Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background, where you are from etc.
Hi, I'm Jessica Tejera. I love to venture outdoors with my family and blog about my eco-friendly travels on my blog, The Walking Mermaid. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and have lived in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Hawaii. Growing up my dad always took my brothers and I camping, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, back country camping, snorkeling, biking, and pretty much anything that had to do with the great outdoors. My passion for caring for our planet and exploring it continued to grow over the years with my own adventures. Now as a mom of two girls, I want to give them a childhood where they will learn to love the outdoors and care for it as much as I do.
Q: What camera do you shoot with?
Now that I'm more serious about my photography and want to create more professional images, my husband surprised me for my birthday with a Canon Rebel T6 kit. It’s not the best quality camera out there but it is definitely the best place to start when taking your photography to a more professional level.
Q: What is your “go to” lens?
My go to lens at the moment is the EFS 18-55mm. I like the range of it for portraits and landscapes. I also use an EF 75-300mm lens when I'm shooting wildlife or the moon.
Q: How and why did you get into photography?
Along with my journeys, photography is one hobby I took on at an early age. My mom and dad owned a Minolta camera. The old school ones with the film. I remember them taking it on some of our adventures. I grew to like taking photos as well. My very first camera was a Polaroid camera. You know, those that print the photo right away. I remember taking pictures of my friends, my mom’s flower gardens, and pretty much everything I could possibly find.
I eventually got my first sports camera when I lived in Puerto Rico along with my first digital camera. Not the best quality per say. I have eventually grown from then and upgraded to a GoPro Hero 3 and a Sony camera when we lived in Hawaii. Last year I got the Canon and can’t wait to continue to grow in my photography.
My mom and dad have taught me many of the things I know about photography. My mom always taught me about poses, lighting, angles while my dad taught me more of the technical side of it such as aperture, ISO, lenses, shooting speeds, and editing.
Q: What places, states or countries have you gone shooting?
As far as my blog goes I have taken photos in Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. I want to continue to add to this list over time.
Q: How often do you shoot and what is your favorite genre?
I shoot anything from one to six times a week. Whether they are for photo sessions, for projects with Visit Clarksville, my shop, or even my blog travels. My favorite genre to shoot though would have to be outdoors with waterfalls at the very top of that list of outdoor destinations.
Q: What is your favorite photo that you have taken and why? Please explain how you took it, was it all planned, if so, what was your planning process?
My favorite photo is of Ranger Falls at South Cumberland State Park. I took this photo during my father-daughter backpacking trip last May. I had planned ahead the entire trip and even talked to my dad. I wanted to get a perfect waterfall shot. I had tried before and failed miserably. It’s not perfect but it was a good start towards the right direction.
We started our hiking trip that Saturday morning and headed to Laurel Falls. This was where I took my very first waterfall shot that I was extremely happy about. I jotted in my notepad really quickly and then we headed off to continue our trip. Once we reached our halfway point at Ranger Falls I decided to try it out again before the rain started pouring down. I captured the image I had always wanted to capture for the second time that day. I was so extremely excited. I got lucky too cause shortly after taking about three photos it started to rain.
Q: What was the hardest thing you've learned in photography?
Well I'm going to be honest. I'm still learning. I'm in no way a professional, yet! I have been treating my photography on a more professional level since August of 2017. I have shot before but not with any intention of actually publishing my work and making it a career. I think the hardest thing is editing photos. I have learned a lot since I started but I know I still have a lot more to learn.
Q: What do you hope to still learn/improve?
I want to continue to learn how to edit better. I'm sure my editing skills can improve greatly with the more I learn from other photographers, courses, and yes, YouTube. I also hope to learn how to use Photoshop down the road. Not to completely change my image but to do small edits to them or even for business projects. I think it’s a great tool to have in the photography business.
Q: What challenges you the most in photography?
Q: What challenges you the most in photography?
Besides the photography aspect of things, I never gave much thought of the legal aspect of it. I think that above editing or learning how to get good quality photos, the legal side of it is the hardest of the two but the beauty of it being hard is that I put more time and interest into making it easy by learning “the ways of the force.”
Q: What's one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out or early in their photography journey?
It is never too late to learn. Whether you are in high school or already going over the hill, if you like to take photos, then I say go for it. There is nothing better then to be doing something that you are truly passionate about. Also, don’t be scared to ask other photographers questions either. I ask big social media influencers and other photographers questions all the time. They’re human just like you are and many of them are willing to help others. I am pretty sure they can relate as well. We all were there once, asking questions and seeking tips and advice on how to improve.
Q: Can you please share some of your favorite photos – say 3 max. and why you like them.
- Helton Creek Falls - This waterfall has a special place in my heart. When my husband and I went on our first camping trip we went to Vogel State Park. The very first hike we did together was Helton Creek Falls. Now every time I visit it it takes me back to that day we hiked to this beautiful gem in Blairsville, Georgia.
- Anna Ruby Falls - This was a fun summer family trip. We headed out to visit the beautiful German town of Helen, Georgia. As we were headed out I was the sign for Anna Ruby Falls and told my husband that I heard the falls were beautiful there. He didn’t hesitate and decided to take a quick detour to the falls. Best detour ever. Anna Ruby Falls was so much more than what I was expecting it to be.
- Ranger Falls at South Cumberland State Park - This photo is special to me because it reminds me of a special father-daughter moment that my dad and I had. During the rain we sat under a tree eating trail mix and talking about everything. We opened up to each other, laughed, shared life goals, and even bonded like never before. It was really good to have that time with my dad and be able to bond like that. It had been over ten years since we talked like that.
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