The Leonards MIke and kit

Goodbye Darkroom, Hello Lightroom

MIke Leonard

1. Q: When did you both take up photography together?

We were both involved in photography before we met. Most of our leisure time involved some sort of travel or activity focused on enjoying the natural world. Photography was an integral part of these activities as it is to this day. While working full time, we enjoyed photography when the opportunity allowed. Since retirement it has become one of our more enjoyable activities.

2. Q: Do you share equipment?

We each owned our own film camera equipment at the time we met. After going digital we shared various point and shoot cameras over the years until we decided to move up to digital SLR’s. We soon realized that attempts at sharing equipment became more difficult. Too frequently we wanted to use the same camera or lens at the same time. Although this did build our skills of personal patience, it was not conducive to our creative flow. We now have our own camera bodies and favorite lenses. Kit does share, on occasion, some of her specialized lenses for macro and wide-angle work.

Kit Leonard

3. Q: Tell us little about your styles

Kit’s style - I have always been drawn to nature as a place of adventure, tranquility and beauty. Animals with their interactions and reactions to each other, and to humans, have always fascinated me. Through my photography I look to capture the essence of the moment, exceptional light, and the personality of the subject.

Mikes Style – Although wildlife, landscape, and architecture are my primary interest, I am also drawn to unique and unusual visual opportunities that present themselves. I get equally excited photographing a bug or an eagle, dew or a waterfall, a wildflower or a forest. My challenge is to successfully capture images I sense are good design with interesting composition and light. I view life as a continuous learning experience and regularly explore new areas that interest me. Macro photography, focus stacking, ND filters, blurs, night images, and off camera flash photography are subjects I am currently attempting to learn and get better at.

Lightroom is our post processing/ organizational tool of choice. With the exception of occasional black and white conversions in Silver Effects Pro, the only image post processing we do are minor adjustments within Lightroom.

Kit Leonard

4. Q: Who was the 1st to pick up a camera?

It’s hard to say who picked up a camera first. Kit began using a camera in her teens. By her early 20's She set up her first darkroom and started developing film and printing black and white photos. Her camera of choice was the Nikon F, which she used for almost 3 decades.

Mike acquired his first camera as a gift when he was 6 years old. A Bakelite Kodak Holiday Brownie, which he still owns. His first serious camera was a Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder he bought while in Vietnam. It was an exceptional camera with a fast fixed lens. Kit picked up additional Nikon SLR bodies and a Kowa Six medium format camera over the years. Mike went SLR in 1973 when Olympus came out with the OM-1. At the time Mikes opinion was that conventional SLR’s were similar in size and weight to a brick. He was attracted to the size reduction as well as the design, innovation and performance of the Olympus OM-1. The Nikon F and the Olympus OM-1 were the equipment we were using when we met in 1979.

Kit Leonard

5. Q: When, where and how did you meet?

in the late 1970’s Kit lived in a somewhat remote area of the San Bernardino Mountains and Mike bought the house next door. The homes were located adjacent to 30 acres of national forest. We met as neighbors and grew to know each other during frequent walks in the adjoining woods. Kit was an Educational Psychologist working for the San Bernardino ESD and Mike worked for SC Edison participating in the building of 500kv tower lines between the LA basin, Palm Springs and Phoenix. The choice of residential location was centrally convenient to our employment and the environment was green, which we both preferred to brown.

6. Q: First date?

Our first date was a probably a hike in the forest along a quiet stream near our homes. Backpacking in the Sierras and skiing at Mammoth were mutual interest that we frequently did together. Our first major trip together was a two week journey from southern California to Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands by way of Vancouver Island and the inside passage. We have a photo of Kit photographing a bee in a flower at Butchart Gardens in 1981 that could have been taken last summer. This trip was our first exposure to Anacortes and the positive impression gained stayed with us and is somewhat responsible for us eventually settling here.

by Mike Leonard
Created By
Karla Locke

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