Posted by: Bill Shaner | March 28, 2009

Central Illinois Photographer Interview #2

This falls into the “It’s about time” category so I’ll begin by apologizing since I’ve had our 2nd interview in hand since shortly after the start of the new year. That makes it what… almost 3 months?!?!? Time flies when you’re having fun I guess.

Our second interview is with none other then Tim Lester. Many of you know Tim as one of the people in the group who likes shooting wildlife. In fact I think you can find him a lot of times at Wildlife Prairie  State Park when he isn’t out shooting Eagles on the Mississippi or maybe the motorcycle races at the Peoria Motorcycle club.

So without further ado… Tim Lester!

Lets start with some background:

What do you shoot?
A Canon 40D with a 10D backup, my main lens is the 70-200L f2.8 but I use a 17-40L f4 for wide angle shots and most of my wildlife are shot with a 300L f2.8. I have a few other lenses and also use the Canon 1.4x and 2x converters. Kevin May has instructed me on using circular polarizing filters more to achieve what I call “Kevin May Blue’s”, so I am working on understanding and using them better, previously I only used them to remove reflections of water and glass.

Do you have a website? (editors note here… when he answered originally Tim wrote “coming soon” well it’s been long enough it’s now up and live!)

On to the photo questions!

Looking at your stream you appear to like shooting wildlife and motorcycles (with some other stuff sprinkled in). Tell us why those two primary topics?
I am still fairly new to Flickr, maybe 9 months (editors note…  just add 3 months to that total).  The reason I joined was to post images for Wildlife Prairie State Park monthly photo contests and for the first 4 or 5 months that’s all I posted.  Once I began exploring Flickr, I posted a few select images to see what type of feedback I would receive and when I joined the Peoria Flickr group I started posting more of my Peoria related images. I post a very small amount compared to what I shoot.  My wife would say it’s since I am so critical of my own work but it’s something I plan on changing in 2009. The motorcycle images are part of my love for action sports.  I road raced motorcycles for 6 years so I really enjoy taking racing images. If you counted images on my storage drives you would most likely find sports are 50% of what I have done, followed by 30% wildlife and 20% family and landscapes. Since Dave Vernon created the Peoria Bridge Contest with the Peoria Flickr group I have been going out and actually have a plan to shoot specific landscape scene(s), I don’t believe I do a good job on landscapes so it’s something I am working on. My ‘Sunrise under Murray Baker’ image was the first time I planned to shoot a specific landscape.

If you could spend a day with ANY photographer…living or dead (but if dead we assume they are not zombies so your brains are safe!) who would it be? And you have to give some details on why.
My wife, Kellie – without the kids! She has a great eye and has taught me a great deal on various trips over the past 19 years, she has not embraced the digital SLR yet and still wants to shoot with her Pentax K1000 – something I am working on changing. Other than her, ANYONE. This past year I have really enjoyed shooting with different people with all types of cameras, mostly strangers that I have met for the first time, and I truly enjoy watching them and asking questions of why and what they are shooting. I have learned more in the past year from reading books and being with small groups and seeing their images then I could by taking a class; it’s been great.

What is your favorite photograph in your stream?
Just one?  My Cougar on the tree branch. I love this image due to the experience of capturing it. This cougar was on this branch for about 15 minutes. I had heard numerous stories of them climbing, but this was my first time to witness the event.

In the 5 Questions on the Flickr Blog they always ask, Kittens, Babies, Sunsets or Flowers? For you however you get… Big Cats, Motorcycles, Birds of Prey, or Tyranical Dictator Dave?
Again, just one? Motorcycles. (editor’s note… I’m dissapointed he didn’t choose TDD but I guess if there was a second choice Motorcycles is okay 🙂 )

If the Peoria Flickr group had an unlimited budget and could fly you anyplace in the world to take pictures…. What images would we see when you got back?!?!?
First, the adventure would begin in Florida with the 24 Hours of Daytona, Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Daytona 200 motorcycle race then to Africa for a wildlife safari, next the adventure would travel to Mount Everest with a small hike to Base Camp. Then we would travel to Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, while in Europe we would need to attend the Spanish MotoGP race, a German DTM touring car race, the Acropolis round of the World Rally, the Tour de France and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Next we would need to travel to Antarctica for the penguins, to the Galapagos and then we would be on to Alaska for some humpback whales, glaciers, polar bears, Mount Denali and then to Brooks Falls for the grizzly bears and the salmon run. Finally, on the way back home we would stop in Banff, Yosemite, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. That’s the short list but you probably only wanted one location. (editor’s note… yeah… the Peoria Flickr groups budget would only cover 1 place and not all of those. Note to TDD… So when is that budget going to be ready so we can do this?)

The last and best question! Who is my next interviewee?
I’d like to hear from Dave Vernon next.  I have a real appreciation for the innovative ideas he’s developing into tools for the rest of us.

Well there you have it… Our 2nd Central Illinois Photographer interview. I’m going to ask however that for the next interview the questions come from the Peoria area photographers who know or want to know Dave.  Just send me a flickr mail or corner me someplace and tell me what you would like to ask. Oh… and I promise it won’t take 3 months to get it uploaded this time!


  1. Nice interview!!

  2. Awesome interview! I love that bridge pic, Tim. Nice job, Bill.

  3. Way to go, Bill for finally getting this puppy published =). I knew you could do it!

    Tim, nice work on your website. I am glad to see it is has come together nicely.

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