“Guardian Angel” Copyright Amy Yetman Speirling Images. Used with Permission
Amy Yetman is a local photographer whom I have had the great pleasure to get to know over the past year. She specializes in capturing the incredible aurora borealis we experience here in Fort Nelson and loves to travel the world and capture her adventures with her camera. Recently I sent her a list of questions and I was pleasantly surprised to learn she is as masterful with words as she is with her camera. Amy will be the featured artist for the month of November at Whimsy Flowers. You can find her contact information at the end of the interview.
“Snowy Owl” Copyright Amy Yetman – Speirling Images. Used with permission
What type of artist are you?
I am a time freezing specialist with slight abilities to adjust the time-space continuum; also known as a photographer. I am incredibly fortunate to have the ability to capture the beauty I see in the world and share it with others.
What does your current body of work speak to? Are you working within a theme?
My current body of work is life themed, though I never intended for it to be that way. My photographs capture the beauty I see in the world, as I see it. Some photos are of wildlife, others of where we (and animals) live, others are the views from our favorite perches.
What are your favorite tool and materials to use. Can you recommend any to other aspiring artists?
I have a fairly large kit bag due to the variety of what I shoot, but it’s easy to whittle it down if I know what I’m going to be shooting. For landscapes or night skies I prefer wide angle high aperture lenses; for wildlife I use a telephoto lens with a much longer focal length (on a crop sensor for added distance). When shooting people I prefer to use a full frame with a prime (high aperture) lens. I like to change up the lenses if I’m trying something artistic.
I don’t shoot people as often; if I do it tends to be someone I know well, since I want to capture their inner beauty as well as what I see outside. I tend to be a very private, quiet person so it takes a little while for me to figure out how to capture someone’s soul in one moment. It’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together though. My advice would be to know what you want to shoot, and pack/purchase accordingly.
Leave things as you found them so the next person can enjoy the scene as well. Learn your manual settings if you haven’t already; they will be your best friend. Never underestimate the power of the right settings and filter; it’s much easier to get it right in camera than it is to edit after the fact.
“Super Blood Moon Eclipse” Copyright Amy Yetman, Speirling Images, used with permission. All Rights reserved.
How has being an artist in Fort Nelson helped and hindered you?
Let me address the local skies first. The northern lights are both the joy and bane of my existence since moving here. They’re absolutely awe inspiring, as well as a challenge because they’re constantly changing (my settings often change from one capture to the next, depending on their speed and intensity). They also keep me up way past my bedtime, even though I still have to get up in the morning. The explanatory phrase ‘lights were out’ has become a common one, usually indicating that I need more coffee before having an actual conversation. The wildlife here is so diverse that it’s mind-blowing, as are the many backdrops (including the mountains). We are so incredibly lucky that there are no words for it. We have so little light pollution that we have great conditions for astrophotography, even within town limits. The Northern Rockies are a photographers paradise.
Fort Nelson itself has been incredibly supportive, as well as great for giving local photographers a variety of opportunities to hone their skills. While we’re far away from larger traditional galleries, we do have some galleries in the region, as well as support from local businesses, such as the Phoenix Theatre where my Speed of Life exhibition was held. The Visitors Centre and Whimsy’s carry my photos all year round. I had the privilege of working with Marl and the Historical Society on the Heritage Museum’s calendar last year, which was a really fun project. Since moving here I also got to shoot at the 2014 Trapper’s Rendezvous, 2014 Heritage Days at the Museum, and the 2014 Northern Rockies Triathlon in an official capacity. I was shooting at the 2014 Canadian Open Dog Sled Championship, the Family Fun Circus, the 2015 Mile 300 Figure Skating Carnival, and the 2015 Johnstone’s Fireworks Spectacular at the river for fun and a chance to shoot in different lighting conditions. One of my museum photos graces two of the street banners around town and many of my recent captures can be found in the Fort Nelson News.
“Finding Light in the Darkness” Copyright Amy Yetman, Speirling Images, used with permission. All Rights Reserved.
What feeds your creative fire? Do you have any special activities or rituals you use to get your creativity going? Any special places that inspire you?
Gratitude. Gratitude inspires me and feeds my creativity. Even on my worst days, I am so much better off than so many others in this world that I cannot help but be grateful. My basic needs are met, I have freedom, and I live in a place with medical care and many other benefits. I have sight and the ability to capture the beauty I see all around me, so I do. Waking up gets my creativity going. I am grateful just to be here. Every day that I wake up on the right side of the sod again is a good one. Sometimes the things I see are small, like a flower in the community garden. Sometimes they’re big, like northern lights that fill the skies, or a whale in the Atlantic Ocean (I came here by way of majestic Newfoundland). There is beauty everywhere in everything, & I want to document every bit of it that I see so everyone else can see it too. I think my only real ritual is grabbing my gear and running to get the shot before the opportunity passes. If I’m planning on shooting then it’s fun to take my time assembling my gear, but it’s usually a spur of the moment capture, especially with the northern lights.
What changes would you like to see for artists in the region?
There is so much talent here that I’d love to see more exposure and opportunity for local artists of all mediums. The skills displayed even just in Fort Nelson are overwhelming in their abundance.
“Connection” Copyright Amy Yetman, speirlingimages.ca. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
What words of encouragement or advice can you give to other local artists.
If you love working in your medium (whatever it may be), then ignore the naysayers and do what you love. Do what makes you happy. The rest will work itself out. I started with a disposable camera and a skill-set that involved cutting people’s heads out of the photos 29 times out of 30. Mind you, I was about 5 years old at the time, but the point is that everyone starts somewhere. Don’t let people who give up on their dreams stop you from pursuing yours. When you do something you truly love, magic happens. Be unique. Don’t waste time trying to duplicate someone else’s style. Be different, quirky, and feel free to experiment. Find your own style and rock it! Art is subjective; some will love it & some won’t. It’ll make your day when your art is all ‘you’ and you find the ones who love it (or they find you).
Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with us?
I will be the Artist of the Month for November at Whimsy Flowers & Gifts, so feel free to drop by and have a look at some of my current collection (though feel free to do that anytime).
“Peace at Parker” Copyright Amy Yetman, speirlingimages.ca. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Where do you show your work? List all venues and online galleries, etc.
Locally, the Fort Nelson Visitors Centre carries some of my matted prints and one of my photo books. I just had two pieces on display in the Dawson Creek Art Gallery for their Surface Tension exhibition. My biggest local supporter is Whimsy Flowers & Gifts, which carries my canvases, framed prints, photo books, cards, phone cases, & postcards. Special projects, like photo restoration, can be inquired about via my website. My recent captures can frequently be found in the Fort Nelson News, so be sure to keep an eye out.