Interview with Photographer Jeroen Stel

Visions and Nature
Nature Photographers interviews
by Kristel Schneider

..“do my own thing” and not be bothered with the opinions of others and this works well for me

I attended my first nature photography workshop with Jeroen in the Netherlands, many years ago already. He had a great way of telling us about his passion and this was really inspiring and motivating people, as he did with me. I saw Jeroen’s  first images on NatureScapes.net,  they were macro images of all kinds of topics.

His work made me want  to read and experiment more about that type of photography. Jeroen’s photography passion is bird photography and although  this is not one of my favourite subjects I love his bird images as they do not look like registration images but show the birds in their natural habitat, surrounded in a great atmosphere, blue light or sunset tints.  I am personally happy to add Jeroen to the list of Series Photographers interviews on Visions and Nature and I hope you will enjoy his work.

Who is your inspiration?
Nature in itself is extremely inspiring and its shapes and movements inspire me the most.

What made him/her inspire you, with what kind of image(s)?
I like the “element of surprise” nature offers me on a daily basis. Be it  rainstorm whilst photographing Kingfishers or the last rays of light during sunset, providing a rim of light around a Roe Deer for instance, can create a big smile on my face.

What do you like about Nature Photography?
Having worked in the fashion industry for many years as a fashion designer I realised I was always working and thinking in boxes which limited my creativity. By working as a full time nature and wildlife photographer I have now limitless possibilities in making creative  images. Moreover  nature is the most beautiful “office” to work in. This does not mean it is easy, but I have always liked a challenge.
Furthermore the freedom and peace of mind nature provides me with is something to be found nowhere else.

Are there things you don’t like about Nature Photography?
When I left the fashion industry I was glad  not to elbow my way in any more and get rid of all that envy and animosity that surrounded me. Unfortunately as time passed by I have noticed that things are not that different in the world of nature photography. That is one of the reasons I decided to “do my own thing” and not be bothered with the opinions of others and this works well for me. Luckily I still get to meet many interesting and friendly people in nature photography and I would not want to swap my “job” for any other.

Something else I do not like is that many nature photographers are fixed on photographing exotic species and tend to forget about the beauty that’s around the corner. I see many interesting photos of lions, bears, elephants or eagles showing up on forums but so few outstanding photographs of a “simple” black-tailed godwit for instance. I am not saying that it is easy to take good pictures of exotic species (just look at the fantastic work of the earlier interviewed Marsel van Oosten and ask him how many hours he spends on his images..) but I am disappointed that many nature photographers just focus on creating full frame “registration images” of our own species instead of creating art.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become   professional nature photographers?
Do not quit your current job…..or at least not until you are certain you can make a living with nature photography as this is very difficult. I have always believed that if there was something you really wanted to do you could do it. It has to be your lifelong dream though and you have to be mentally and physically strong in order to be able to cope with the many disappointments you will face. Besides, the image quality you produce has to be top-notch all the time.

Something I would advise people is to specialise in a certain subject or in photography style as this is the only thing stock agencies will still be interested in. If you have a passion for what you do and strive to be the best then anything is possible.

What are your specialities?
I started out with macro photography as I liked experimenting with all sorts of lenses and equipment to produce extreme macro photographs. Macro is still one of my specialities but I have become pretty much an all rounder as I shoot anything from Landscapes to Mammals and from Insects to Star Trails. In terms of species I’d like to think I am a Kingfisher specialist as I have been working with Kingfishers every year since 2003 and have more than 15.000 Kingfisher images and many HD film clips in my files.

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
It is always hard to mention your favourite photograph as there are many photographs which might not have turned out as prize winning shots but they are my favourite memories in terms of wildlife experiences.

Describe how it was taken?
One of these experiences was the time I was laying in a clover field hiding behind my lens and waiting for a fox which had just been hunting Grey-lag Geese and had caught one. She was on her way back to her den and walked only 2 meters past me. This shot was taken at my minimum focal length at a distance of about 4 or 5 meters, as when she was walking  toward me.

You are now on Visions and Nature Blog, a Nature and Landscape Photography Blog from Kristel Schneider. Do you know her work?
I have known Kristel for several years and have seen her photography style grow in to her own “handwriting”. Whether her name is mentioned or not I can recognize a true “Kristel Schneider” from a mile away and that is a big compliment and a huge achievement on her side.  I like the romantic touch her images have and the way she uses depth of field.

When you look at her gallery which image pops out for you and why?

I do not have a personal favourite as I like many of her images and hope she will continue to make this beautiful work in her own style.

2 Comments on “Interview with Photographer Jeroen Stel

  1. Very interesting interview.

    Talking about pictures of birds in their natural environment; that blue throat in the reeds tops it all! Brilliant.

  2. Pingback: What makes you tick? |

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