We Are Juxt Rewind: This article was originally published September 7, 2012
Instagramers Seattle Spotlight – Nicole Lock @passionatewoman by Rachel S.
I’ve enjoyed Nicole’s photography for a while now, and I think what draws me to her work is the mood and emotion she captures in places that are so familiar to me. Likewise, her images of places I’ve yet to explore leave me wanting more and feeling almost as though I’ve been there…
R: Rachel N: Nicole
R: Tell us about yourself: Are you from the Seattle Area? I noticed in your feed that you recently graduated from UW. What did you study?
N: I was born in Spokane and lived there until I was 16 when my mom moved us to Redmond. When we moved I skipped high school and went straight to Bellevue College. At first, I didn’t have many friends besides my younger sisters, my car and a camera. That’s where my love of photography really began. I guess you could say my first Seattle best friend was my camera. At the same time another passion began to grow as I began taking Sociology classes focusing on feminism and activism. Eventually education led me to UW where I majored in Social Sciences with a focus on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity studies.
Currently, I’m taking a year off to just be, take the GRE, and apply to graduate school. During my break I want to continue focusing on my interests and begin merging photography and feminism in to something new and unique. I’m thinking of some self-portraiture ideas that would make a statement about my beliefs and fears regarding the state of the world and views on gender and sexuality, but it’s quite a challenge because I usually never plan photos out. Traditionally, I just follow my eye.
R: This is one of my favorite shots from Seattle’s new Great Wheel… why did you choose this perspective over the more common up-shots of our newest local attraction?
N: As I said, I’m really not one to plan out a photograph; I just let them happen. My boyfriend and I were riding the wheel at sunset for the first time. When I looked out across the network of metal structure, I was fascinated by the contrast between angled firmness and the soft rolling landscape behind. It felt like the frame was leading my eye to the beauty behind it, as if it were a railroad. To me, this perspective alludes to my belief that man can make nothing as beautiful as Mother Nature but rather only help lead you back to her glorious landscapes.
R: This particular image will be on display at the IGers Seattle / We Are Juxt mobile photography exhibit at Neptune Coffee this month. We selected more than 100 photographs from local mobile photographers based on the theme “summer vibes.” To me, this photo embodies Seattle ‘Summer’ up until about the first week of August. 😉 How do you stay inspired through all of our gloomy weather months?
N: Haha! Funny thing is, I actually went on this ferry ride looking for inspiration. It seems that Seattle gloom causes us to do well in finding the brightness around us. This photo was taken on a dark Seattle day but I chose a brighter more cheery edit to bring out what light there was. Sometimes when you can’t beat the weather, the dreariness becomes its own source of art. There is still a lot of freedom when it comes to rain and darkness, you just have to learn to work with it in unique ways. Though, the upside to always dealing with grey weather is that when the sun does finally come out, I am filled with inspiration and excitement. You know how crazy this city gets when the first sunny spring day occurs – everyone gets outside and soaks it in! You learn to appreciate the sun so much more.
R: What’s the one photo editing app you would be lost without, and why do you love it?
N: Hmm… It depends on the month really. I tend to get obsessed with one app at a time, though I usually process an image with more than one app. The first app I fell in love with, which I still use quite frequently, was Camera+. Its ability to capture photos quickly while processing them in the background makes it very useful. For a while I was obsessed with Phototoaster as I enjoyed its bright highly contrasted filters and how easy it was to make and save your own filter designs. Snapseed is a constant love of mine though I definitely didn’t get obsessed with it. I prefer it mostly for its selective adjustments where you can choose one part of the photograph to edit. Most recently, I’ve been in love with Picfx and Photoforge2. Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam is a lot of fun and allows for great creative freedom while Pixfx is great for its lovely preset filters providing the opportunity to quickly edit and transform an image.
Photo Credit: Alex Bergh
R: What came first: the iPhone or the Rebel? What is it about photography that keeps you shooting?
N: I’ve been shooting with a Rebel since I was 18, so four years. I only got the iPhone a few years ago. Now I mostly shoot with my Rebel and then process through my iPhone. I also just recently got an iPad and processing on that thing is AWESOME. I feel like I don’t really have a choice in whether I shoot or not, I just have to! Sometimes it feels like a craving to take pictures is so strong it radiates from my chest – it’s kind of ridiculous. The iPhone saves me in that regard because I always have it with me. New apps, lenses, toys, and traveling whenever I have the chance help keep me inspired. I feel it’s impossible to go to a new place without taking at least 200 photos.
R: What are your personal pros and cons to shooting with iPhone vs your Rebel?
N: I love my Rebel and my iPhone but they both do very different things for me. The Rebel allows for more freedom, better ranges of my depth of field, long exposures, and lower aperture. It comes with a lot more creative freedom in those regards. The extra megapixels are quite nice as well. But it’s a lot more of a liability to carry around, it doesn’t just slip into your pocket, and those photos are stuck on there until I can get them home and on my computer. My iPhone on the other hand is just a photography machine. It takes lovely photographs, allows for me to process them with millions of different apps, and then upload and share them with the world. It’s just amazing when you really think about it. I really love them both individually but my favorite trick is using my iPhone and iPad for processing images from the Rebel.
R: What are some of your favorite Pacific Northwest places to shoot?
N: We are so blessed to live here aren’t we? There are so many places to see and capture. One of my regular spots, which is obvious by my Instagram feed, is Golden Gardens. That place always amazes me and I don’t think I will ever have enough photographs of the sunsets. Beyond Seattle, the Oregon coast is one of my most favorite places, but I don’t get there often enough. I just love the combination of lush forests, ragged rocks, sandy beaches, and tide pools. There is so much to photograph down there! I love the rivers in the Cascades and even the one’s on the Eastern side of the state. Green Lake is also a pretty frequent stop for me, it’s so close and one of the most spectacular city parks we have. Discovery Park is named very well, as there is a lot to discover and capture. Every time I go my photos look completely different than the last trip. Mt. Rainier is a fantastic place for photographers, but again I don’t get out there nearly enough. I also do a lot of camping outside of Ellensburg and it’s fun to shoot there because the trees, flowers, and landscapes are so different from this side of the state. I still have SO much to explore…
R: I asked Nicole to shoot a special Northwest series for us, to tell us a little bit about what inspires her and why she chose these images:
N: When I got this challenge I was very nervous about it, planning out photos is not my strong suit. Luckily I had a road trip planned to go see my dad, best friend, and my baby brother in Eastern Washington. When we started out I felt like the photographs I was taking were so mediocre… I got really worried about it. But once we got out to my dad’s home and started adventuring, things just came together. I have been so nostalgic for Eastern Washington summers. My childhood was filled with lakes, camping, swimming, boating and all kinds of outdoor adventures. The hot weather and the lack of people is just something that isn’t easy to find this side of the mountains. So I wanted to go with a soft edit that made the photos appear sort of dreamy, like something of the past. I used Photoforge2’s Pop! Cam and the Soft Optics lens with the washed out effect from the processing option. From there I used Fotor to add some more color.
N: This trip was absolutely amazing. The photo of the power lines was taken on our way there, in the desert. I love the drive on i90 towards Spokane; it’s something I’ve done countless times in my life, as I’ve always had family on this side of the state. The photo of the trees and the clouds was taken at my dad’s property, which is as beautiful and relaxing as I attempted to capture. The last picture, of the river, was taken during a hike to some natural water slides out at Priest Lake. I haven’t had that much fun adventuring in a very long time. This series really reminded me of the nostalgia for childhood summers I feel every year. At least I could capture it.
Nicole is a northwestern native, and continues to believe it is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, regardless of where she travels. She spends most of her time working towards a future in education putting her time and energy in to studying. But, during those few moments of calm, she reconnects with the world through her lens.
IG username: @passionatewoman
Hometown: Spokane, WA
Current location: Seattle, WA
Camera(s): iPhone 4 and Cannon EOS Rebel