Area Artisan: Scott McKay

Scott McKay, of Osborn, has been a local photographer for 13 years. Born in Oahu, Hawaii and raised as an ‘Air Force brat’ Scott said he was raised all over the world till he was in high school. He moved to Kansas City his sophomore year and graduated Oak Park High School in KC North. In 1990, he moved to Osborn where he raised his four kids and he has been there ever since. 

The desire to take pictures has been there as long as he can remember. The cost was what kept him from trying it for many years. He may not have ever been a photographer if it hadn’t been for his ‘better half’.  Scott chuckled, “It is Patty’s fault… she bought me my first camera”. He had a little point and shoot camera and had complained to her about the quality of the images. So, for his birthday, Patty bought him his first DSL camera beginner kit with lenses... 

Though he acquired several lenses, he found that the pictures were still not much better than what many people take on their phones. His frustration spurred him to learn the manual settings on the camera. Settings on a camera are sometimes overwhelming to beginners. There are many variables to consider in photography that when combined and adjusted will allow more and less light in and for how long. The variance in timing and light and how the camera is instructed to translate it will affect many things including exposure and resolution. This is what sets the learning curve for a new photographer. Scott said he is glad he learned on a digital camera. The expense is much greater buying film and paying for developing when using the old film camera.  

His desire to improve his abilities, coupled with the need for more equipment, drove Scott to become a professional photographer. His number one love in photography is wildlife and landscapes but that requires some traveling which can be expensive. In order to help defer the cost of traveling, he takes special event pictures (wedding, graduation, portraits). Patty also travels with him and is learning photography as well. He said that he admires many of her photos and values her opinions and input greatly.  

According to Scott, hunting for the best photo is often as exciting as capturing it. He said sometimes you don’t even know what you have captured till you get back home and look on the computer. Some of it is being out there and enjoying the trip as well as the surprise factor. Sometimes all the planning in the world though won’t always create a great shot. He said that he spent an entire day trying to get a picture of a moose. He finally gave up and was headed back empty handed, no pics. He was in a flat desert looking area and he stopped on the side of the road to take the dogs to the bathroom. Out of the brush walked a huge moose with a giant rack. He looked over and saw the monster moose and grabbed his camera snapping some perfect pics! 

Interestingly, Scott is color blind and though he did not have any formal training as a photographer he hasn’t felt that either have held him back. “I think it depends on if the person is willing to try new stuff, sometimes with formal training they only teach you to think one way and one set of rules”. He continued to explain that he enjoys the freedom of not having rules and he feels that this makes photography limitless that way, “Sometimes it is equipment, the equipment does make some difference, but it doesn’t make a good picture…. It is just like any type of art form it is the interpretation of the person”. Scott gave an account of a photographer that achieved a great photo. The picture was taken at Antelope Canyon which is a highly photographed place. The photographer set up and took a pic of some sunlight casting down and some mist that rose up from the ground. He went home and looked at his photo and the mist looked like a figure of a woman. No photo shop, just a raw image captured perfectly. So perfect that it brought over a million dollars at an auction. 

To see more of Scott’s work and his shots of local events check out his facebook page ‘Scott McKay Photography” or scott-mckay.pixels.com. 

My Cameron News

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