Interview with Photographer: Leon Baas

Visions and Nature
Photographers interview
by Kristel Schneider


 ‘…more attracted by the bugs on the beautiful flowers than by the bride. ‘


I have come to know  Leon via Wildpixels, a Dutch nature forum. We were both moderators for the macro section. Leon’s work made me look  at macro photography differently. The first images I saw by him were insects surrounded by spectacular light. Looking at these images I always wondered how he could do that? He politely answered  sorry, I can’t go into much details about my technique otherwise everybody will copy it.  Luckily this has not been the case, Leon created his own style and mastered the techniques so well that  Canon’s office was decorated with his work in 2008. After this, everything moved fast and his images were published in many magazines (such as Focus, Zoom , Cameramagazine etc.) and on websites. I am very pleased to introduce his work to you and hope you will enjoy it -Kristel

Leon Baas at work

I started with photography 12 years ago. It then was nothing as it is now. It didn’t have any line in it and I would shoot everything my eyes saw. By doing this I learned more and more to look for details. My next step was wedding photography, which I did together with my wife. But to be honest my eyes were more attracted by the bugs on the beautiful flowers than by the bride.  Luckily my wife made the wedding shots so we got away with it.

My interest in nature photography grew fast the following years, especially macro photography. I learned to look for the perfect compositions and lighting techniques. I pushed myself to high standards, which I couldn’t reach at the time. I just wanted to create the perfect lighting and exposure. – Leon.

Who is your inspiration?
I  get my inspiration mainly from reading about a lot of old and new nature photography from which I have learned a lot of tricks. I learned a lot about photography by listening to other great photographers.

My toilet has been filled with a lot of photography books because this is the only place in my house I have nothing else to do except waiting for things to come. Your camera manual is the first book that will end up in a drawer. Now you know where you should  put it instead.

What do you like about Nature Photography?
I love the amazing world of insects. It’s a hard world with no rules. Sorry, just one rule…eaten or be eaten. An always different world and that fascinates me every time. Again and again.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Leon Baas — All Rights Reserved

Are there things you don’t like about Nature Photography?
I prefer to work alone and do not like to be disturbed when I’m doing my work.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who like macro photography ?

  1. Try to get as low as possible. For example. spiders will look even more impressive when  you can get even lower that the animal
  2. In the morning the animals are very slow. Just take advantage of that moment and don’t forget your tripod.
  3. Try to approach your subject as slow as possible. Before you know it they will fly or run off. The use of a 100mm lens or longer will help you  get a safe working distance.
  4. To lure insects you can make your garden more attractive to insects. By placing a butterfly box or a real insect hotel you can get some really nice species in your garden. You can make your own insect hotel by drilling many holes in an old tree stump in different diameters like 6, 8, 10 en 12 millimeters. Water is very important and lures a lot of insects to your garden like butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, even newts, frogs and other water specious.

What are your specialities?i
I have specialised  in making photos of insects in surreal areas. I try to achieve it by applying special exposures with special colored flashes, to make their world more dramatic.  I also focus on habitat macro photography which shows insects in their habitat with an extreme depth of field.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Leon Baas — All Rights Reserved

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
It is a photo with a take off from a ladybird. A photo with a moment that will never come back. I am really proud of this picture I have to say.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Leon Baas — All Rights Reserved

Describe how it was taken?
For this photo I used two coloured flashes. One for the background and one for the object.  The background was a coloured canvas.

That day I was photographing mushrooms. I had everything ready when the ladybug climbed against the mushroom.  An exciting time for me to watch. What I hoped for happened. And I’m still happy with the result.

You are now on Visions and Nature Blog, a Nature and Landscape Photography Blog from Kristel Schneider. Do you know her work?
I know Kristel as a serious photographer who does her work very good and thoroughly.I love her enthusiasm and surprising themes.

When you look at her gallery which image pops out for you and why?
The photo ‘’drop on a leaf’’ still appeals to me most.
But her other work is also surprisingly good.

2 Comments on “Interview with Photographer: Leon Baas

  1. Lekker interview, leest makkelijk weg.

    En wat een foto’s zeg! Ongelofelijk. Wil eigenlijk wel heel graag weten hoe hij die omgevingsfoto’s met enorme scherptediepte heeft gerealiseerd, maar ja geheim van de smid denk ik.

    Groeten,
    Robert

  2. Amazing!! I’ve always been fascinated with insects, your pictures have brought them to life!!

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