Inspirational Photographers: Conor MacNeill

      Welcome to my new blog section on Inspirational Photographers, every few weeks or so I will share a photographer that has helped me find inspiration in my photographic journey. My first selection is the Great Conor MacNeill, this guy’s photos are some of the first to inspire me to start HDR photography. His travel portfolio is packed with hundreds of locations from all reaches of the planet. If you’re looking for inspiration, great pictures or just new places to travel check out his three websites listed below.

The Fella.com

Here is the short interview I did with Conor…

How many years have you been “behind the lens”?:
I’ve been doing photography for just under 2 years now. In January 2011, I saw a Canon 500D on sale on Amazon and thought I’d give it a go. I did a little bit of photography when I was around 14 years old, but like most childhood hobbies, it shortly fell by the wayside.

the Three People Who Inspire You Most:
It’s hard to narrow down my inspiration to just one. The first thing I tried when I got my camera was HDR photography. This was due to two people. The first one, and perhaps a clichéd and common choice, is Trey Ratcliff (http://www.stuckincustoms.com). His work a few years ago was very inspiring and to some extent, also his recent work.

The second person to inspire me to get started was actually my friend Greg Annandale (http://gregannandale.com). He mainly does HDRs, but also has a vast range of styles and techniques and often brings a fresh slant on things. His advice on processing (and gear) has been invaluable.

The third person who has inspired me is yourself,  Dave Morrow. I discovered your work on SmugMug after you left a comment on my portfolio and I was flabbergasted. It’s been a long time since another photographer has consistently impressed me and left me speechless, but you have managed to do it. Your scenes and processing are actually second to none and you’re currently my favorite photographer. I say currently, so keep up the hard work or you’ll drop a place…

Photography Rituals:
I don’t really have any particular rituals per se. If I’m traveling on my own, I’ll often listen to music when scouting out locations. This music is usually ska or grunge. When I’m actually involved in a shoot, what I do depends on where I am. A lot of times, I’m at a remote location, just before sunrise, so I like to take out my earphones and just sit in silence and take in the mood. It’s not often you get to see the sun set over the Great Wall of China or rise over a mystical lake in Slovenia, so make the most of your time and appreciate the scenery for what it is.

Favorite Post Processing Tools:
The tools I use all the time are Photomatix and Photoshop (CS6). I love the new crop tool in CS6, as it makes seeing your final result much easier. Plus, it’s non-destructive and having an option that’s reversible is always a bonus. As for plugins, I nearly always use NIK Color Efex. Within this, I’ll most likely use the contrast filters, sometimes cross-processing and nearly always the darken/lighten center, which gives a much nicer and more subtle vignette than anything else I’ve used. I will nearly always have a vignette on each of my images, even if it’s almost imperceptible, as it will still draw your eye in, whether you realize it or not.
I will often delve into the various Topaz filters and sometimes use OnOne Perfect Effects, although very subtly, as I find their filters to be a bit over the top and need turned back for my style of photography.

Conor’s 3 Favorite Photos: Find the full portfolio at The Fella.com

Cormorant Fisherman by Conor MacNeill
Majestic Norway by Conor MacNeillYangshuo Cyclist by Conor MacNeill