Behind the Image: NAU Guest Blogger – Grant Masters » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 272013

Photograph copyright Grant Masters

Under the Pier
I have found that I get my very best images while on vacation, when my photographic abilities are at their peak.  Traveling brings about so many new opportunities to explore places never seen before that have truly complimented my photographic “eye.”  While living in Arizona continues to provide beautiful opportunities to capture landscapes from vast desert to the snowy San Francisco Peaks, there is something exciting about a change of venue.

One thing that I love about my country, besides freedom, Star Wars, and cheeseburgers, just to name a few, is the amazing scenery from coast to coast.  I can begin a road trip in the deserts of Phoenix and end up climbing sand dunes in California or exploring the fall colors in the rolling hills of Virginia.  I certainly never have, nor will, say, “Well I guess I’ve seen every pretty landscape in America.  I can quit now.”  Regardless of where my journey takes me, the new locations will always provide a fresh perspective and usually some wonderful images.

As my point and shoot photography matured into a serious hobby, I began watching other photographers for inspiration.  I noticed that there were myriads of people with the same shot of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Grand Canyon, often taken 100 feet from the tourist parking lot.  While these can very often end up being stunning images, I was most impressed with the photographers that found a way to make these striking locations totally unique.  While photographing on a road trip along the California coast, I attempted to make this method a reality.  Everyone and their mother’s brother have taken a picture of a pier on a beach at sunset so how would my photograph be any different?  While walking the crowd-less Newport Beach in the wee hours of the morning, I had a notion to deviate from the beaten path and see if anything looked cool from beneath the pier.  Much to my luck, this particular pier had a wonderful abstract quality that completely took me in.  “Under the Pier,” as shown below, is the result.  The image certainly wasn’t the most difficult to capture but it reminds me to find a different way to look at things.

I shot this photograph using my Nikon D3000, zoomed out at an 18mm.  The dim early light under the pier caused me to shoot at an aperture of f/5 and a shutter speed of 1/100 sec.

About the Photographer:
My name is Grant Masters and I am a mechanical engineering student at Northern Arizona University.  A love for photography developed quickly which inspired me to also complete a photography minor.  While often seeming out of place to my comrades in thermal/fluids analysis, I am very appreciative of my passion.  My love lies with fine art photography, including local wildlife, landscapes, and what pops of abstract color I may find.  I also greatly enjoy creating portraits of others.  My goal is to create images that my friends, family, and strangers can simply enjoy.  For more examples of my work please see

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at

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