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)

 

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