shoots go that smoothly. “One day I found my local eagle tossing around and locking talons with a red tail hawk. It was the perfect set up, so I started shooting. All was going well until I check the photos – not a single one turned out!” Jon lamented. “For months I had listened to people about not turning on the picture review option. That was supposed to save on battery life on my Canon 10D. Well, I had set the camera for shooting the moon the night before, so it was a completely inappropriate setting for action shots,” Jon remarked. “Now I always have my camera set for 4 second image review and constantly check to see if I’m getting good shots!”
Jon’s unique photographic style and artistic eye has brought about many positive comments from his customers. His photos are so spellbinding when printed on canvas that he often hears “Is this photography or art?” Well, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and Jon is comfortable letting you be the judge.
Please visit his site at www.jonsmithers.com to see more of his photographic artistry.