Professor Mark Plonsky. It wasn’t so long ago that I’d take a photo and think that I’d done pretty well, but Mark would look at it and tell me that I could have gotten closer. I’d take a look at my shot, look at Mark’s words, take another look at my shot, and say a few choice words under my breath because he was right. I could have gotten closer, not because the insect was docile but simply because I didn’t try. I got the shot that I wanted and figured that if I tried to move in the subject would just take off so why bother. In short I psyched myself out because I told myself that I couldn’t do it. More than anything else Mark taught me to push myself and to think outside the box –I owe him for a lot of the photos that I currently have in my gallery and it is with great pleasure that I bring you Professor Mark Plonsky!
John: First can you tell us who Professor Mark Plonsky is -where you live, what you do for a living?
Mark: I am a professor of experimental biopsychology at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point. I also serve as a k9 behavioral consultant for problem dogs, in other words, I am a dog whisperer. I typically keep to dogs of my own (shepherds). I am also a father of 3 kids, an athlete, and I like to take pictures.
John: Who influenced you early on when you first got into macro?
Mark: As a scientist, I am curious by nature. My first camera couldn't capture the dog action I had hoped, but it was great at taking pictures of bugs (with the appropriate attachments). I was looking at images on various photo sites and figured I would give it a try. I have had no formal training. I study a lot about photography from the internet and talk with folks like you on occasion.
John: What is it about macro that has you hooked?
Mark: You can see what you normally cannot and life is fascinating in all of its forms.
John: What is your favorite subject to shoot and why?
Mark: Insects because they are alive and yet so alien.
John: If you could only have one lens what would you choose and why (assuming that you also have access to any light source you want as well)?
Mark: That is a tough one. I love each of my many macro lenses. Probably the canon 100mm macro. It is the most versatile. With teleconverter's and tubes you can get a lot of magnification; it is a fast lens that is good for portraits of people as well.
John: What lens do you recommend for someone who's just getting into macro?
Mark: Canon’s 100mm macro.
John: Do you spend a lot of time in post processing or do you like to "get it right" with the camera?
Mark: I love to get it right with the camera, but I also spend a lot of time post processing since I have an illustrative style.
John: Is there any advice that you’d like to pass on to the people reading this interview? Parting thoughts?
Mark: if you want to get good, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. Then study what you have and go out and shoot some more.
John: Sage advice indeed…
I’d like to thank Professor Plonsky for taking time out of his busy schedule to take part in this interview, and for answering all of my stupid questions when I was a newby!