Jim Eaton, a long-time member of the SaddleBrooke Photography Club also known as DIGS, began his journey in pursuit of a medium in Fine Art at a young age. His father, an artist who worked in pastels, encouraged him to learn to appreciate art by introducing him to drawing and painting.
In college Jim continued his pursuit with courses leading toward a Fine Arts major.
Like so many others, Jim found that life and the need to make a living pushed his pursuit of Fine Art into the background: not completely, as he continued to draw and enter contests. Winning first place with a drawing that he entered into a Los Angeles AFL-CIO art contest is a fond memory.
As a heavy equipment operator, he approached his work as an art form. The earth was his canvas, and the blade, his artist’s tools cutting, shaping and smoothing until he achieved the perfection required by the civil engineers and architects.
His interest in photography started with a film camera. Eventually he had his own darkroom where he could process and print his black and white photographs.
Today he uses a Canon G10, an advanced point and shoot camera, and a Canon 70D, a digital SLR camera. His “go to” lens is a Canon 55-250, and he has other lenses that he uses depending on the subject he is shooting.
Sunsets are a favored subject, and the ridges above SaddleBrooke are favored places for shooting sunsets. Full moon risings, birds, flowers and animals are also on his list of favorites.
No tripods for Jim as he prefers shooting with his camera in hand. He can change his angles, move about and be more spontaneous without a tripod. His secret for getting tack sharp images without a tripod is to use the burst shooting mode to shoot three to five shots. At least one will be tack sharp.
Images that are not tack sharp are discarded first as he culls for his keepers. His second cut is images that do not have the potential for a strong composition.
His definition for a strong composition: the viewer’s eye is led to the subject with minimal distractions and will draw an immediate emotional response from the viewer.
Jim processes, prints, mats and frames his photographs. His digital darkroom includes a Mac computer, Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop software, plus NIK software that he uses for final sharpening before printing.
Prints are made on an Epson R3000 13×19 inch printer. Frames, dark metal, come from Aaron Brothers, and his mats are cut on his machine.
In addition to his interest in fine art photography, Jim plays Blues music on his guitar. He can also be found on many mornings maintaining the prayer garden landscape at Santa Catalina Church.
If you would like more information about DIGS, visit the website www.digsouth.org or come to a meeting on the second Saturday of each month in the Coyote Room at the HOA One clubhouse at 8:30 a.m.