IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH @MATT_BLUEJAY

 
 Photo by  @nyquest4

Photo by @nyquest4

1. What’s in your camera bag and what do you use for post-processing?                                          

I shoot with a Nikon D810 and Tamron lenses. Currently I shoot with the 15-30mm 2.8 and the 24-70mm. I use Adobe Lightroom for the bulk of my editing. I use Photoshop sometimes to reshape the photo or reduce noise if needed. 

 

2. At what age did you start shooting, and what got you started?                                                         

I dabbled with film cameras 20 years ago when I was in high school, but nothing serious. I got a DSLR as a gift, it was an old Nikon D70, 6-megapixel. After it sat around for a few months, I picked it up and never put it down, that was 3.5 years ago. That was the beginning of the addiction.

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

3. I know you’ve done a ton of traveling. What country or US state has been your favorite for abandoned buildings?                                                                                                                           

I would say hands down my best experience for exploring abandoned buildings was St. Louis, MO. Also the abandoned Petite Ceinture railway in Paris was amazing, even though it is not an abandoned building. 

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

4. What’s your dream location?                                                                                                             

I would love to go to Germany and explore some of those abandoned buildings but I definitely would want to get friendly with some locals first so they could get me in to all the good spots. (wink wink)

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

5. Abandoned locations are few and far between in your area. How do you usually find them?       

I find a lot by walking around downtown with my camera and seeing what kind of opportunities arise. Jacksonville downtown is 60% vacant, so there are plenty of abandoned buildings, but most of them have no character because they are too new. 

6. What do you like/dislike about exploring in Florida?                                                                       

I would say I hate the heat, both from the sun and the police... and the flesh eating mosquitos ain't no joke out here.

7. How would you describe the urbex scene in North Florida?                                                         

Actually I try to stay away from most of the people who consider themselves part of the scene here, I am 43 and a lot of these kids do a lot of stuff I don't agree with and get spots busted real quick. I try to keep my circle small with the few good homies I trust and shoot with, and keep the drama low.

8. What other types of photography are you into?                                                                             

My main passion has to be shooting live bands and concerts which I have been doing for a few years for a couple media outlets. I have been lucky enough to shoot almost all of my favorite bands and it has been like a dream. Landscape of course I will always love, and nature. But ultimately I'll shoot anything you put in front of my camera if I think it looks cool. I try not to limit myself to one thing because I do get bored after awhile.

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

9. What are you doing when you’re not shooting?                                                                   

Hanging out with my family and my 1st child, baby Zayne. He rules my world. I guess you can also say cooking is one of my hobbies or eating gummy bears and laying on the couch doing nothing. Plus, I own and operate Consignment City Marine which is a boat dealership out here in Jacksonville, FL.  

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

10. What’s been your favorite destination so far?                                                                           

Nothing to do with abandoned buildings but we went to Iceland in October 2016, and I have to say it was one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. Even though I tried getting the Northern Lights every night and failed, it gives me a reason to go back. 

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

11. A lot of your photos have a dark feel to them. How did you develop this style and what would your advice be to someone who’s trying to find their own unique style?                               

Honestly that is the way I have always done my photos and it might have something to do with my life being so dark the last few years due to my father's death and a few other things. Trust me if I was happy as a clown I would be posting rainbows and unicorns. My best advice to find your own style is to NOT try to find your own style, but keep shooting and things will fall in to place eventually. Also, be a fan of photography and support your friends, but don't ever try to emulate someone else's style too much.

 Photo by  @matt_bluejay

Photo by @matt_bluejay

12. Has fatherhood changed anything about your photography?                                                   

Well its made me want to post baby pictures every other day, but I won't do that to my followers. I'll just flood my instagram story with them, as some of you may know. LOL Obviously the freedom to go shoot and stay out late every night is less frequent, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

13. Will Zayne play a song on a guitar or shoot a picture in full manual first?                             

What do you mean? He is already dropping bangers and playing Stairway to Heaven backwards. Nah, I'll be happy with either one of those, but he's definitely going to be exposed to as much arts as I can possibly show him. My wife is a professional cellist, and I have been playing guitar most of my life, so there is a good chance he will be a musician before anything else.

14. What do you have coming up? Any new equipment you’re waiting on, locations to visit, or will you be showing your work?                                                                                                                     

I am showing/selling my work currently in a few local restaurant galleries. I do plan on a trip to Utah or the desert in the next year or so. I've explored a lot abroad but I feel like I've neglected my own country because there is so much to see. Plus I have been waiting to shoot the Milky Way with no light pollution for the first time and Utah seems like the spot. As far as equipment goes, the only thing I really need is the 70 - 200 2.8 to complete my trinity of lenses. That will have to wait until I decide to give myself a Christmas bonus. 

15. Where can we follow your work?                                                                                               

Tinder. HAHA jk.

Instagram - @matt_bluejay.

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mattbluejayphoto/

 

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT WITH @KALIBRATION

 Photo By:  @n.cwade

Photo By: @n.cwade

George, 14 - Kansas City, MO

1. What equipment do you shoot with, and what software do you use for post-processing?     

About 6 months ago I upgraded from a Nikon D3300 to a Canon 5d mark IV, and I'm very happy with that decision because the full frame sensor now allows me a lot more opportunity in low light spots. The lens I use in all my abandoned photos is a sigma 12-24 F4 art which I really love because the extremely wide angle allows me to get unique angles and really show how big some places can be. I use a Yomei carbon fiber tripod as well, and I also have a sigma 50mm F/1.4 which i use primarily for portraits. For editing, I use Adobe Lightroom!

2. How long have you been into photography and what got you started?

I really got into photography from exploring around the city with my dad and taking photos of the weird stuff I'd see with my phone. I started realizing that taking photos and exploring stuff I wasn't normally exposed to was something i really enjoyed, so for my 12th birthday in 2015 I got my first camera, A nikon D3300.

 Photo By:  @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

3. Do you have a favorite photo that you’ve taken?

Yes! Well i have 2, actually. The first one was a photo I took of a beautiful pool in an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Kansas City. I really like the angle i got of it and it always interests me every time I look at it. My other favorite photo I've taken was of an Abandoned church with beautiful woodwork and I think the architecture in it is amazing.

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

4. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen when shooting an abandoned location?

I have definitely seen a lot of crazy things exploring I never expected myself to see. I've only had a few instances where I have been caught but they have all ended up going well. I've also had my fair share of running into people such as scrappers or homeless people but they have all been calm for the most part, especially if you let them know you are just taking photos. I think my craziest encounter would have to be being chased out of a school by 3 very large dogs or running into 2 seemingly calm but still startling pitbulls that were in a room of an abandoned Bible College, but luckily both ended up fine!

5. Are people surprised when they find out how old you are, considering how good your work is?

I think a lot of people are surprised not necessarily by the photos I take but more the fact that a kid would be going into Abandoned buildings for enjoyment. I have definitely had people surprised I take photos at my age but I think thats just because it's not all that popular within my age group, but hopefully that changes.

6. What do your parents think of you going exploring at such a young age?

My dad actually takes me exploring a lot of the time! He isn't as big into photos or social media, but he loves old buildings and a good adventure! I probably would not be doing this interview right now if it weren't for my dad as a matter of fact. My mom also knows I explore and she definitely isn't fond of it, but she also doesn't mind. She just prefers not to hear about it hahaha.

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

7. What’s your favorite part about exploring abandoned buildings?

I'm a very curious person, so when I see a place that looks like people just left it, I'm always curious to figure out why. I love looking at places and imagining what it would have been like when it was active. But overall my favorite part is just the rush it can give you and how you never know what is going to happen.

8. How would you describe your style?

I'd say my style is trying to have a lot of detail in one photo, so you can look at it for a while and not get bored of it. I also like to keep a fair amount of color in my photos to make them pop, but not too much color, just a good balance.

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

9. Who/what are your biggest influences?

There are honestly way too many to count, every photographer I follow on Instagram definitely motivates me, and each one has a really unique style and it is very hard to compare them, but I'll name just a few off the top of my head! @Matchupee @Sloppystick @babybulll @Frantastic420 @svvvk @benjihultsch @_bword @Pimpmycamel @liam_tansey @stormfritzphotography, @n.cwade, and many many more.

10. What do you do besides photography?

I also really love climbing, which often helps with exploring. I also love diving, swimming, hiking, biking, eating food, and playing Xbox!

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

11. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about photography/exploring so far, and what would be your best piece of advise for someone your age just starting out?

If I were talking to someone who is interested in exploring, the first thing I would tell them is to do their research and understand what they are doing. Knowing how to be respectful of a spot makes it not only easier for you but easier for everybody else who wishes to explore it. It is also important to know the inherent risks that exploring abandoned buildings possesses and to know what is safe enough to do and not. Exploring can push you out of your comfort zone which is a great thing but it's also good to know what has too high of a risk and not as much of a reward. This is a personal choice but I'd also recommend not carrying anything that could turn a simple trespassing ticket if you are caught into a felony, and in the case you are caught, being respectful and informing whoever catches you that you are simply taking photos can go a long away, at least in my case.

12. Where do you hope to go next?

In terms of exploring, my current list of places I wanna go are Philly, NYC, St. Louis, and anywhere in Europe

 Photo By:    @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration

13. Where can people find out more about you and/or follow your work?

My work can be found on my instagram @kalibration!

 Photo By:  @kalibration

Photo By: @kalibration