If you’ve been reading ISO for a while, you’ll already be familiar with the work of Meagan V Blazier. She’s the professional photographer, published on book covers and in magazines, who uses a Canon point & shoot to capture dreamlike landscapes she calls “imaginescapes.”

A lot of people (myself included) throw around the phrase, “it’s not the gear, it’s the photographer.” The phrase is meant to imply that a great photographer can capture beautiful images no matter what camera they use, while a beginner will capture beginner images whether they’re holding a 1Dx or an iPhone.

But while many of us believe and say this, Meagan is living, breathing proof of it.

We recently got a chance to speak more in-depth with Meagan about her work, workflow, and thoughts on this popular-but-controversial idea. Here’s what she had to say.

Red October by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

500px: First off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey as a photographer?

Meagan V. Blazier: I am from the metro Detroit area of Michigan, a single mother of one and a real estate photographer during the day.

I started shooting about 5 years ago, but didn’t start taking my work seriously until about a year and a half ago when I started shooting desolate landscapes, things I would come across while en route to a property shoot for work. I quickly developed fascination for photography.

Autumn Trail II by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

You’ve told us before that you first picked up a camera when your son was born. How did you transition from photos of your son to shooting what you shoot now?

Meagan: The more I started to get comfortable with the camera, the more I shot. I started to explore different subjects and sceneries until I found something that spoke to me—something that inspired me—and I found that in old abandoned barns and barren landscapes.

You call your work “Imaginescapes,” why is that?

Meagan: I created the name after receiving quite a bit of backlash from the purists when referring to my work as landscapes. I thought that the word “Imaginescapes” would give the viewer a better understanding of what my work is: photographs that are manipulated in a way that creates dreamlike, atmospheric shots.

Often times, I create the setting & atmosphere through editing, and not by shooting what is necessarily in front of me.

snow dust by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

Do you have a favorite photo? What’s the story behind it?

Meagan: That’s a great question, but to be honest, every new shot is my favorite because each time I am learning more and more. I can gradually see my work getting more defined each time I take a new shot.

How long did it take you to learn Lightroom and Photoshop? I mean, I’m sure you’re still learning (aren’t we all?) but how long did it take before you were creating images that matched what you were imagining in your mind?

Meagan: When I first started photography I had no idea people even did such things to photographs—I was naive in thinking most people just post SOOC shots. But after learning a bit more and getting familiar with Lightroom, it was only a matter of weeks before I grasped the concept, and then it was just a matter of using each tool and getting familiar with what they would do and how I could incorporate them into my work.

Lightening Bugs by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

Would you say you’ve settled on a “signature style”? And if so, what elements do you think make up that signature?

Meagan: I believe that creating one’s own style that is truly unique is very challenging, but after a year or so, it came to me.

My style is very dark and atmospheric. A lot of people can identify my work right away based on either my dark bluish tinted images or my abandoned barns with moody sunsets.

Can you walk us through your post-processing workflow? Is there an order to how you edit images? And how long does it usually take?

Meagan: The majority of my images are edited in Lightroom with the exception of me changing a sky in Photoshop. I always start my post-processing the same way which is to start adjusting the basics such as highlights, shadows, and exposure and go from there.

Post-processing can take me anywhere from 20 minutes to days, it depends on my creative level at that moment.

Winter Pond by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

Okay, on to the main event: your camera. Remind us what you shoot with.

Meagan: I still have the same camera that I have had for about 4 years now, which is a Canon Powershot SX40HS—a simple point & shoot.

I’m sure you hear this a lot, but how come you never upgraded? Most photographers get nowhere near your level of proficiency before they upgrade to something more powerful. Is it the convenience? Simplicity? A combination of things?

Meagan: I have a hard time with change—I hate it! And I love the convenience of this camera.

One of the great things is that I don’t have to carry around a 20-pound camera bag that holds 5 different lenses. For me, it works, I have done amazing things with it and its easy to use. Unfortunately, at some point I will have to join the big kids and upgrade.

Religion by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a point-and-shoot photographer, and how have you overcome each?

Meagan: My biggest challenge has been people not taking my work seriously because of the gear that I have; I have been able to overcome that by not giving up and because of that I have had numerous articles & features on my work.

Do you ever think of taking the time to move up to an ILC system, or even upgrade to a newer version of your point-and-shoot? Do you wonder what you could create with more capable tools, or do you not think it would ultimately make a difference?

Meagan: Absolutely! I do get a chance to shoot with my friend’s DSLR from time to time and though it would take some getting used to, I would definitely consider it at some point.

Any advice for newbies?

Meagan: The words I say all the time and stick by them “it’s not the camera—it’s who’s behind it.” If you have a passion for photography you’re not limited by your gear, only your creativity.

Winter on the farm by Meagan V. Blazier on 500px.com

Finally, what’s next for you? What should we expect from Meagan V Blazier in the coming months, and where can our readers keep up with your work?

Meagan: I just came back from being invited to Phillips Exeter Academy (the top private school in America) as one of the visiting artists to teach a two day workshop and give a presentation of my work to around 80 of their students. It was an incredible honor and amazing experience.

I am definitely open to more workshop opportunities. I have also been experimenting with some portrait ideas for a new portrait project I am working on.

You can see more on 500px, my website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.