An Interview with William Lee


We sit down for an interview with William Lee, from the United States.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am an amateur photographer. I live in Portland Oregon with my wife and daughters.

What is your occupation?

I’m currently unemployed, you know, one of  the victims of economic recession,  but when I am working, I am a programmer for software development on MS Windows and Unix.

When and how did you get into photography?

Photography has been my passion since I was a teenager. I was brought into the beauty of photography about 31 years ago by an article posted on the wall of my school – it was about how to make your own needle hole camera and the theory of film. With my limited teenage budget, I could not afford a Kodak point and shoot 135mm camera. A hand made camera was the only hope I had to start photographing the beauty of this world, so I hand made two cameras at a fractional cost, then I started photography.

Have you entered you photographs into any competitions?

Yes, I have entered my photographs into different kinds of competitions. From local contests to international competitions. Including Energizer Ultimate on National Geographic, dpchallenge, betterphoto, Nikon moving moment, Canon catch the color, Konica cup, and so on.

The Forgotten Beauty

The Forgotten Beauty

The forgotten beauty – captured on June 5th, 2010 , crescent beach, Oregon. It was one hour hike for me to access this forgotten place. I captured 3 frames for HDR processing. Due to slow shutter, the motion patterns are all different in the 3 frames. The automatic HDR processing can’t determine the best pattern for you, so I hadto manually blend the originals to retain the motion pattern on the ocean. I like this one because mother nature gave me a matching cloud pattern which looks like motion blur  in the symmetrical direction.

On which websites can our readers find your photographs? Do you have a personal website?

My primary portfolios are on dpchallenge and betterphoto. I’ve recently created my own site.

What type of camera equipment do you own and why?

I own Canon EOS 7D, Canon EOS 20D, Canon EOS Elen II-e (film camera) and Nikon FM2 (full manual film camera). EOS 7D is a good choice for amateur and even pro. I do a lot of landscapes and seascapes, it’s weather sealed feature set my mind at ease no matter whether I am going ocean side or mountain high. My primary lenses are Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM and the recently added Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for Canon. This is my first Sigma product and it gave me very good impression. At its 10mm, I still can add two filters. It’s an excellent lens. The EF 70-200mm is not long enough for wildlife, but is good for hummingbirds and outdoor portrait.

What software do you use to edit your photos?

I use Photoshop CS3, Neat image and Picasa 3 for most of the post processing tasks.

My Favorite Flowers

My Favorite Flowers

My favorite flowers – captured on July 29th, 2010 Portland, Oregon. I used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM at 175mm. The shutter speed was 1/250s. Natural light and flash mixed. I usually use high speed shutter like 1/2000s for hummingbirds. I was surprised 1/250s still gave me good results on this one. I like this one because it’s very hard to focus when shooting hummingbirds with flowers and luckily  this one was in focus. I am happy I have at least one success among all hundreds of failed attempts.

Do you have a favourite lens?

My favorite lens is this one EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM, a 400mm with fractional size and weight. It’s idea for wildlife and sports. It will be my next new lens when I have the budget.

Do you have any formal training?

I took formal training with a film camera and film development about 25 years ago. I also took training for studio lighting theory after I purchased my studio equipments a few years ago.

Momentary Sculpture

Momentary Sculpture

What type of photographs do you enjoy taking the most?

I enjoy the seascape the most. I like to hike along the coast and spend the whole afternoon enjoying the endless rhythm of ocean waves. After I find a good spot, I will wait for that magic moment created by sunset and clouds.

Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?

There are a lot of tips for photography, I think the most important one is challenge the mission impossible. Including critical environment,  precious fleeting moment, extreme speed, amazing endurance, and so on. Why? because photography is for you to deliver the visual information to people and people don’t want to see an easy lazy snapshot.

Good Morning Vancouver!

Good Morning Vancouver!

If you could travel anywhere to take photographs, where would you go and why?

I would like to travel to Alaska if I could. It’s one of the photographer’s paradises with diversified subjects and I love the beauty of nature.

If you could meet one photographer, past or present, who would it be and why?

It would be Art Wolfe because I like his “Travel to the edge”. It would be great if I could travel to all those places and experience different kinds of photography.

What feature would you like to see on your camera that isn’t already available?

A new real time HDR CMOS sensor and chipsets. The current inconvenience is we need to capture 3 or more frames for the super high contrast scene and use software to merge them into one photo. With the real time HDR CMOS sensor, all details of both high light and shadow will be enhanced by the internal tone mapping, tone compressing or zone exposure algorithm stored in the chipsets. While the disadvantage of the digital camera is that the dynamic range is much smaller than film, the advantage is it can be improved on as technology advances.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

What areas do you think you can improve on?

I want to improve on all areas actually, but the highest priority should be portraiture which I feel relatively weak now.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

In ten years, I endeavor to have refined my photography skills. I intend to be a leading expert in digital imaging. After having proven myself as a master, I hope to publish all my artworks as photography books. The important thing is that I will continue contributing my abilities in the world of photography.

Star Trails Over Mt. Hood

Star Trails Over Mt. Hood

Star trails over Mt. Hood – captured on Jun 13th, 2010 during my first overnight shooting above clouds and snow zone – it was a long exposure of star trails, trees and Mt. Hood in Oregon. I set my tripod one foot deep into the snow for stabilization and use a timer to control the exposure,  then hid myself in the tent to protect myself from strong and freezing wind. I like this one because of the textures of foreground trees. They were illuminated by two light sources – a snow groomer and my flash.

What do you love most about photography?

It captures the fleeting beauty and the precious memory for us .

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in this interview William. Best of luck in your future endeavours. – PhotoWeeklyOnline

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2 Responses to “An Interview with William Lee”

  1. Andrew Tan says:

    SUPERB site and content , Jonathan !!