Behind The Lens

Area Resident Explores Passion Of Photographing Sports, Nature

Alex Shipherd photographs sports, weddings, portraits and similar settings. His favorite scenes are ones in nature like this sunset in Dunkirk. His love of photography blossomed while at Randolph Central School. Submitted photos

Alex Shipherd has certainly been nursing the photography bug.

Having started from a young age, he had the opportunity to learn from an extended family member. It all started when his uncle, who worked for Kodak in Rochester, gave him a point and shoot camera.

From seventh-grade on, Shipherd kept up his craft. The young photographer was able to learn fast and keep up with what was emerging in the industry. In time he also branched out into various types of photography.

His love for photography only increased in high school. During the 2013-14 school year at Randolph Central School he took a photography class. At that time in his life, the wide variety of equipment was changing. Digital technology was becoming the industry standard. Also, Shipherd took it upon himself to enhance his experience by photographing many mediums. He shot weddings, portraits, landscapes and numerous sports. This was all on top of his love for nature photography.

“I have shot everything and anything, but I enjoy nature and especially birds,” Shipherd said.

As for sports, Shipherd has also gained numerous amounts of experience as he also became a regular on the sports fields across the county.

“I’ve shot football, soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming and track and field,” Shipherd said.

Shipherd enjoys track and field the most because he used to himself (Shipherd ran the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes, and 4×100-, 4×400- and 4×800-meter relays).

“Track and field events are the ones I enjoy the most because I ran them myself,” Shipherd said.

While Shipherd enjoys photography, the craft is not without its own set of challenges. What makes it more challenging is the differences between an indoor and outdoor environment can vary greatly.

To keep his camera from getting cold, Shipherd uses a specially made canvas that keeps it warm and accurate. Using a tripod also guarantees that the camera will shoot a steady image. In rainy weather, he uses a lens cover to get a clear image from a liquid crystal display filter. Most importantly, he keeps up to two sets of batteries with him when he needs to be sure the camera will work in such adverse conditions. For greater flexibility, he carries the camera in his hands even if he is not wearing gloves.

“It’s surprising how cold a camera can be holding it without gloves,” Shipherd said.

The most deceptive environment that Shipherd finds is covering swimming events. The reason for this is the often rapid environmental changes that a camera endures.

“When I’m coming in from outside and it has been cold, the warm environment can fog the lenses quickly and it takes 45 minutes to an hour to clear,” Shipherd said.

Shipherd uses two cameras for different types of work. A committed Canon user, he uses a EOS6D or a 7D Mark II for sports. When he is shooting weddings, nature and similar environments he uses a 90SLDR. He also enjoys taking photos while traveling.

“I enjoy sunsets, waterfalls, birds and other states,” Shipherd said.

Digital photography has proven to be a mixed bag for Shipherd. Adobe Photshop and a WiFi enhancement allow for photos to be shared instantly on a global scale. He also likes the ability to see an image once it is captured.

“I enjoy that you don’t have to take a lot especially in sports” Shipherd said.

At the same time, Shipherd admits there are downsides. One he has is with the reputation of Photoshop.

“Because there are so many different tools and filters available; photography does not require a lot of work now and often people think images are from Photoshop,” Shipherd said.

Shipherd has simple advice for newcomers who want to start photography.

“The best camera you have is the one with you,” Shipherd said.