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I am Nikonians

Diane L. Simmons (coolmom42) Interview

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)


Keywords: travel, landscape, photography, nikonians, coolmom42

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I live in central Tennessee, in the southeast US, less than 20 miles from where I grew up.   My family goes back eight generations in this area, and the hills of Tennessee are in my blood.

I really have three favorite areas in where to photograph, about a 40-mile radius of my home; the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, and the mountains and prairies of Montana and Wyoming.

01

Sunrise
Nikon D7200, lens @ 55mm, f/8, 1/5s, ISO 100, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

This area of Tennessee has an abundance of natural beauty. Rolling hills with lush woods, many streams, and waterfalls, are home to a good diversity of wildlife.   These natural assets are preserved and accessible in an extensive state park system.   Additionally, many historic sites and Civil War battlefields are preserved in the National Park system.  

So far as subjects, I spend a lot of time trying to capture my vision of the natural beauty around me.  Getting that vision into an image is always challenging.   My other favorite subjects are my five grandchildren, who are always photogenic (through my grandma eyes) but definitely not the easiest subjects.  

02

Sis & Luke
Nikon D7200, lens @ 55 mm, f/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 4000, handheld
Click for an enlargement

 

I started out with a D3100 and the kit lens, the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II DX Nikkor. I’ve moved up to a D7200, but that lens is still my most heavily used lens; it’s ideal for many situations, easy to carry around, and has very nice image quality.  

My next most used lens is the 55-300mm f/4-5.6G ED VR IIDX Nikkor,for more reach and good close-ups with nice bokeh at its long end. 

03

New Leaf
Nikon D3100, lens @ 300mm, f/10, 1/200s, ISO 200, handheld
Click for an enlargement

 

I’ve recently added a 105mm f/2.8 micro Nikkor, as well as a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle, and have begun experimenting with them, with mixed results!

I find that zoom lenses are generally much more useful to me than primes; quite often a situation simply doesn’t allow “zooming with your feet.”

04

Dignity
Nikon D7200, lens @ 40mm, f/8, 4s, ISO 100, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

I was seriously considering a camera upgrade several years ago, as my family and travel increased, and was leaning towards a Nikon DSLR.  One day I stumbled on a GREAT deal in a larger discount retailer, for a D3100 kit with 2 lenses. That purchase of a Nikon camera led me to look for HELP and ways to sharpen my skills. And a Google search led me to Nikonians!

05

Stones River Sunset
Nikon D3100, lens @ 30mm, f/11, 1/500s, ISO 200, handheld
Click for an enlargement

 

Like many members, I started out with a basic membership, and began reading on the forums.   It was immediately clear to me that the site was a tremendous high-quality resource, for any area of photography.   More reading further impressed me with the congenial and supportive attitude of the community, which is definitely superior to all other sites I’ve visited. 

06

Emiquon Sunrise
Nikon D3100, lens @ 10mm, f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 400, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

I can ask ANY question, and depend on getting accurate, quality information.   I also learn a tremendous amount by reading the questions from other members, and the answers.

 

07

Night Lights
Nikon D3100, lens @ 45mm, f/18, 6s, ISO 100, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

It’s very encouraging to find that others have many of the same struggles and issues that I do, and to see the high-quality work that is possible.   The support of a like-minded community helps keep me motivated to get out and shoot!

08

Devils’s Tower
Nikon D7200, lens @ 18mm, f/8.9, 1/125s, ISO 200, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

The camera you use is the one you have with you, so keep it close by, as much as possible.  Shoot multiple compositions from multiple positions, any time that is possible.    Define your subject; make that the dominant element in the image.   Try to get it right in the camera, but don’t delete an image until you’ve tried to salvage it in post-processing.  And possibly the best piece of advice I’ve ever received—when you see a sunset (or sunrise), look behind you!   (Yes, that’s more than one piece of advice!)

09

Window
Nikon D7200, lens @ 32mm, f/7.1, 1/80s, ISO 100, on tripod
Click for an enlargement

 

My first trip through Glacier National Park on Going to the Sun Road, was something I will never forget.   The power of the mountains and the beauty of the sky is indescribable.   There is no limit to the vistas and photo opportunities, and capturing them is the challenge of a lifetime. 

Thank you, Diane, for sharing with us some of your images and your thoughts, the reasons why you love our Nikonians community and have chosen to more actively support our members as a moderator. Again, thank you.

You may want to visit her profile as well.

Originally written on November 26, 2018

Last updated on November 28, 2018

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 43740 posts

7 comments

Russell Whittemore (rosewood_ltd) on December 1, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Another overdue profile. It's always great to see more of your work, Diane. Once again, kudos to Marsha and jrp for keeping this wonderful little feature of our community alive and well.

Carman Pagano (the diewrecktor) on November 27, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Thank you for providing the insights, Diane. I have enjoyed seeing your images and your comments. Look behind you is such great advice.

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on November 27, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Such an enjoyable article and great photography Dianne. It was a pleasure to read and learn more of your background and seeing more of your images. Nice job JRP. The members do a lot of the heavy lifting but it takes coordination to deliver this feature.

Bonnie Christensen (BChrisRad) on November 27, 2018

Donor ribbon awarded for her most generous contribution to the 2017 campaign. Ribbon awarded for her most generous support to the 2018 fundraising  campaign

Thank you Ramon and Diane for this article. I always enjoy reading about our members and hearing about their photographic journeys. Diane, it always a pleasure to see the photos you post of your grandchildren and the beautiful part of the country you live in. With a good friend moving to Townsend, TN, I hope to visit TN in the not too distant future.

Dale Maas (marnigirl) on November 26, 2018

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous contribution to the 2017-2018 fundraising campaign

Diane, your images are always of interest to me. The ones you have included in this interview are lovely. You sound grounded and your expertise has grown to where you are very comfortable. So glad to have read your comments and I feel as if I know you much better now. Keep clicking and know that I always look even though you may not see a post from me. Just know that I look because I know your images will be worthy. Take Care, Dale

Steve McTeer (NRVVA) on November 26, 2018

Diane's images of her grandchildren are always very candid, humorous, and heart-warming, and reason enough to "follow" her on this site. :)

Kathy Cavallaro (Cavy2) on November 26, 2018

Awarded for her continuing willingness to keep on learning and to share her knowledge with others in the Nikonians spirit

Thanks JRP and Diane for this piece. I enjoy reading about our members and getting to know more about their backgrounds. You live in a beautiful place Diane, one I hope to visit someday. Thanks for sharing your beautiful images and showing off your many talents!

G