Hello and welcome to an interview series that will introduce you to the artists of Animals, Plants and Nature Photography - with a touch of Macro-Nature - here, at AnimalsPlantsNature
! We are excited to be bringing you an interview with an awesome photographer, to get a closer look at his photography and the thoughts behind the amazing photos he shares with the DeviantArt community: clochartist-photo
Enjoy the interview!
Before we get started, please take a moment to introduce yourself and talk a bit about how you got introduced to the world of photography.
Introducing myself... Pffff, what a question. Well, writing this down, I just reached the age of 57, something I didn't think I'd ever accomplish. So far, I can only say I live the life the way I want it to be. Make my own decisions and stand for them, whether they turn out to be good or maybe worse. My attitude is that it's no use regretting my onw decisions, as they were mine at the time I made them.
One of these decisions was to become an alcohol addict. One could say this was a bad one, but somehow it made me look for ways to add a bit of creativity in my life. I stopped thinking in only words and rules and one day, don't ask me when and how, but there were some paintings in my appartment... Paintings I made, being drunk, and as a matter of fact there were people telling me to go on with it, which I did.
Long story, sometimes succesfully, and then not, but always inspiring.
On a certain moment, it was the time to go to rehab... I did that twice to be honest, where I met my late wife. Kept on painting when I got out.
One day we decided to move to the sea, in a tiny house where there was absolutely no space or light to go on with my hobby.
Had to find something else to do, something to show what I think is beauty. And one day, about 7 years ago, my wife bought my first digital camera to keep me off the street. It was a kodak easyshare c743, and I had lots of fun with it.
I still have some prints of pics I made with this cam, and still think they are not the worst things I've ever seen
About 6 years ago I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 1100D, with an 18-55 IS and a 55-250 IS. Must say, this was a good set to get a feeling on settings and possibilities of a DSLR.
Within a year, I bought a close-up filter (marumii achromat 300) an a new addiction was born, haha.
Your gallery spans the seasons, from the flowers in spring and summer to fungi in autumn and winter and everything in between. If you had to choose, what would be your favorite season to photograph in, and your favorite subject?
It's so hard to say which season I prefer. Guess it also has to do with an addictive mind. I'm never, ever really satisfied. In winter I long for spring, in spring for summer, and so on.
If I really had to make a choice, I think my favorite would be spring. I do love to find the first insects looking for flowers every year. They are hooked on each other, as I am on finding them.
Your gallery is filled with a variety of beautiful insects; how do you find them, or do they find you?
Finding insects is sometimes a bit of luck, but through the years, it's also a bit of experience where and when to look. One thing's for sure... You don't find most of them standing straight, so have to get down on your knees most of the time. You just have to get used to the sometimes brutal pain from nettles and thistles and so on, but it's always worthwile.
You must have gained some notoriety from the photo of the ladybug lifting up from your finger I'm off ..., do you still get as close to your subjects, and how do you manage to do so?
Ladybugs are rather predictable in their behaviour so timing is one thing, and all the rest is.....luck, luck and more luck
The photos above are in a way a duet, in which you mention the "right" background in the title, but not the description. Can you talk us through the process of taking these photos?
Well, it's always a dillemma in which atmosphere you want to see and thus, shoot your subject. Same flower, same hoverfly... And then what? I like a certain amount of contrasting colours of course, but it can also be a bit too much. I often take, if possible, shots from various angles.T his shot was taken in my garden. It does have some advantages, but there is always that white wall. Most of the time this wall ruins all the possibilities of taking a good shot, because I just don't like a white background. It's just not natural, which explains my mentioning the better background, in my humble opinion of course.
Aside from Macros of Flowers and Insects, your gallery also contains landscapes. Do you think that your Macro photography has influenced the way you compose and shoot landscapes, or are they two separate arts?
Looks like I feel where you're going with your question. I don't know what came first, but it is certainly the case that I am a big fan of a low POV... Maybe it is because I am rather short myself
Maybe, somewhere deep down inside of me, I feel the obligation to get down on my knees a bit more often than other people do, grateful as I am still being alive.
If you had to choose, do you prefer taking macro-nature photos or APN photos, and could you explain why?
I absolutely prefer macro-photography. Seeing so many beautiful little things growing, living and deteriorating makes me feel rather humble, and that makes me feel very happy being a part of that great big world.
Photographing out in nature isn't without challenges; what are the most difficult circumstances you've photographed in?
I do not see these things as challenges, but more as "being a part of". To me, there is not much that's more wonderful than standing on the beach with windforce 9 or so, getting soaked and blown away.
If you really mean challenges...well, it's not the easiest part of the country to live and take macros close to the sea. Guess that dealing with the wind is the biggest challenge here...
Since you photograph nature both in close-up macro and full landscape, you probably use different equipment for both kinds of photography. Can you talk us through what you carry in your macro pack and in your landscape pack?
Well, it would be easy to say that the best equipment you can have, is the equipment you have on you when you're out there shooting - these are not my words, but they are true.
Growing older and having problems with weight and things, I do my best travelling as light as possible, which never works out that way, since I want to be prepared for any shot.
The last couple of months, I mostly carry my Canon 80D, the 100mm L macro, extensiontubes (just in case), speedlite 580 exII (just in case) for macro, tamron 24-70 2.8 for street, and in case I do see a nice scape or some such, I have my wonderful Panasonic FZ1000, and, in addition to that, I have a canon sx60 (65x zoom) on me, just in case I do see that little bird I always want to shoot, but never see... All packed in a Lowepro flipside 400W... and some filters, batteries, lenspen and things.
In case I really want to take a shot with a long shuttertime, I take my manfrotto befree with ballhead, but that one I only take with me when it's really planned. Yep, life's heavy...
In closing, do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
If I should give a tip to aspiring photographers I guess it would be: Teach yourself the basics of settings on the camera you use, and then - and this is very important - try not to stick to any rules, that you may just have taught yourself. Go your own way and just have fun! There's more that hasn't been shot than what we've seen so far I think, so join everybody completing the picture.