McMullan - Fine Art Photographer

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Jay McMullan

Yashica GSN Electro 35
My very first 35mm camera was a Yashica GSN Electro 35.

Welcome to my Fine Art Photography website! I have been doing this kind of photography for almost forty years now. My passion for photography began in 1978 after seeing a coworker's photos from the military that had been taken with a 35mm camera. After seeing those photographs, I saved my money and bought a Yashica GSN Electro 35mm camera. It was a very simple rangefinder camera with a fixed lens and telephoto and wide angle attachments.

What started out as a hobby quickly became more. I met noted Photographer Bill Ellzey who, at the time, lived about forty miles from me. He was doing a lot of landscapes and that is what I truly loved. Eventually, I bought a much better 35mm camera, an Olympus OM-1n. I must have shot ten thousand miles of film through that camera!

I quickly moved from behind the camera into the darkroom. I began to process Ektachrome slide film, then I moved into processing black and white film and prints and finally, color. About a year after purchasing my first 35mm camera, I began to do wedding photography. I was learning by the seat of my pants. My next camera purchase was a medium format Mamiya 645 with an 80mm lens and I eventually bought a 150mm lens for it too. I used it to photograph weddings and portraits. My little business grew in Perryton, Texas. I soon moved back to my hometown of Spearman, Texas and my photography business grew even more. I was doing mainly weddings, portraits and crime scene investigation photography for the Sheriff's Department in Hansford County, Texas. I got deeply involved with the Texas Panhandle Professional Photographer's Association and the Professional Photographers of America. in 1983, I received a scholarship to study at the Texas School of Professional Photography in Huntsville, Texas. I studied under Master Photographer David Smith from Stone Mountain, Georgia. I also studied portraiture under Master Photographers Don Blair of Murray, Utah and Fred Hughes of Dumas, Texas. Although my wedding photographs always turned out well, it was just not my passion. I eventually closed my business and moved my family to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend a two year seminary. After leaving seminary, I pastored a church in Lamar, Colorado. I didn't do much photography while I lived there. Then I moved to South Texas and pastored a church in Cuero, Texas where I didn't do much photography either. Finally, after struggling just to survive, I got out of the ministry and moved south of Houston to Alvin, Texas. While there, I did fashion photography for a modeling agency but I also found out it was not my passion. I also began to teach some seminars. I taught, what I called, "The Galveston Island Photography Tour."

Olympus OM-1n
My first really good 35mm camera was the Olympus OM-1n. No telling how many miles of film I shot through this camera.
Mamiya 645
My first medium format camera was a Mamiya 645. This was my workhorse when doing weddings and portraits.

I had always been a fan of Ansel Adams and his incredible black & white photography. Being able to afford a large format view camera was a dream that I never thought would ever be realized. I met a neighbor who enjoyed photography and he had a Toyo 4x5 view camera and an old, broken down Beseler enlarger with a condenser head. I had a Kawasaki 750 motorcycle that needed a little work. He wanted what I had and I wanted what he had so we swapped. I had studied the Zone System for exposure and I began to study it even more with the acquisition of my new view camera. I began to shoot black & white negatives with it and loved it!

In 1990 I found employment with Amoco Oil Company and in 1993 I put in for a transfer to their oil refinery in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had no idea what kind of doors were about to open up for me as far as photography was concerned. Working in the refinery, I worked rotating twelve hour shifts and then I got a week off every month. This gave me a lot of time to explore, not only Utah but, the other western states.

Nikon F5
I shot photographs all over the western United States with my Nikon F5.
Omega 45D View Camera
My first large format camera was an Omega 45D.

I eventually bought a Nikon F5 and fell in love with Kodak 100VS film. The Toyo view camera did not lend itself to much mobility. I had to carry the camera, with full rail, while it was attached to my huge Bogen tripod. In all, I probably carried around 50 pounds of camera equipment. I discovered why most of Ansel Adams' most famous photographs were taken from locations that he could drive right up to. Things were about to change though. Toyo came out with their VX125 view camera. The camera folds up into a very small package but the rail extends to a full rail capable of shooting with a 300mm telephoto lens. The only problem for me was, just the body of the camera, which on a view camera is not a whole lot, cost $5,000. I only had a standard lens of 150mm. I would want a 90mm wide angle lens and a 300mm telephoto. One day, while at a professional camera store in Salt Lake City, one of the employees told me since they had just had some kind of show, I could get the camera for $3,500. That was about the same price I had paid for my Nikon D5 so I bought the view camera. I was also able to get the other two lenses I wanted. I had a 10 degree spot meter but wanted a Zone IV one degree spot meter and was able to purchase one of those. I had a perfect room for a darkroom in my basement so I plumbed it, built counter tops and set up one of the best personal photo labs in the country. I bought a Jobo system to develop my sheet film and also purchased a 4x5 Chromega enlarger. Many of the black & white photos you see here on this website were taken with either the original Toyo view camera or the Toyo VX125.

Miinolta X700
A Minolta X700 was my very first automatic camera.
Fuji Finepix S7000
My first digital camera was a Fuji Finepix S7000. I bought it in 1978 when I was 18 years old.

Digital imaging was just around the corner and I did not welcome it wholeheartedly. I was a film guy. I knew film and I was good with film but digital imaging (I refuse to call it photography still to this day) was not going away. My first digital camera was relatively inexpensive. It was a Fuji Finepix 7000 with a 12mp sensor and a fixed lens. I shot a lot of great images with that camera. Super expensive cameras are great but I have always told people that they can shoot great photos with an inexpensive camera. The most important thing is to learn about exposure and composition. I am a guitar player and the same thing goes for guitars. You can spend literally thousands of dollars for a guitar but there are much less expensive guitars that sound just as good as one that it many times the cost.

After bumping my Fuji camera a little too hard one day, I did some damage to the sensor so I decided to get a decent DSLR. I decided on the Nikon D 5200. Without making a living at photography, I could not justify the cost of the more expensive Nikons and the D5200 with its 24mp sensor would work for me.

Toyo VX 125 view camera
I shoot with a Toyo VX 125 view camera.
Nikon D5200
For Digital Imaging I use a Nikon D5200.

While in Utah, I led "Photo Tours" in which people from all over the United States joined me to photograph in the Canyonlands area near Moab, Utah. I also led photography seminars on Galveston Island. I am planning on holding more photography seminars in the Orlando area soon.

Whether you came to this site intentionally or you found it by mistake, you are in for a visual treat! I am thankful for the places that I have been fortunate enough to see in my life and I am very happy I was able to capture many of these visual moments on film. To be able to share these moments with you makes the experience even more satisfying.