We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Finnegan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tim, how do you define success?
To me, success is a personal idea, based on personal goals, both big and small. I think there is a lot of pressure in our world to be “successful” based on how others define it – be it money, possessions, likes or followers. And it’s often difficult to see that success can be defined more broadly and personally. I have spent the majority of my full time career in Education and Training. I have often told students and graduating classes that at the core of success is a combination of three factors: motivation, determination, and support. It doesn’t matter how big or small the goal is. One needs these three base components to be successful. And when I reflect on my life and the big and small successes I’ve had, I can point to each of these factors and tell you about each one’s contribution to reaching the goal I set. This includes what I’ve been able to do with my photography.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I first caught the photo bug when I was in middle school. I recall having little point-and-click cameras as a child, and took lots of pictures of my family, friends, and vacations. But in middle school, I actually got to take a photography class. And I loved it! We constructed our own pinhole cameras and developed the images we took of them. I took classes in high school and was gifted my first Pentax 35mm SLR camera by my parents. I began to really enjoy the process of creating art through photography. When I won awards at the county fair for some of my work, I began to believe that not only was this fun, but I might actually be good at it! My photography began to take a back seat throughout college and for a period of time after, as I began my career and family. I still always had a camera and took lots of pictures, but was never really “creating.”

About 10 years ago, though, the desire to pick it back up and create photographs, reemerged. I purchased a DSLR and began to practice. At that time, mt photographic interests were mostly focused on nature and landscapes. I really just wanted to take pictures of the places I traveled to, the local hikes I made, and share them with family and friends. But I quickly realized that I was essentially taking the same pictures as everyone else with a camera slung over their shoulder or jammed in their pocket. So I naturally drifted to looking at ,and for, subjects differently. I began to actively think about unique perspectives and tried to see things where others did not. I began to realize that there’s magic to be found and you don’t have to go very far to find it. I studied and read about “creating photographs” vs. “taking pictures.” I became more acutely aware of textures, lines, shapes, and shadows with each frame I shot. And I practiced… a lot. And over time, my photography has evolved to what it is today. And it’s still evolving as I continue to practice and learn and try new things. Most recently, I’ve been trying to incorporate more abstract art concepts in my work.

It’s hard to truly define what sets me apart from other photographers. There are so many people creating such good art through their photography. I’m not the one traveling to exotic corners of the world (…yet), and I still have to fit my photography around a regular full time job. So, I like to think that I’m photographing the ordinary, but from different, unique perspectives. Or even finding the extraordinary subject hidden in an ordinary setting. I want others to see my art I want them to feel a connection to it. I want them to look deeper and be drawn into being present in that moment, as I was when took the shot.

I’m most proud of the fact that I had the courage to present my work publicly – beyond friends and family. I really had no idea what to expect when I took that step, but whether it was setting up booths at street fairs, or selling my work through my Etsy shop, the response from those who have viewed or purchased my photographs has been incredibly humbling and validating.

I branded my work under the name Moonshot Photography because a “moonshot” is a lofty goal; a challenging mission that requires determination. The Moon is also something that holds a special place in my heart, as it reminds me of my mother and connects me to my family across the country.

I dream of visiting far off places and photographing the unique perspectives I uncover. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to quit my day job and pursue my photographic endeavors full time, but I do know that the creative process brings me happiness, and I feel compelled to share that with others.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I no longer live in Arizona, but I spent the better part of two decades living in various parts of the state and I go back often to visit family and friends. It’s a big state with tons to offer in both city life and nature. I prefer the latter, and it takes multiple week-long visits to take in the best the desert has to offer. My favorites, though… Grand Canyon National Park, Saguaro National Park, Sunset Crater National Monument, Kartchner Caverns State Park, and Sedona.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Like an Oscar winner, there are many people on my list who deserve recognition and gratitude for their support, encouragement, and inspiration. My wife, my children, parents, siblings, and friends have encouraged me, provided me feedback, and have been my caddies and most important publicists.

And there are two photographers (among many) who have inspired me in my growth as a photographer: Ansel Adams, with his pioneering work in the field; and Art Wolfe, whose work continues to both move, and inspire me

(https://artwolfe.com/).

Website: https://www.moonshotphoto.net/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tf_moonshotphotography/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moonshotphotography

Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonshotPhotography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.