Angela and Jason Mocniak enjoy their love for photography as a couple, going out shooting together, the same subjects but with their own individual points of view. Keeping a camera close at hand when traveling, the duo is always ready if the urge to stop and make some images strikes them. The two even plan “shooting dates” to spend time together.
How would you describe your style?
Angela: I love leading lines, but I also try to see things differently, we often times will shoot the same location several times and each time find a different way to view it.
Jason: I’d say that my photography style is simple landscapes. I often find myself low to the ground and trying to get as much interesting foreground in the image along with trying to find some sort of leading lines for the viewer to follow.
How do you describe the difference in your styles?
Angela: Jason loves long exposures, shooting the big picture. He’ll find a spot, plan out his shot, then get set up. When I get to a location, I’m all over the place looking for different angles, framing and details.
Jason: I tend to want to take more simple photos but I feel like Angela is a lot more creative. We could be out photographing trees and when I look over at my wife she could be crawling under a bridge to get the same picture with a totally different composition.
How we see it.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Angela: My mother was a quadriplegic. She wasn’t able to travel much, let alone walk through a park to see the details that are often taken for granted. After she passed, photography became an outlet for me. I want to show everyone the beauty in the world, from the vast landscapes to the little details.
Jason: Just being in nature. I think because of our fast paced life with our full times jobs and being so busy every day, photography allows me to slow down and enjoy nature; watching a sunrise or sunset and having the opportunity to just view the world from a different perspective.
Angela, What do you enjoy about going out shooting together with Jason?
I enjoy watching Jason get out of the busy “let’s get things done” mode to being relaxed, enjoying nature, and showing his creative side. Then it is fun to view each other’s photos to see how we captured it differently.
Jason, What do you enjoy about going out shooting together with Angela?
I love watching Angela, seeing her excitement and creative side. I just love watching her passion and it spills over into my shooting. Like a muse.
What do you do to get inspired if you feel stuck?
Angela: I try to coax Jason into a drive to explore the city or just somewhere we don’t usually photograph. A change of scenery usually does it for me.
Jason: We try to nudge [each] other when we feel like we’re getting stuck or in a rut. I’ll say to her, “all we do is shoot barns, it’s getting old.” Angela will tell me to grab my camera. Once we get going, I start to get inspired again because as soon as her eye catches something she likes, she hops out of the truck and literally goes running through fields to get the shot she wants. It’s her passion of photography that gets me back inspired to shoot again.
POV x 2
What is your favorite subject?
Angela: Sunrise. I love to start the day catching a sunrise whethe. It’s just that peaceful time of day where life is just waking up, and taking in the beauty of that is my favorite subject.
Jason: I love photographing lighthouses, rural barns, waterfalls and of course my beautiful wife. We live in the great lakes region where there’s plenty of water, barns and lighthouses within a couple hours’ drive.
You both seem to use leading lines a lot in your compositions, what other compositional techniques do you enjoy employing in your work?
Angela: I also enjoy finding natural framing for a subject. Its fun finding a different view of a subject. Minimalism too. I love the lonely tree in the middle of a field or hanging off a cliff. Sometimes simple shots are the best.
Jason: I really like getting low to the ground. It’s crazy to think how different things appear from a totally different level. Seeing it from that vantage point, it can make some interesting compositions. I like to try to create images with objects close in the foreground and beautiful scenery in the background, making the image clear from top to bottom.
What is your favorite lens?
Angela: The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S. It is a very versatile everyday lens. The S glass is very sharp and picks up great detail. If I could only take one lens on a hike with me, this would be the one. It is compact, lightweight and perfect for the landscapes I shoot.
Jason: By far my favorite lens is my NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. It is a great all-around, go to lens for almost any situation. Whether its climbing up the side of a mountain to get a picturesque sunset looking vastly into the mountains, visiting the shorelines and looking for lighthouses or driftwood, or chasing the northern lights, this lens can capture it all.
A marriage of styles
Angela: I enjoy photography and the way it opens your eyes to the beauty of the world. My hope is that people see our photographs and it makes them start to look at the beauty around them too.
Jason: I’m still learning and growing as a photographer. I’m always looking for new ideas. I’d love to try shooting different subjects, portraiture interests me. I’m constantly learning how to improve camera settings to get different looks and editing techniques.
What advice would you give other landscape photographers?
Angela: Always keep an open mind. Don’t worry about following the “rules” too much. Photograph what makes you happy. Never stop learning.
Jason: Try stepping out of your boundaries of what you think makes a great photo. Angela and I sit down to edit our photos together, reviewing each other’s photos first. Sometimes I find myself not liking a photo that she really likes and vice versa. Everyone sees things a little differently.
Angela & Jason: Be mindful of your shooting partner and their frame, communication is key. You don’t want to walk right through the scene they’re trying to capture. Don’t be afraid to share knowledge and listen to your partner’s advice.
Angela and Jason, married 16 years with 3 children, are landscape photographers from Southeastern Michigan. Angela has had a love for photography which blossomed after Jason purchased her first DSLR camera in 2009 as a gift. After upgrading to the D500, Jason took her old camera and quickly got the bug as well. Ever since they’ve enjoyed sharing their love of photography with each other, learning and growing together. Now both shooting with the Z 7, they love to travel Michigan and beyond when life lets them, capturing beautiful landscapes, lighthouses, and really anything that catches their eyes. It is always fun to compare photos after a trip to see what caught the eye of the other and see it in a whole different perspective.