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Sony Camera Club Flickr Spotlight: Jamie Felton

by Katie 09/24/2013

Sony Camera Club on Flickr houses nearly 150 thousand photos of everything from vast landscapes to wild animals all captured on Sony gear. This group of talented photographers (Cyber-shot and Alpha users alike) are regular contributors to our monthly photo challenges and are passionate about creating quality works of art for the community. It was tough to choose just one member to highlight this month but today, we celebrate Jamie Felton and her love for wildlife photography. Take a look at a few of her images from the Sony pool and you’ll see why we wanted to learn more about her skill.

Kevin Barrett, one of our knowledgeable Flickr group moderators, conducted an interview with Jamie to get the scoop and here’s what he was able to find.

Bobcat in the wild

Q: Can you tell us how long you’ve been a photographer and how you got started?

A: I had just turned six when I received my first camera. It was a Kodak Instamatic. I remember being so excited to get the prints back and then being so disappointed in the results. I knew then that I needed to improve my photography skills and maybe get a better camera. I have been working on both those things,on and off, ever since.

When I was 15 my father bought my sisters and I each an SLR camera. A Pentax K1000. Everything was manual on that camera. Focus, exposure, even the flash power had to be calculated. But that camera helped me to learn the basics of photography. Around the year 2000 I got my first digital camera and fell in love with photography like never before.

Cardinal mom and chicks

Q: If you were that critical of your own photography at such a young age, it is no wonder you make such fantastic images today.  Now, I’m sure it’s apparent to anyone reading this that your passion is wildlife photography, but has that always been the case? What drew you to wildlife photography, and of what are you most proud?

A: Thanks Kevin. It is true, we have to be able to see the flaws in our photos in order to know what skills to work on.  But that’s the fun of it, always trying to improve.

I have always loved animals and being outdoors, so wildlife photography was a natural place for me to migrate :) But before I had the necessary gear for wildlife photography, I took whatever kind of pictures I could. My wildlife photography began with macro photography. As my gear improved, I was able shoot other types of wildlife.

I was drawn to wildlife photography because it’s all about animals, art, technology, and the freedom of the outdoors. So many of the things that I love most, all rolled into one activity. I can’t imagine anything much better.

Great white egret with skink

Q: One of the things we appreciate about your wildlife photography is your consistent respect for the animals, especially where sensitive subjects are concerned, such as poaching and conservation.

Now, you’ve mentioned you use Sony gear, but let’s step outside of the box and look into it. What can you tell us about the gear you use and what made you choose Sony?

A: I use a Sony A77 DSLR and I own a collection of lenses, so I’ll just mention my favorites. My Sony 70-400G is on my camera about 95% of the time. I also have an old Minolta 50mm f2.8 macro and a Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro that I really like. I use my Sigma 24-70mm D f2.8 for wide angle shots. It does fine, but if I’d ever start to do more in that focal range, I’d upgrade to a good Sony lens. I have a Minolta 70-210 f4 beercan thats nice, and an old Tamron 300 f2.8 that is fast and sharp. But nothing beats my Sony 70-400mm for wildlife. It’s sharp, versatile and it focuses fast and quiet.

I ended up with Sony because I simply want the best tool for the job. I do lots of research before I buy. When I get new gear, I test it out really well. If it’s not what I want, I don’t keep it. My first digital camera was a 3MP Nikon 885. In those days I did macro photography and it was the best camera for me. I loved it. When Sony came out with the f707, I bought it and loved it even more than the Nikon. It was great for macro photography. That camera could actually focus in the DARK with hologram laser focus assist ! I accidently left that f707 out in a tropical rain storm once, dried it out and it still worked. After that camera I was sold on Sony. So when I was ready to upgrade to a DSLR, I would have researched the Sonys first. But Sony did not make a DSLR at that time. I bought a Nikon D70 and was disappointed in the photos. I returned it and bought a Minolta 5D and a Sigma 50-500mm lens and was satisfied. When Sony bought Minolta I was ecstatic. I could not believe my luck and bought the A100 as soon as it was released. Through the years I also bought a couple of A700′s and an A550 to get me through until the release of the A77.

I never considered a full frame camera because I wanted the extended reach and better DOF of a crop sensor. I do not use a tripod or a monopod because they slow me down and prevent me from getting down low or climbing up high, for a better angle. I don’t use a neck strap. Instead I use a thin strong wrist strap. It does not bog me down. I own a Sony external flash and beamer but rarely, if ever, take them with me. They are not only extra bulk to carry, I usually l don’t like the look of flash photos and I don’t like to flash animals eyes.

So my regular wildlife gear is my Sony A77 with 70-400mm lens, a few extra batteries and flash cards in a belt pack and that is it. I’m set for the day.

 

Great blue heron with stick

Q: It seems you were an early adopter of the Sony Alpha system, with a lot of rigorous demands for your investments. Sony has introduced a lot of new technologies in the mean time, in virtually every part of the system, including the basic architecture of the camera itself. How do the modern SLTs compare to your traditional DSLRs in use, and are you pleased with the changes?

A: That’s true I have invested heavily in the Sony Alpha system. But I’ve earned some money back on my investment. So I’m okay.

As for the new technologies. While waiting for the release of the A77, there was a lot of negative talk about it being an SLT. Especially since that meant it would have an electronic viewfinder. And strangely enough, being an SLT is what makes that camera great. In my opinion, the critics could not have been more wrong. There are many advantages of owning an SLT. The smooth, quiet shutter with no mirror slapping up and down. Having 8 or even 12 fps when I need it. Phase Detection AF in all shooting modes, even video mode. But most of all, I love the electronic viewfinder. I could never go back to an optical viewfinder. I’ve used manual exposure mode for years. With an optical viewfinder, it took a lot of thought. With an EVF it’s easy. I am spoiled by the ability to see my exposure in the viewfinder on my A77. In fact , not long ago, I thought I’d use my old A550 for a bit. But I could not deal with the optical viewfinder. For me its like giving up my DVR for regular TV or my cell phone for a land line. It’s just too hard to go backwards.

Great white egret in breeding plumage

And if you want to see more of Jamie’s photos, make sure to check out her Flickr page or just head to Sony Camera Club on Flickr.

Aurmored troups reporting for duty , Sir. Purple Gallinule dad with chick Jamie Felton Red-winged black bird feeds fledgling Sandhill crane and chick Some day I'll fly ! Bobcat yawn in the wild Wild bobcat kitten Lefty Spoonbill take off

 

 

 

 

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  1. Carrie wrote: September 24, 2013 9:26pm

    Wow, spectacular images. Just stunning. Thanks for sharing these incredible images and the artists story. They are all beautiful and not sure I could pick a fav but I love that little duckling spreading those tiny would-be wings while balancing on the duckweed. Wow….what a capture. Amazing.

    Reply
  2. (Dave) Photoop56 wrote: September 25, 2013 4:04am

    I have the pleasure of meeting Jamie Felton on several of her photo adventures and she is quite knowledgeable about all of the wild life that she shoots. We can all see by her amazing photos that She is a dedicated Photographer too. It is amazing how she loves her Sony Equipment and would not trade it for any other brand.
    When she is out photographing nature and she is asked about equipment She is always promoting Sony products to all. There is No better way for a company such as Sony to advertise their Equipment but through a dedicated photographer such as Mrs Felton.

    Reply
    1. Katie wrote: September 25, 2013 8:56am

      Very cool to hear. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  3. dean wrote: September 25, 2013 4:49am

    It’s no wonder Jamie Felton loves her Sony gear because these photos are FABULOUS!!!
    I am inspired by her work and it makes me want to be a better photographer.

    Reply
    1. Katie wrote: September 25, 2013 8:55am

      Dean, so glad you enjoyed these photos. Are you part of our Sony Flickr club yet? There’s a lot more where this came from: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sonycameraclub/

      Reply
  4. Rob wrote: September 25, 2013 5:09am

    These are awesome photos. Great artistry, great equipment. Good profile Sony.

    Reply
    1. Katie wrote: September 25, 2013 8:53am

      Thanks, Rob! Jamie’s one talented photographer and we’re lucky to have her in the Sony Camera Club.

      Reply
  5. john wrote: September 25, 2013 11:07am

    I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jamie’s work on Flickr for several years now and she’s always surprising me – not with the quality of her work (which is always superlative), but with the content. I know of no photographer whose work is more inspiring – professional or amateur – or more revealing of the wildlife she chooses to photograph. She’s probably also the most dedicated photographer I know – to her subjects and to her Sony gear. A wonderful profile and amazing photographs.

    Reply
  6. Kim wrote: September 25, 2013 1:47pm

    I am so glad you choose this photographer
    to spotlight. Her images are some of the best I have ever seen. They are so tack sharp I can not stop looking at them. I only wish there were more.

    Reply
  7. Jean Schuster wrote: September 26, 2013 5:21am

    I am a Sony owner because of Jamie but could still use some coaching from her. My biggest inspiration is her subject matter. She didn’t have to travel the globe to get her exquisite detail and brilliant photos

    Reply
  8. judy wrote: September 26, 2013 12:10pm

    Big Big Congrats Jamie. Awesome and so well deserved !!!

    Reply
  9. Carol wrote: September 27, 2013 4:08pm

    Jamie, is a fantastic photographer that I have followed and been friends with for several years. Her photos have always stood out in a spectacular fashion and have intrigued me from her first shot I ever saw. She is a wonderful person and fabulous and talented photographer. I would love to have a photo half as good as hers!!!

    Reply
  10. Bob wrote: September 27, 2013 4:12pm

    This is in response to that very accurate and well-written story by Kevin Barrett about Jamie Felton.
    I first met Jamie several years ago. It was about 7:45 a.m. and she was crouched on the boardwalk trying to get the perfect picture of a green-winged teal duck. I left a few hours later. Around 6:00 p.m., I went back to try again to get pictures of a gator for my grandkids. I was surprised that she had also returned. When I started talking to her, it was easy to see that Jamie had never left. Her face was flush and she was sweating from the low 90 degree temperature and the 75% humidity. She had been working all day. As we talked I learned much about how Jamie loved photography and also how much she loved the creatures that she was trying to photograph.
    Over the next several years I learned more about Jamie’s love for nature. When I mentioned that I was thinking of moving from my P&S to a DSLR, she did suggest that I look at the Sony line of cameras. At that time she was using, I believe, the Sony a550. She told me about her website and that she also posted on Flickr. When I saw the pictures she had taken, I realized that either Jamie was an excellent photographer or Sony makes a very good camera. Well, both statements are true. As time went on, I continued to use my P & S and she continued taking great pictures.
    Then one day, it all changed. When I saw her at one of several wildlife sites that we both visit, she was really excited about the news that her dream was coming true — Sony was coming out with a new camera, the a77. For months we would email each other about the latest rumors about how great this camera was going to be. Long story short, I came across a story about the floods in Thailand and how it was affecting the production of the Sony a65 and a77. So I emailed her that I was going to order my a77 right away, and she agreed to do the same. Well, my a77 arrived three days before her camera, I had a difficult decision to make and decided for my safety it was best not to go anyplace that she visited until she received her camera. It was a very long three days!!!
    Speaking of safety, reminds me of the maintenance people who take care of the boardwalks and the people who kill the weeds and invasive plant life in these preserves. Jamie has pointed out where they cannot spray or to be cautious when repairing boardwalks. She shows them the nests or advises them to protect these creatures of nature.
    Before getting my a77, I knew that I needed a lens for taking wildlife photos and as soon as I asked, all she would say is the Sony SAL70400G. And after seeing her work, there is no question that it is a great lens. Her help since then has been invaluable; she has taught me so much more about photography than I thought was possible, including shooting in Manual Mode which is fantastic when using the a77.
    If anyone stops and ask Jamie a photography question she will gladly try and help; she goes out of her way to try to answer. She is the same with humans as she is with the wildlife.
    As for Jamie’s a77 camera, it has my sympathy. My camera, which is also twenty-three months old, looks almost brand new and has had much usage. Her camera, which has been through the hot Florida summers and rainy seasons, continues to take amazing photos. I’m surprised that her a77 is not held together with chicken wire and duct tape after all the usage and difficult conditions she has put it through. It is my guess that her a77 is in the top five for usage in the past 23 months.
    Jamie has a way with wildlife that the rest of us don’t have. Many of us have seen her carrying on a conversation for several minutes with wildlife. The crazy part is the wildlife understands her.
    Jamie has other artistic talents that many people don’t know about. Besides painting, she is a writer. She is trying to bring awareness to the next generation about how much animals suffer because of trapping. Her work-in-progress is not a sad tale but a happy ending story that children will learn from. Her illustrations are from her photographs. Most think that she’d be working on her third children’s book by now, but she is unable to say this is finished.
    Aside to Jamie, The book is terrific!! Get it published.
    It is good to see that the Sony Camera Club has found such a deserving person to Spotlight.

    Reply
  11. Audrey wrote: September 28, 2013 5:49am

    I am enraptured by the clarity of Jamie’s photography. It almost seems like you could reach out, touch and feel the subject on the page. Amazing talent!!

    Reply
  12. Lenny wrote: September 30, 2013 1:15pm

    I have known Jamie for over three years. Jamie is an exceptional photographer and one of the best on the Flickr website. Not only that but Jamie is a lovely person and I am very lucky to have her as a friend. The images that Jamie produces with her Sony equipment are truly remarkable. Congratulations.

    Reply

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