As a child growing up in Japan, Masako was always outside. Of those early days, she fondly recalled, “Whenever holidays came, my family always went on fishing trips. So I was by the ocean all the time. Because of my childhood memories, I still love being outside and finding something interesting in nature.”
Masako’s first experience with photography was in elementary school. Her first camera was a pinhole camera that came with an easy developing kit. “I was shocked how it worked as a child,” she said. “I don’t have the picture I took, but I still remember that it had black and white film, and I took a picture of a snowflake plant’s flowers blooming in front of my grandmother’s house.”
Her interest in photography stayed with her as she moved on from the pinhole camera to disposable cameras and then, eventually, to her first point-and-shoot digital camera, which she bought in preparation for a trip to the east coast of Canada in 2001. While photography remained of interest to Masako throughout the years, it wasn’t until 2010, while living in Oregon, that she purchased her first DSLR and began a more serious journey into building her photography skills. From the endless Pacific coastlines to the stunning mountain ranges, the landscape provided her constant inspiration.
Masako excels at capturing the natural beauty around her. When asked to describe her style, Masako said, “I’d say I’m a landscape and nature photographer because I do take this type of photography more often. I sometimes like taking still-life photos of store-bought flowers, food, and so on. When I got my first DSLR, I was often taking photos of my cats, the food I cooked, and buildings in the town I lived.”
She has a keen eye for scoping out locations for her photo shoots, often frequenting stunning coastal spots and quiet, mossy, forest scenes. She said, “Because I live on the Oregon coast, I often shoot seascapes and the forests around here. The Oregon coastline is definitely beautiful, and the forest is so green, interesting, and sometimes weird. I return to the same places over and over. The reason is that I can’t manipulate the creations of nature. Every time I go back to those places, they look different to me.”
“When it comes to the coastline, the tide changes every day and season.” she explained. “The sand level always changes, too. Sometimes I find big pieces of driftwood just stranded on the beaches. Or sometimes, I am even able to see some ancient tree stumps which are about 2,000 to 4,000 years old when the tide and sand level meet. Sometimes new tide pools show up, and then disappear the next time.
“During spring and summer, some rocks get covered by bright green seaweed, and so many flowers start blooming. We get a lot of foggy days during summer. Then the storms bring some interesting puffy clouds during the long rainy season, and the strong waves come to the coast and create interesting sea foams. I feel that nature and the earth are moving so fast while I’m shooting photos. I really like that feeling.”
For Masako, finding the perfect shot is not just about the end product, it is also the process that is so important to her. Masako explained, “I just love being outside, feeling the wind on my cheeks, smelling the ocean and forest, looking at the movement and colors of nature. If I were living in a big city, I would be shooting architecture. Or If I were living on the mountain side, I would be shooting more trees, creeks, waterfalls, and snow.”
To capture all her shots, Masako uses Canon full-frame DSLRs and lenses. She also uses a Gitzo tripod and Nisi neutral-density and circular-polarizer filters.
As a Flickr print seller, Masako offers a variety of images available for purchase through our Flickr Print Sellers pilot program. When asked to share one of her favorite photos from her collection, she shared one she calls “Afterglow”. To explain that selection, Masako said, “I chose this photo because I clearly remember the story of the day. This photo was shot in Bandon, Oregon, in November 2019. This place is famous among photographers. When I go to the beaches, I always check how high the tide is. I did it before this trip, too; however, the tide and waves looked much higher than I expected when I got there. I honestly didn’t have any idea how I was going to take photos. I was struggling to find the composition I liked. Every time I set my tripod, big waves came, and I didn’t like the way the waves were showing up in my photos.”
“Since this place was so famous among photographers, there was a group of photographers around me at sunset. The sunset was nice, but I didn’t like the photos I took. The sun completely went down, and then all the photographers left from the beach. I thought about giving up, but I was still looking for something. While I was standing on the beach alone, the sky became intensely orange and beautiful. Then, I saw the rock in the foreground emerging from the sand and water. When I saw it, I quickly decided to set up my tripod. I wanted the smooth texture of the water with it, so I took this photo when the waves would come up and cover the rock. It was dark enough to get a little bit longer of an exposure.”
Masako continued, “I have some milestone photos where I strongly feel that I have moved forward as a photographer. I feel this would be one of them. When I take photos that I feel move me forward, I cannot upload them from my camera to the computer for a day or two. I get very excited, but I also want to wait until I am calm to look at them and decide what to do with them. In this case, I waited a little bit and then transferred the photos to my computer. I used Lightroom and Photoshop to process and achieve the scenery I saw through my heart. When I process my photos, I always think about the view I saw, and how I felt.”
For Masako, photography is her number-one passion. Since she spends a great deal of time outdoors pursuing that goal, the other activities she enjoys generally involve her natural surroundings. When asked about other hobbies or interests she pursues, outdoor adventures like mushroom hunting came a close second to photography. Mushroom hunting with her family every year is a favorite of hers. She also enjoys preserving, pickling, and cooking those harvests.
Masako has been a Flickr member since 2008. She said, “Flickr is the longest SNS site -social networking systems- I have. I don’t get tired of it. I love the simplicity. It’s very easy to use and share photos with my family, friends, and other people all over the world. I also love looking around at the photos taken by other Flickr members. I am able to enjoy the sceneries or things in different countries. It’s like traveling through Flickr!”
Masko’s photos can be found in several places on Flickr, so if you’d like to browse through her beautiful collection, you can check out her site here Some of her photos, along with those of other hand-picked photographers on Flickr, are available through the Flickr Print Shop. If you’re interested in ordering prints from Masako or even printing some of your own images through Flickr, learn more about that here!
Other areas you can find her work online:
And, finally, if you’re interested in using her photos for promotional and editorial purposes, advertisements, or merchandise you can visit https://licensing.pixels.com/art/all/masako+metz/all