Highly Commended, GDT EUROPEAN WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2017

Happy to announce that my image ‘Berries’ was Highly Commended in Category Plants and Fungi at
GDT EUROPEAN WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2017 

Next to the WPY (Wildlife Photographer of the Year (BBC) competition for me this is the second High standard Competition for Nature Photographers around.
The GDT’s focus is on innovative and creative images, that’s why I am very happy to get this Highly Commended for my ‘Berries’, a personal favorite.

This image is also published in my first book: Variations in Trees, that will be available early December 2017.
More information: here (webshop)

New in 2017 – Italian Dolomites Photo tour

Dolomites-2017

 

Experience the impressive decor from the ‘other’ Italy

When all my school friends went to the beach my parents took my brother and me every summer to San Cassiano, in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. Unfortunately when you are so young you do not appreciate all that beauty around you, it is much later that you realize that this was the seeding of my love for the mountains and for nature. Going back to my childhood holiday destination almost felt like going back home again. Tucked away memories came back and I rediscovered the beauty of these magnificent mountain ranges with their stone cathedrals. Pure enjoyment! I will be more than happy to share this beautiful area with you during this 8-day photo-tour – Kristel

More info: here

Tre cime in the clouds with afternoon sunlight just after a storm

First video debut | Intentional Camera Movement (ICM)

ICM Technique
by Kristel Schneider

Fresh spring greens with sunlight
A couple of months ago the local newspaper La Montagne asked me if I was willing to join in their video series “La Montage Images” featuring local photographers.  Their aim was to create short videos to promote photography to a wider public. The first season hosted all  the photographers who work for the local newspaper and because of the success they decided to start a second season  along with local photographers who would explain a photo subject to the general public. So not too technical, but rather show that photography can be fun to explore. I decided to talk about ICM technique –  a technique which to be used whenever you want to create abstract images by moving your camera about.

At the end of April we did the video shoot in a woody area, close to Ravel in Auvergne | France. My timing was right for the fresh green leaves on trees, which resulted in a nice
subject for the image example. I must say,  it was difficult to stay serious while I was  talking, especially as I had two cameras pointing at me while a guy with  big headphones and microphone was moving about.
I first only agreed on doing this video if I could speak English. Indeed I did not feel comfortable enough to do this all in French – hence the voice-over performed by a French native speaker.
English link below the video.

(Put on HD for better image quality)

For more ICM images click: here

To listen to this video in English click: here

Publication on Zoom.nl

Publication on dutch photography website, Zoom.nl,
about photography in the French region Auvergne with text and images by Kristel Schneider.
Part 1 about the summer and the winter was published last year, part 2 about the spring and autumn is now online: fototips voor Auvergne, Frankrijk (in Dutch).

 

Zoom blog publicatie

Intimate Landscape Photography

Intimate Landscape Photography
published (10-11-2015) on Nature Photo Portal
text and images by Kristel Schneider

Visions-and-Nature_Kristel-Schneider_2
In preparing the summer
photo-tour in Auvergne  for Nordic Vision,I had set Intimate Landscapes as being one of the themes covered during the week: what an intimate landscape was and how to create a well-balanced intimate landscape composition. As the programme of the tour unfolded, and as the participants were getting deeper and deeper into their own creations, we soon realized that what each and every one of us had a different definition of Intimate Landscapes were. Indeed it turned out that during other photo-tours and other photo-presentations, fellow photographers had given their own personal idea of what an intimate landscape was, just the way I did last July.

The question still stands : what is an intimate landscape ?

The answer does not seem as obvious as it seems, especially if I recall the lively discussions I had with the participants of the tour last summer. There were so many different definitions, so many different approaches even. As everybody had a representation of what a landscape was, we could settle a point there. I therefore came to the conclusion that the word intimate was the catch.

Perceptions of what intimate is are obviously very personal. A feeling of intimacy can be fed by a certain atmosphere, certain colors, certain elements or certain details in a landscape. All these personal elements make intimate landscape photography very interesting. You have to study the landscape scenes more carefully and focus on the scene that best defines an intimate landscape in your eyes.

(View bigger: click on one of the images)

When looking at my intimate landscape images one can say that I am not a large scale landscape photographer. On the contrary I tend to zoom in. Very often my eyes are attracted by a detail amidst a wider landscape. Combined with a certain atmosphere, depending on my mood, this can be colors, or light or just a nice form in nature. Then I translate this scene into a realistic, graphical or abstract image. For me, an intimate landscape is a combination of all the above, including the emotions I feel at the very moment I create that intimate shot.
Visions-and-Nature_Kristel-Schneider

To deepen the subject, I asked some of my fellow photographers to give their point of view on the matter. Hans Strand was the first to reply, and that was not a coincidence I think. A lot of Hans’s work is a very good example of intimate landscape photography. His latest book INTIMATE I features a great selection of intimate landscapes.

 

INTIMATE I – Hans Strand, Triplekite, 2015 (978-0-993589-1-6)

(View bigger: click on one of the images)

Intimate Landscapes images are more about reflection of the photographer way of seeing rather than the greatness of the subject. When horizons are excluded, nature is scaled down and the feeling of location is lost, then poetry can take over like a whispering that makes an impression, with ingredients of complexity and composition, rather than a dramatic large scale landscape in seductive light. Forest and trees are also favourite subjects who fits within the definition of intimate landscapes. Maybe it is the feeling of comfort I am getting from the trees around me, but working in a forest makes me both relaxed and concentrated. However the untamed chaos of a forest, needs a lot of analysing to come out as a well composed image…‘ – Hans Strand.

Kyle McDougall and Orsolya Haarberg also gave their thoughts about intimate landscape photography. For Orsolya intimate landscapes photographs are peaceful, calm images, they have a softness that comes from her personal use of colors.

Varanger-peninsula, Norway.

Varanger-peninsula, Norway.

‘The qualities are embodied by shades of grey, white and pastels which are the natural colours of the rocks, so I usually only need to find shape to the colours, as I did in the case the image blow. When you photograph intimate landscapes you use your camera to arrange nature’s elements to a structure that makes them meaningful. The only thing you need to do is to distil the essence of the scene and carefully compose your image. You to simplify things – frame a pattern, that you find the most powerful in a landscape, a single motive that attracts your eyes’ – Orsolya Haarberg.

Snæfellsnes-peninsula, Iceland

Snæfellsnes-peninsula, Iceland

 

Kyle refers to intimate landscapes as images that reveal particular features or details in nature that are not highly visible to the untrained eye. They reveal a slice of nature that can easily go unnoticed; rocks, leaves, trees or any collection of elements that are separated from the chaos by use of lines, colors, patterns and light. These images do not need to be strictly detail or macro shots, but rather can take a number of subjects and create a larger scene out of them. On the other hand, ‘grand landscapes” like waterfalls, mountains and dramatic coastlines all jump out of the page at first glance and typically are worked into wider compositions more easily.

‘ I think there’s huge benefits for photographers in creating these type of images. They certainly can be more challenging and require you to study the landscape in depth which can help you develop your creative eye. In my opinion, these types of images rely on the use of patterns and light. You need to study you surroundings and figure out the best way to’ organize the chaos’. Light and weather can play a huge role in this. For example, fog can simplify an otherwise busy forest scene and really create a surreal mood and help isolate subjects’ – Kyle McDougall.

Visions-and-Nature_Kyle-McDougall

As I’m starting preparing for my next workshop, the issue of intimate landscapes still hangs over my head and makes my programme a little more thrilling. What if intimate landscape photography was just a very personal, an almost intimate translation of the relationship a photographer has with the subject in his/her viewfinder? Intimacy as part of the creative process, intimacy as the last resort before pressing the shutter button. That can be a nice exercise for the participants of my next workshop to wrack their brains upon.

(Text and Images by Kristel Schneider with text adaption by Fabienne Rousseau)

 

The Auvergne in the world’s top 10 destinations !

#6 Auvergne region
Published on Lonely Planet.com

Best-of-Auvergne-phototour_Puy-de-Dome_2


Cast your eyes upon the Auvergne’s dramatic volcanic landscape and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Iceland rather than the heart of France. And yet this region has been overlooked by visitors. No more, though – the Auvergne is reinventing itself with a series of ambitious art projects and a growing portfolio of wilderness adventures …
– Loneley Planet Best in Travel 2016

The travel guide Lonely Planet placed the Auvergne in the world’s top 10 regions at #6 to visit, as one living in this region, knowing its beauty,  I can say this nomination is well deserved !
This overlooked region has such a diversity in nature wilderness, a real (Nature) photographer’s candy box.

 

Best-of-Auvergne-Photo-Tour-2015_2

 

Also want to see with your own eyes why Lonely Planet put the Auvergne region in the world’s 10 regions to visit, join me in the field and photograph
its remarkable scenery with glacier-carved valleys and volcanic peaks, the Chaîne des Puys, (a 40km chain of craters and lava domes), volcano lakes, waterfalls and springs, the Tuscany the Auvergne and much more. Every season has its own beauty, that’s why I organize workshops and photo tours (in cooperation with Nordic Vision Photo tours) all year round.
Click here for an overview .
What workshop-photo tour members are saying:

” This photo workshop was a great enrichment! Kristel not only showed me a different approach to photography but also one of the probably most impressive valleys of Auvergne” –Guillaume/France

“…We loved Auvergne – it was absolutely the most interesting and beautiful of the regions of France which we visited (including Paris and Dordogne) – and we intend to return as soon as possible, probably this time in autumn for fall colors. And we definitely will have a return engagement with Kristel! Highly recommended! ” – Steve / USA

Read more click here

 

Create-your-own-workshop-home-page

Inspired by a single tree

Inspired by a single tree
published (09-10-2015) on Nature Photo Portal
text and images by Kristel Schneider

I am happy to announce that I am one of the Bloggers for the new Nature Photo Portal, THE new Resource & Community for Nature Photographers.
Already a great blogger team with photographers: Andrew George, Bas Meelker, Kyle Mc Dougall, Marijn Heuts, Mart Smit, Niklas Virsen, Ville Miettinen.
Ready to Explore, Connect, Learn, Engage, Inspire? Have a look at  Nature Photo Portal and join us.

–  INSPIRED BY A SINGLE TREE –

Kristel-Schneider_Inspired-by-a-single-tree_9
When I was asked to publish my first post for their blog, it was really difficult for me to resist the temptation to write about trees. For those who know me, trees have been a big source of inspiration for a very long time. But I did my best, I did resist! And I decided that, indeed, trees being my favorites, I was not going to let myself drift into such an easy task. As a consequence I decided that, maybe, it was time to restrain and write about… just one tree : that just one single tree ; the one standing just outside my home ; the one I see when I look outside my bedroom window. My Facebook “friends” will smile, as they will immediately recognize that recurring little insignificant subject on my Timeline, my “Window-view series”.

A common subject
In my journey through photography, I have seen amazingly creative images by other photographers, images which have that special “WOW-impact”. Most of them show faraway places, and their subjects thrive in originality, beauty and never-seen-ness. But how about where we live, where we love to be? How about our everyday places? Is there beauty and emotion in what our eyes do not even notice any more? Can something that is so common become the necessary ingredient to create a powerful image?

Window-view series
To think about it, however, I think that the tree itself was just an excuse. Was it just the tree or was there something else about it, something which made me start the series in the first place? The question includes the answer: when you look at it more closely, the only thing that does not change throughout the series is the tree but, what changes IS what everything is all about. The reason why I started looking through the window was not the tree but the weather conditions at a particular time – be it the rain, the wind, the snow or an astounding storm. What really inspired me back then, and even now, were the dramatic and overpowering forces of nature that expressed themselves through the sky, the clouds, the light and the atmosphere. The tree was just grounding them; the tree was just the link between nature and me. My imagination and my camera did the rest. I was changing the ephemeral into something that would last longer.

(View bigger: click on one of the images)

Focused
Had I just focused on the tree itself, it would have resulted in taking a tree throughout the seasons. This has been done by many photographers of different talents. The results are charming and appealing indeed, but not always. And that was not my goal. The truth is, I find it difficult to take just one type of tree image over and over again. I have noticed that over the last couple of years I have liked to experiment more, in order to translate my own personal feelings about nature into an image, by playing with light and depth of field. It all depends on my personal mood of the moment and on the way I think a certain nature scene comes out best. Sometimes it can be a very realistic translation, but captured immediately, on impulse. Or, there are other moments when I think the light is perfect for a more abstract and creative cadre.

Approach
My approach is always different and varies according to what is at hand. When I adopt a realistic approach, I do a pure registration of the scene and create a mood with natural light and elements that are there at that particular time. In a more abstract approach, I play with the natural elements (light, wind, snow falling) or with Intentional Camera Movement technique. Finally, in a more graphical approach of the tree, I do not only just use natural light but work on the tree itself too (I capture it as a silhouette for example) or I use two color tones.

(View bigger: click on one of the images)

To put it in a nutshell, in my journey through photography I have come to the conclusion that traveling was not a prerequisite. There are endless subjects close to home that can make the eye wander (and wonder) and invite the viewer to experience a real change of scenery.

(Text and Images by ©Kristel Schneider, adapted by Fabienne Rousseau)

 

 

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