Website portfolio update | Latest Work

by Kristel Schneider

Spring time, the season of colors and new life.
For me the time where I focus a lot on flower photography, especially the last couple of weeks I visited my favorite flower ‘hotspots’ in the area
I was happy to see that the wild orchids were doing very good this year, some species came out even too early for me as they were already to damaged to photograph.
Nature is acting pretty unpredictable over the last couple of years and the flora is adapting better to this than our nature flower guides. So it is better to see for yourself and look when
certain species are out or not. Because of the weather (hot, warm, wet, wind) I returned to the flower areas a couple of times to see  their blooming status and to have better photography light conditions.

Today I updated my portfolio | Latest Work, to give you a small overview of what I have been photographing lately.
Feel free to have a look at my website





Color Transformation

Color Transformation
by Kristel Schneider

This weekend I met, for the first time the members of  Massifs Centraux (a collective from four local Photographers). Together we explored an area nearby the Mont-Dore (Auvergne -France), Col de Guéry. Although the calender tells us we are in Spring, the weather is reacting differently with colder temperatures.  Between rain showers and thunderstorms I  was able  to take some images.

The Col de Guéry , is located in a regional nature park, Volcans d’Auvergne.
Due to the altitude (1268) and the colder Spring temperatures you can see that the tree tops in the Col de Guéry show a different color pallet then in lower parts of the Auvergne, where you already can see the different tints of green.
The leaf buds in the valley are still closed and the colors are gradually transforming from a  nice red pastel color glow to different tints of green. But before we can see the green leafs we still  have to wait a couple more weeks.

Images are taken with Canon 5DMII, 24-105 MM  and Canon 300 L mm.

Nature Photo Festival Montier-en-Der

Montier en Der
International Nature Photo Festival 2011
By Kristel Schneider

(all images Nokia phone uploads)

From the 17th till the 20th of November Montier-en-Der (and some surrounding villages)  was  full of life. In the village the festival spread over many different locations, from the city hall to the local schools and other halls. Outside you could enjoy some great outdoor exhibitions for free.  The overall program was very thorough. You could attend conferences, video/film projections, animations and lots of beautiful nature photo exhibitions.

During the festival I met some nice new photographers and I could speak to people I had met on from the social medias on the Internet. A Photo festival provides you with not only inspiration but also good networking possibilities.

In my opinion a couple of exhibitions stood out,  especially those of :

  • Olivier Seydoux, a great show called ‘Latitudes Nord‘, which displayed images from countries 60º and 70º latitude North.
  • Werner Bollmann, presented his new exhibition ‘Nordic Moments‘ with images from Sweden, Norway and Finland.
  • Ludmila Espiaube, ‘Hokkiado, out of the white’, images from a region in Japan under the snow, taken in an artistic, pure and beautiful way.
  • Stéphanne Hette and Paul Starosta, ‘Terre de contraste’ a combined show featuring amazing work on insects. Paul’s work was new from me. Stéphanne whom I had interviewed here on Visions and Nature and his work keep amazing me.
  • Serge Deboffle, ‘L’art et les oiseaux’, his show was interesting in the way he captured the movement of birds in flight.  I liked the ‘arty look’ of his images  and he inspired me to try out some techniques to get ‘movement’ images myself. (But that I will explain in the next Blog post).

Link French Television France 3

Autumn Photography

Autumn Photography
by Kristel Schneider

Autumn, one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. A season full with colors and atmosphere .

Every year the Autumn season makes a photographer’s heart go faster and every year is different. This year the season was late, the climate was too warm to bring out the nice autumn colors on the trees. But when the trees finally are at their best, photographers have to act quick because the top season does not last long. Rain and wind can destroy the scenery overnight.  The sun is not always required for Autumn photography an overcast day and mist are great weather conditions to get these colors popup.

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TIPS for successful Autumn Photography:
– go out even if the weather is cloudy and grey
– get up early to get the first light even in combination with mist.
– use a polarization filter, the colors  get more intense and the filter is also very useful for
wet leaves reflection .
– look at your white balance settings, try out different modes.
– when taking photos of mushrooms look at your background to create a nice color

Even the late Autumn colors (red/brown tints) are nice to capture in landscape photography. So although this year may not have been the top Autumn season, even now,  in November, it is still nice to go out and enjoy some mushrooms and  the late season colors.

New autumn workshop/tour dates available for 2012.

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.

Interview with photographer Marsel van Oosten

Visions and Nature
Nature Photographers interviews


Most nature Photographers are obsessed with reality, with nature as it is, with ‘truth’

Marsel van Oosten (about)

When I started this item, interviews with nature photographers, Marsel was at the top of my list. I was not introduced to Marsel’s work by one of his nature photos. But one with the title flow: in an old, deserted diamond mining town near the Namibian coast. I had it on my desktop for a long time. I loved its great study of line, shape and texture!

By following his work I noticed that I liked the images which conveyed atmosphere and mood. A great example is his personal favourite: an African elephant standing at the edge of Victoria Falls.

Taking photographs began as a way to escape from life in the fast lane. After a trip to Tanzania things started getting more serious, close encountered with the animals of the Serengeti fuelled my passion for wildlife photography.
And five years later I swapped my established advertising career for the precarious life of a nature photographer, a move that demands unyielding devotion ad commitment
, Marsel

Who is your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is a German landscape painter, Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

What made him/her inspire you, with what kind of image(s)?
Friedrich incorporated people as small elements in some of his landscape paintings, giving scale to the image and adding drama. This is what I like to do most with my wildlife photography as well – the animal as a part of a much bigger scene.

What do you like about Nature Photography?
I have worked as art director, and later a creative director, in advertising for over 15 years. I have created myths; worlds of make belief, using images that are far beyond reality. What I like about nature photography is in the first place nature itself, but also the fact that nature can be just as impressive or touching, and often even more, than the fake world that we see on billboards and in commercials every day. In many ways my switch to nature photography is basically an escape to reality. And finally, I like the fact that in nature photography you don’t have full control over your subject, nor over the circumstances. This is often frustrating, but in the end it is what makes me want to try over and over again to get the shot that I have in my head.

Are there things you don’t like about Nature Photography?
Nature photographers can be very fundamentalistic. Most of them are obsessed with reality, with nature as it is, with ‘truth’. They condemn everything that has to do with image manipulation; some even to the extent that removing a piece of grass from the image is considered not done. Photography is an art form, and art is all about freedom of personal expression. The camera is just a tool for the photographer in the same way that a paintbrush is a tool for the painter. Unless you’re shooting for forensic evidence, scientific research or the news, there should be no reason to limit yourself artistically in a way that you’re merely taking photocopies of reality. Nature photography, from a creative point of view, is by far one of the weakest genres. Look at wildlife photographs from two decades ago and compare them to the images that are taken now – the differences are very small. We’re basically still doing the same thing in the same ways; only our cameras and workflow have changed. When you look at fashion photography, nude photography, advertising photography, and even news photography, you see that those genres have changed a lot. There is a reason that art galleries don’t take nature photography, and wildlife photography in particular, serious, and this is it. There is no real creative component in it, it’s all the same. As long as nature photographers keep being more focused on photocopying reality instead of on creating artistic images, our genre will never be seen as art.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become professional nature photographers?
Think again. To earn a living from nature photography is virtually impossible. Contrary to much more commercial photography genres such as fashion and advertising, the subjects in our photography don’t really change. As a result, there is little to no demand for new nature photographs – the market is already saturated. The introduction of digital photography has made this even worse, as so many people are now into photography, and nature photography is probably the easiest genre to get into. Amateur photographers are willing to give their images away for free if they can get published in magazines, resulting in publication prices falling down. Micro-stock, images for as little as $1, are another example of how difficult it is to earn a living from just selling your photographs. There are already millions of photographs of lions, deer, elephants, bears and penguins etc., so demand for new images of the same subjects is extremely low. If you want to become a professional nature photographer, you have to be better and different. A good way to find out if your work is indeed better than the rest is to participate in photo competitions. If your work wins on a regular basis, then your photographs stand out from the crowd. It’s still no guarantee for commercial success, but at least it will help people to notice you. And of course: go out and shoot.

What are your specialities?
I am very fortunate that I’m pretty all-round. Most wildlife photographers are poor landscape photographers and vice versa. I’ve been very successful with my wildlife images, but also with my landscape work, and I’ve published a book with a lot of travel photography. I think that probably has to do with my background in advertising, where I had to do an ad for a car one day, and a commercial for ladies underwear the next.

Wildlife photography is my speciality. In my photography composition is crucial, and I go to great lengths to get a clean and graphic look with strong shapes. The habitat is very important for me and I often say that I’m a wildlife photographer that thinks like a landscape photographer.

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
My personal favourite photograph is that of an African elephant standing at the edge of Victoria Falls. For me, this image is the perfect example of what I like to do most; a combination of landscape photography and wildlife photography in a single image.

Describe how it was taken?
I was visiting Victoria Falls when I was shooting for the Wild Romance book, and I heard from one of the local guides that an elephant had been spotted in the vicinity of the falls. I decided to stay some extra days, hoping to get a shot of the elephant and the falls in one image. I think it was the third day that we saw this particular elephant halfway in the Zambezi River, feeding on the fresh vegetation on one of the many small islets. A few hours later it suddenly walked all the way up to the edge of the falls, and I had to run to the edge myself in order to see as much of the falling water as possible. When I had taken the shot, I knew it was very special. Later I heard from the locals that no one had ever seen an elephant that close to the edge of the falls before.

You are now on Visions and Nature Blog, a Nature and Landscape Photography Blog from Kristel Schneider. Do you know her work?
When you look at her gallery which image pops out for you and why?I didn’t know about Kristel’s work. I had a look at her website and the image that pops out for me is the one of a fly hanging on grass; I like the composition and the lines in the background. I do wish the fly was a bit brighter though. Click here so see the image Marsel selected.


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