In the Lens: An Interview with Bill Birkemeier

If you’ve been to our practice, you’ve probably noticed all the beautiful nature and scenery photographs hanging on the walls.   In fact, we get compliments and questions about the photos and the artist on almost a daily basis.   Given all the interest, I decided to interview the photographer, Bill Birkemeier, who is also a patient of Clearview Eye Care.  Many of the prints in his online portfolio are hanging in our office.   You could even say Clearview Eye is a working gallery, of sorts, so feel free to stop by our office, grab a cup of coffee and walk the “gallery.”

How would you describe your style of photography?

Well I like the challenge of getting good images of most anything whether it be family snapshots or sweeping vistas, but I most like taking photos of nature and natural landscapes.  I suppose that’s partly because living on the Outer Banks, good subjects are easy to find all the time.

What is your favorite subject to photo?

I like taking photos of birds, they’re ready subjects and very challenging of photographer and equipment.  I take thousands of images of birds and every once in a while I get a good one – the feathers are in focus, the bird has a great expression (and a glint in the eye), the light is right and the composition is interesting.  It doesn’t happen often, but its fun when it does (like hitting a great drive in golf!).  I particularly like black skimmers.  They’re like barnstorming pilots in flight – they charge into the shallow water zooming along, lower beak skimming the water ready to catch an unsuspecting fish – then circling around to do it again.  We’ve watched their acrobatic flights for hours – there’s so much action, birds flying, fish jumping.  There’s a nice skimmer photo in my 2010 calendar and there’s one on my web site.  In the photo I’ve attached is of an immature skimmer in flight with fish jumping all around.  If you look close you can also the wake of the beak streaming out behind.

Of all your prints, do you have one that is your favorite?  Why?

This question is easy.  When I got my first digital SLR and was trying to figure it out, I spent a Saturday morning photographing a pot of shells that sits on our front porc
h.  I used the hose to keep them wet and experimented with different mixes of daylight and flash.  I took a lot of photos, but one image really turned out great.  A good image should draw you in and this one with its colors, texture and shadows one does just that.  It prints well as a 5×7 or a 20×30.  I have a copy on my wall at work and a larger one at home and we have yet to tire of it. You have one on your shop wall. We’ve also printed it as a greeting card.

Interestingly, since this photo was taken, the shells have bleached out so its become a once in a lifetime image.

In your opinion, what makes the Outer Banks such a great place for the art of photography?

You can catch a sunrise over water in the morning and watch a spectacular over water sunset that evening. Birds galore, dramatic skies, big waves, storms, big vistas, boats, and lighthouses are all great subjects.  Even the classic scenes change during the year – for example when we had a dusting of snow, I was out taking photos I’ve taken before – but the snow provided a fresh look.  Its just a wonderful place to be.

How can people learn more about your portfolio or purchase prints?

Your shop is a great gallery with many of my favorite shots.  Its nice to hear that people are enjoying them.  My website has many more images (and not all from the Outer Banks).  We also have a great calendar and wonderful card set which showcase some of my best images.