A mini-series dedicated to the people capturing the beauty of our world.
Over the month of January, Mary’s Mark Photography will be sharing one photographer’s story per week.
Our goal is to give you a better understanding of how the photographer spends their time, how they got started in their craft and of course, share their beautiful work.
Patty Menz is a photographer located in northwestern Pennsylvania. Known for her landscape, nature and wildlife photography, Patty has also made a wonderful name for herself photographing portraits and weddings.
I had the incredible opportunity to connect with Patty over the holiday season. Her passion and enthusiasm for photography is invigorating and her goal is inspiring - to capture photographs that have a powerful impact.
- Name: Patty Menz
- Location: Pennsylvania
- Type of photography most passionate about: Nature & Landscape Photography
- Camera Gear: My go to camera for landscapes is Nikon D500 with a Nikon 16-80mm lens. I also use a Tamron 90mm macro and Tamron 150-600, when I need it!
How did you get started in photography?
Photography has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I grew up on Lake Erie – it was my backyard. There were constantly stunning sunrises, sunsets and storms over the Lake. I remember my Dad encouraging me to take photos of the sunrises and sunsets.
This fueled my passion. The sunrises and sunsets are God’s painting of the skies. When I see the different colors and the sun rising and setting – I think that’s what really drives me into landscape photography. It’s the natural beauty.
What do you believe is your best photographs are and why?
To me, the best photographs are the ones that make the most impact. Here are three photographs that I believe make a big impact:
1. Reflections of My Life: One morning, I went to a nearby reservoir. It was so quiet – just myself, my tripod and my camera. The sunrise was absolutely amazing. The sun was coming up and breaking through the clouds emitting its rays over the water.
I call this photograph: Reflections of My Life. The clouds represent the bad times in life, the bright sunshine and the sun rays represent everything being okay, and the reflections represent everything that I have been through.
2. Beasts of Modernity: I love this photo because there is an old farm in the foreground with the beasts rising in the background that give way to modern times.
3. Sharing War Stories: My father spent his last couple of years at the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home. This photo was taken during the home’s 125th anniversary celebration.
I noticed my father (wheel chair) speaking with a young soldier who was respectfully squatting down to talk with him face-to-face. After I captured this photo, I went over to introduce myself. The young man turned out to be my daughter-in-law’s uncle whom I never met before. It was a candid moment that had immense impact.
First place in the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center's 2017 Reenactment and Photography Show.
How do you sell your landscape artwork?
Initially, I worked with a few local stores to sell my work on consignment. I also landed a photography gig with a candle company (see images to the left). My work was used on candle tins as well as a truck wrap! The candle company sells their products internationally and on big e-retailer sites such as Amazon and eBay. You can also find the candles sold at national chains such as Boscov's Department store in Erie, PA. It’s pretty cool to see my work in store chains around the USA.
I belong to couple of photography clubs and we host events where I sell my work.
If you could provide amateur landscape photographers a piece of advice, what would it be?
I have two pieces of advice that I still adhere to today!
1. Go practice. Keep practicing. Get up in the morning and go somewhere new. Try the outskirts of your city, capture farms or buildings. Keep practicing.
2. Get critiqued. Have others view your work and help you see things you may have missed or overlooked. There are clubs you can get involved in or online forums. Have a strong backbone and be willing to learn.