Photography with Heart
Photographs and Text By Kim Parsell

KP Images
A view of the Tuscawarus River, looking east.

Note: When I need a creative jumpstart, I check in at Kim Parsell's photoblog to view her latest work. Kim applies a wonderfully soft and colorful style to her landscape photographs giving each one a unique look and feel. You can learn much more about Kim Parsell by going to her website KP Images. Send me an email if you or someone you know is interested in being featured. Enjoy! -Steve Paxton

KP Images - Photography with Heart
My name is Kim Parsell. I live in rural eastern Ohio on a 12-acre tract of land, part of a farm that has been in my family since my great-grandparents purchased it in 1908. This area has always had a special place in my heart, and, when I was able to move here permanently in late 2006, I finally felt I was "home".

I've been taking images off and on for the last 20 years or so. Up until 2001, I was only using film, and the images I shot were mostly personal - holidays, birthdays, vacations. I got my first digital camera in late 2001, and continued with personal-type shots, but began to branch out a bit more into shooting landscapes and nature, mostly for my own pleasure.

My passion for photography really took off in the spring of 2007, and I've gotten very serious about improving my photography skills and the shots that I take ever since then.

I'm self-taught, and have done extensive research, gleaning helpful information from everything I've read. But the best teacher, for me, has been pure experience - take the camera out the door and see what the world has to offer me that day, then shoot. Some images have turned out great, some okay, and some got filed away, never to be looked at again. But I learned something each time that hopefully will improve the shots I take the next time I go out.

KP Images
Panoramic view of the valley looking northwest.

I am not a "technical" photographer, with regard to following the rules of photography. Almost all of my shots are done hand-held, while out walking in the field. I tend to shoot what draws my eye, and compose the shot using my heart - the frame that makes me feel good about what I'm photographing.

When it comes to shooting film or digital, I prefer digital. I went digital in 2001, and haven't used a film camera since then. For me, it's the "instant gratification" of being able to see the shots right away, to know that I've captured that moment the way I wanted to, rather than having to wait for film to be developed to know if I nailed the shot or not.

I shoot mostly nature and landscapes. When traveling, I still photograph other things, mainly as a personal record of my trip. But when I'm home, it's the great outdoors that I focus on.

KP Images
A purple coneflower from one of my flower beds.

I'm fortunate to have sweeping vistas and an abundance of wildlife right outside my door, and I work to capture that beauty, be it a tiny butterfly flitting about the field, a lone wildflower blooming at the edge of the woods, or a glorious sunrise.

My grandfather has been a huge influence on me. He was an amateur photographer, shooting portraits of family members (both formal and informal), as well as holiday and vacation shots, almost all in black-and-white. He also captured some spectacular landscape shots of the farm where I now live. I feel fortunate to have prints of a lot of his images. I guess you could say I'm following in his footsteps.

Of my contemporaries, I would have to say that Kathleen Connally and Diane Varner have both been a great inspiration to me. Other photographers that inspire me include Judith Polakoff, Will Williams, Sean Bailey, Martin Gommel, and Uwe Eischens. All are very talented photographers, each having their own unique style that sets them apart.

KP Images
A great Spangled Fritillary butterfly.

I don't really have a preferred method for post-processing. I usually take the raw image and decide what enhancements I feel it needs to convey the type of mood that I want. Some shots get very minimal processing - levels/saturation/sharpening - while others get a bit heavier treatment, changing them from "just okay" to an image that makes the viewer say "wow".

There are only 3 tools that I use when post-processing - Neat Image for noise removal, and Photoshop Elements 5 and PhotoFiltre Studio 9 for all other enhancements. My time spent post-processing an image is usually under 30 minutes. I feel that, if I can't get the final vision that I want in that time-frame, then it's not going to happen.

My hope is to continue learning all that I can to take my photography as far it can go, taking a few photography courses, and possibly a workshop or two. At some point, I also would like to begin selling prints of a few of my images, through an online service or a local gallery, or possibly both.

When I'm not behind the lens, I also enjoy gardening, antiques, and living life "off the beaten path".

Check out more of Kim Parsell's work at KP Images.

KP Images
Clouds from a late afternoon thunderstorm.

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