Mike Clasen is an outdoor landscape photographer based in Reno Nevada; a city sitting in a high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Mike has a passion for venturing into, connecting with, and capturing the various changing moods and dramatic scenery of the Sierra Nevada and other scenic natural landscapes, and also to reveal inner dreams by use of the photographic medium.


Artist Statement

The outdoor landscape images on this site are my perception and interpretation of the spaces I venture into. Moody and stormy atmospherics are an important aspect of my work, and bad weather mostly dictates when I venture outdoors to explore and do photography. I am usually solo during my photography outings, and not too many people like to be out in stormy or disastrous weather, this helps me more so to connect with the present moment and my surroundings, and to become at one with my photographic compositional strategies. I strive to capture natural landscapes that are not impacted by humans - an untouched landscape so to speak. Some images on this site purposefully include elements of human involvement, while other images capture what appears to be, and at times is, a lesser traveled landscape by humans. The composite photographic images on this site reveal dreams from within by involving natural or unnatural landscapes with the human form and human fabrications.

Photography Education and the Digital Darkroom

My photographic experience began in 1975 when I was seven years old, with a Kodak Instamatic X-15 Camera. I was artistically influenced by my Mother at a very young age as she was an Art Major at the University of Nevada Reno, and was also pursuing journalism. I started drawing when I was in my pre-teens, and this continued into my teens and went on the back burner when I found the guitar which I took off with into the present.

In the spring of 2003 I took an “Intro to 35mm Photography” course at Truckee Meadows Community College when digital cameras were not quite there yet as far as quality and acceptance amongst photographers. I used my Mom’s Canon AE1 with a Rokinon 50mm prime lens for this class. I purchased my first digital camera in the spring of 2006 which was an 8.2 Mega Pixel Canon Rebel DSLR Camera, and for the next five years I composed and took pictures with little to no digital darkroom alteration.

I went back to school for photography in the spring of 2012 at TMCC to start learning digital photography and printing in depth by taking an “Intro To Digital Photography II” course. I also started attending the Photography Program at the University Of Nevada Reno in the fall of 2012, and joined NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) and Kelby Training to further hone my digital darkroom skills, printing skills, and photography. In the fall of 2013 I started experimenting with composite photographic art, and in the fall of 2014 I started learning the process of creating chemigrams. I am currently continuing advanced photography studies at TMCC, and attend an annual three day chemigram workshop instructed by Nolan Preece at St.Mary's Art Center in historic Virginia City, Nevada.

During February of 2015, I discovered and started to learn and use luminosity based selections in Photoshop to create layer masks by the use of Tony Kuyper’s TK Panel (Photoshop add-on) , and accompanying TK Panel instructional videos by Sean Bagshaw. The TK Panel generates perfectly feathered, clean, and seamless luminosity based selections, which can then be applied to a layer mask. This method of creating a luminosity mask saves considerable time during post processing, as opposed to painting in a layer mask by 'freehand', and it produces a cleaner processed image overall. I still paint in  layer masks freehand when a certain scenario calls for it, but I probably use the TK Panel with 80% of my overall layer masking workflow at this point. If you are looking to advance your photographic post processing skills in Photoshop to a higher level, and are not familiar with luminosity masks or the TK Panel, I would highly recommend checking out Tony Kuyper’s website for more information. Tony Kuyper Photography

Post processing tools I use:

○ A keyboard and a mouse  ;-)

○ Wacom Intuos Pro

○ Adobe Bridge

○ Adobe Camera RAW

○ Adobe Lightroom

○ Adobe Photoshop

○ TKV4//TKV7 Panel

○ TK Infinity Mask Panel

○ NIK Software 

○ Photomatix HDR Pro

○ Helicon Focus

○ My Mind  ;-)

Thank you for visiting my website and taking a visual journey through my eyes!

If you would like to receive email newsletter notifications regarding exhibits, new image additions, class and workshop information, or other news from Mike Clasen Photography, please contact me via email.

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