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I am Nikonians

Mick Klass (mklass) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Keywords: landscape, wildlife, macro, industrial, architecture, mklass


I am a semi-professional photographer that lives in Tacoma, Washington. I’ve lived here for nine years, and previously lived in the Northeast and Midwest, growing up in Buffalo, NY. I spent over 30 years in the railroad industry, starting as a labourer and working my way up to a marketing executive position. Two years ago I moved to a rail related job in the manufacturing industry. The change has been great, but it keeps me very busy and has cut down on the time I have for photography.


Burroughs Mountain View. ©2008 Mick Klass
From the top of Second Burroughs Mountain in Mt Rainier National Park.
Nikon D300, 10.5mm f/2.8 AF ED-IF Fisheye DX Nikkor
Click for an enlargement


Tacoma is a seaport/industrial town that has suffered from the decline in manufacturing in the US. Most of the interesting old industrial buildings have been torn down as the city tries to gentrify and become a mini-Seattle. Never-the-less, photographing the remaining “old” Tacoma is interesting, and there is the scenery afforded by Puget Sound, the nearby Cascade and Olympic mountains (including Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks), the vibrancy of Seattle, wildlife (especially eagles, herons, migrating swans, geese and owls), and the many museums and collections of historic aircraft and automobiles. There really is something here for any photographic interest. The only downside is the dreary weather from October to June. 50 shades of gray really do describe the rainy season in the Pacific North West.


Catching Breakfast. ©2011 Mick Klass
Heron looking for food in the early morning. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in Washington.
Nikon D3S, 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG HSM OS Sigma
Click for an enlargement


I get bored shooting a single subject, so I tend to shoot anything else that will result in an interesting image. But I think geometrically - lines, colors and patterns catch my eye. I am most interested in architecture and industrial photography, especially the details in a structure. I tend to prefer to shoot with a telephoto, so for me a walk around lens is an 18-300mm superzoom, instead of something 100mm or less on the long end. (Which doesn’t explain why I have so many wide angle lenses!)


Fisheye View of Tall Stacks. ©Michael Klass 2006
Cincinnati Tall Stacks Festival from the Purple People Bridge.
Nikon D80, 10.5mm f/2.8 AF ED-IF Fisheye DX Nikkor
Click for an enlargement


I can’t remember how I found the Nikonians Community - it will soon be more than a decade that I have been a member. At first I was attracted to the concentration on Nikon equipment. In 2004 I got back into photography after a long absence, with a D70 and 2 kit lenses. Nikonians was a great resource of information on equipment and technique in a friendly, cooperative manner. What I saw spurred me to want to improve my photography as well as my equipment (perhaps I’ve done better at the latter than the former, thanks NAS!).


Fisheye Waves. ©2010 Mick Klass
Fisheye View of Salmon Waves by Paul Sorey - 2001. Installed above the fish ladder at the Chittenden Locks, Seattle, WA.
Nikon D3S, 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Fisheye Sigma
Click for an enlargement


I have learned a lot from other members and the various articles in the community. I also hope I have been able to make some contributions to other photographers as well as to the success of Nikonians. For the most part, the community is a collegial community of photographers with most people just want to be helpful, not to show-off. The ability to find information on techniques, equipment characteristics and equipment use is very valuable; there truly are no stupid questions in the Nikonians Community.


Foss Skiff. ©2011 Mick Klass
Replica at the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, Tacoma, WA.
Nikon D700, 24-120mm f/4G AF-S ED VR
Click for an enlargement



Light points. ©2007 Mick Klass
At the Institute of Art & Culture, Matamoros, Mexico.
Nikon D80, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AFS VR DX Nikkor
Click for an enlargement



Lubricator. ©2013 Mick Klass
A hydrostatic lubricator in the cab of a steam locomotive at the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.
Nikon D800E, 85mm f/1.4G EX DG HSM Sigma
Click for an enlargement


In addition, I have met some great people through the community. For a while we had an active chapter in the Pacific Northwest of the US (chapter which, unfortunately, has become less active due to my increased workload). Plus when I travel, I have been able to meet up with several members and arrange to shoot with them. Great learning experiences and great camaraderie! 


Middle Waterway #1. ©2012 Mick Klass
Tacoma's Middle Waterway with dry-dock MINI No 1, tug. Andrew Foss and Simpson Tacoma Kraft paper mill.
Nikon D3S, 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Fisheye Sigma
Click for an enlargement


By way of sharing advice - Slow down, think about what you want to capture, create something unique, and get a great image based on your skill. Except when shooting sports or wildlife, when luck can be more important and continuous shooting is your best friend.


Wall of Glass. ©2008 Mick Klass
Chihuly Glass in Tacoma, WA.
Nikon D300, 10.5mm f/2.8 AF ED-IF Fisheye DX Nikkor
Click for an enlargement


Probably the most fun and satisfying shoot that I have done was a corporate job that involved shooting from a helicopter for 12 hours over 2 days. 1400 shots and about 30% were worth a further look, which under the circumstances was a pretty good keeper rate. I got some great advice in advance from other Nikonians regarding equipment to use and settings. That all paid off. The only thing they didn’t adequately warn me about was the potential for airsickness. Fortunately, that never came to a complete conclusion, but next time Dramamine is on my prep list!

Mick, you have shown us your great facility with the camera and the breadth in the type of work that you have undertaken. It is a pleasure to review your images and to have benefited from your knowledge and advice that you freely share.

Originally written on October 26, 2017

Last updated on November 29, 2017

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

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

Lethbridge, Canada
Team, 7241 posts

More articles by Marsha Edmunds

More... More...


J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on November 17, 2017

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

Beautiful images, Mick. Thank you for all you do for the community.

David Summers (dm1dave) on November 17, 2017

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Thank you for sharing, Mick! It is great to learn a bit more about out long time members like you. Nice set of images.

Paul Blais (PBlais) on October 29, 2017

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

A wonderful selection of your work! It's a pleasure to see you featured! I always thought so :)

John D. Roach (jdroach) on October 27, 2017

Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017

Excellent images and interesting article. Way to go, Mick.

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on October 26, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Another wonderful article and nice to get to know you a bit better Mick. I do feel the same on the points you mentions about Nikonians. Great series of images here, and always look forward to your posts and interactions. Thanks to Marsha for getting it out of course too. Cheers,

Kathy Cavallaro (Cavy2) on October 26, 2017

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

Enjoyed the article and the images Mick, especially the Fisheye Waves and Foss Skiff. Beautiful and creative! I've enjoyed your posts over the years and have benefited from your knowledge. Thanks Marsha for putting this series of articles together. It's fun to read about the photographic journeys and see more images from these members!