Al Wood is a good man to know!
You don’t have a chance to meet many people like Al Wood, who is extremely creative, totally aside from his photography. Over the years, he has been into wood carving, sculpture, working in bronze and even into some “serious” woodworking. For a period of 10 years, he exhibited his lathe-turned wooden pens and pencils at craft fairs at Nashville’s Centennial Park.
And…did I mention that he has two antique cars in his garage on which he has done some of the restoration work?
And then there’s his photography, on which he got “hooked” when he was about 13 years old. He began with film and continues with that in about 5-10% of his current work. This includes doing his own developing, both black and white and color. His prints are then scanned into one of 3 scanners on his desk, from which point they are post processed. He also has medium format cameras and his go-to camera is a “different kind” of mirrorless camera from Sony. He is partial to Lightroom and DxO Lab processing software. And, yes, he prints all his work, both film or digital.
Prior to my interview, I sent him 3 questions I wanted him to answer. Here are the questions, with the gist of his responses in quotation marks.
- What aspect of your photography do you have difficulty with and wish that you could improve? “I find it hard to create inventory…to keep accumulating new images that can stimulate me creatively…ones that I feel are worthy of post processing. From a technical standpoint I have been reluctant to gain the skills needed to use Photoshop for creating composites. I struggle with how to take something natural and transform it into fine art without a lot of gimmickry.”
- If you could offer a single bit of advice to a new photographer, what would it be? “Don’t buy a camera if it doesn’t have a drop-down LCD that can be used for waist level shooting…Enter as many competitions as you have time for…Every time you go through the process, the fact that you look critically at your images before you choose the ones to enter will help improve your photographs.”
- What would photographers benefit from knowing more about? “How to create the sharpest images from their camera and lens combinations…an image that is technically sharp gives you a lot more options when deciding to use the file.”
And, in addition to all of this, he is, a nice guy. A good man to know.