Dog’s Tooth violet

Spring flower Photography
by Kristel Schneider

Dog’s Tooth violet
(Erythronium)

Erythronium_3
Erythronium_7

In Puy de Dôme (Auvergne, France) this wild flower is rather rare. They normally flower around March till April/May . Lately we have very nice warm weather in France and nature is far ahead.
So yesterday afternoon I had a look at the spot I know in the forest, to look if the little violets where already above the ground.  Despite the nice weather I was still too early, but after some thorough ground search I  found a couple of the flowers I was looking for.

Personally I find this flower very photogenic and a lust for the eye, in contrast with the little forest location where it grows. I think it’s an (old) dump place, full with thorns, dead leaves and trash (car tires, electrical wire, metal barrows, washing machines etc).  It is the second visit for me to this place and I must say  it’s a real challenge to crawl with your 300mm or 150 mm lens over the floor and find a nice low angle shot 😉

Art Print Special Month July 2012

Art Print Special of the Month, July 2012
by Kristel Schneider
 

  Special Art Print offer,  Month July 2012 —a photograph from Pond Water Crowfoot with reflection .

Pond Water crowfoot, from  June 14th 2012. Location:  Étang de Marchaud (St-Germain L’Herm, PRN du Livradois Forez, Auvergne, France).

The blue sky is reflecting nicely in the water, this gives the image a nice pastel tint.

Art Print Special  for only € 39 !

Click here for how to order this Art Print click here to purchase the Print of the Month July 2012.

Page size
(metric stds.)
  cm   inches Paper finish
A4  21×29.7 8.27×11.69 l’Ilford Premium Matt

Read How to order and then click here to purchase the Print of the Month February 2012.

This image—at this price—will only be available for the month of  July 2012!

More information about my Art Prints click here.

For gifting or decorating

Any image in the Art Print folder can be purchased as an ART PRINT.
Each print is quality-checked and signed by Kristel Schneider before it is sent out to you.

Images will be added to the Art Print folder regularly. So, check back for new additions!
and on this Blog the special Art Print of the Month will be announced.

Interview with Jim Brandenburg (part 2)

Visions and Nature
Photographers interview
Jim Brandenburg by Kristel Schneider 

The series of interviews with Nature Photographers is coming to an end and I thought with Jim Brandenburg I have a real Grand Finale.  Missed Interview with Jim Brandenburg (part 1), click here.

Jim Brandenburg

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become   professional nature photographers?
Nature photography is so accessible nowadays and you do not have to shoot 20 rolls of films and be disappointed after spending a day in Nature. Today you can always come back after a day out with a happy reward and enjoy it. Do not start to see it as a business, but study nature, follow some workshops, read your Blog and fully enjoy it. When you start to see it as a business it will spoil the fun. I see it every day- people who are enthusiastic photographers next to their busy daytime job, go off on vacation and come back with some nice images and are thrilled about them. This takes them to the next stage, wondering if they can publish these nice images and then they change…. when they start to look at it as a profession next to their daytime job. It is a job what I have enjoyed for many years now and it is sad and odd to see people play in a way with your profession as a Nature Photographer by thinking they can do this ‘on the side’.  But on the other hand as I mentioned before, I love to see these people out taking photos, it changes their lives. So that is the double thing.

In addition to this, all those social media and forums are puzzling me sometimes. I do not say it is bad –  it provides people a tool to get in contact with other photographers more easily –  but it is so far from my own world.  I have been in the photography business for so long now – almost 50 years – and I have never posted a tweet in my life. Everything is changing so fast that by spending a lot of time behind the computer people miss out on the best part, walk by them selves in nature, study it and feel the intimacy – which is the best part of Nature Photography.

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ?
I have a retrospective exhibit in Germany right now and it will be in France later on in 2012. 120 Pictures, amongst which the very first one I took when I was 14 years old and the last one recently from the Dalai Lama. The retrospective is not all about nature as there are a lot of people in it actually. Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?

My first attempt at nature photography… the red fox. I made it with a cheap $3 plastic camera with no settings available. It was shot at the same place as the Bison in winter.

‘the very first one I took when I was 14 years old’

Retrospective exhibit:
- Iserlohn Germany on the 27th of January 2012
- Salo Finland on March 16th 2012, openings talk at the Museum.

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
Four of my images where chosen for inclusion in a unique collection that represents the ’40 most important nature photographs of all time’. The images were chosen by members of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) a fellowship of the world’s top professional conservation photographers and editors. And what is odd is that amongst the 4 photos they picked, three of them are also my personal favourites, what about coincidence?
Here are the four images that where chosen:

The Arctic wolf  jumping is from my favorite. Nat. Geographic story and the most rewarding and thrilling professional experience. It is also in a very remote and wild place that has always drawn and attracted me: the Arctic. I lived on and off with this family of wolves for 3 years. Much like the primate researchers do in Africa. I lived in a tent near the den and spent intense time, almost 100%, watching and photographing them. This represents a time in magazine photojournalism that is virtually gone now in that this kind of complex and expensive support is no longer possible. Photographers need to do it alone now and be self supporting. I was indeed fortunate to have worked during that time. In the 1980’s.

The Gray wolf peeking from behind a tree is perhaps my best known and most successful image. I moved from the agricultural treeless prairie to live in the remote and wild forests on the Canadian border. The wolf was the main reason to come here where I live now. The only way one can truly tell the honest story of the wolf is to live with them because they are so illusive and shy. (I have spent many weeks in the French Alps looking for wolves- only seeing tracks)  This image speaks clearly of the wolf’s illusive and mysterious ways. At the same time it pulls one in and then for some creates a bit of mystery and perhaps a bit of anxiety or fear. That is the reputation of the wolf. I shot this image within walking distance of my home.

The Oryx ( Gemsbok ) is in the Namib desert. This image along with the jumping wolf illustrates my style of putting the animal in its environment and not necessarily trying to get as close as possible. I feel it is often more important artistically and tells a better story. I also grew up on a treeless landscape where I also learned my photography. I seem to often do better in that kind of simple land form. It is in my subconscious. This was from also a Nat. Geographic story I did on Namibia. It was a full cultural coverage and also included war/battle photography during their civil war. It is the strongest image that came out of the story, nature being my main passion. This image has won many notable awards such as BBC Photographer of the Year and American NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year awards.

The Bison in winter was taken where I grew up, the place where I learned how to do photography. It is almost in the exact same spot where I made my first “keeper” image of a fox at age 14. It is not one of my top favourites but represents an important part of my history and work. Also it is part of the group of 4 that ILCP chose so it makes a nice and compact theme. This was not shot on assignment. It also shows that I often use wide-angle lenses for wildlife.

Before our interview Jim had a look at my website a couple of times and he picked out some images that really pop out for him. We had a nice discussion about my portfolio and he inspired me to move on and follow my goals. Thanks Jim!

We walked together through some of my galleries on my website:

Winter gallery

  • The sunrise view on Puy de Dôme ; very beautiful, the pastel light in combination with the white snow. Great light.
  • Snow waves structures, the two images from the snow waves  made me think about Ernst Haas. You would be surprised how identical it looks; it is one of Ernst Haas most famous picture.
  • Road in Winter scenery, Abstract frozen shape in water; I like these.
  • Three tops in pink sunset, Love this one, beautiful lighting. I like the soft delicate pastel colors in some of your images. This kind of images I enjoy taking.

Autumn & Tree gallery
In these gallery there also several but the one that made me very happy is the Beechwood in autumn vertical. It tells you something, I can not always explain, photography is obviously something that does not need to have words to describe it, that why it is a photograph, it communicates something…..for me when I looked at it I changed, something vibrated inside me, felt familiar, it made me happy it just felt right, Everybody has a different feeling when they look at each picture. I know you have a horizontal version of the same scene but I like the vertical better, it feels together for me, feels good.

  • Cascade in wood scenery:  beautiful, it remind me of right here, it looks like my front yard.
  • Autumn hill, another images that makes me happy to look at. For me this is what France looks like when I think about it.

Dream and Mood gallery
An image that also interests me is Abstract grass in snow; lines, dots, simple and that is the kind of image I would shoot also. I like it.

Mushrooms gallery
When I started in photography I was also very attracted by mushrooms, their shapes and there colors, yours are just great! Love the purple ones; I have never seen those before ever, I don’t think we have them in the US. The first three images with these purple mushrooms (Amethyst Deceivers) are just amazing. And I like these little tiny ones with the soft focus, you call them Milking Bonnet Mushrooms soft focus.

END

Interview with Jim Brandenburg (part 1)

Visions and Nature
Photographers interview
Jim Brandenburg by Kristel Schneider 

‘Nature Photography is my language; I speak it better than English. It is a very personal intimate thing to me’.

The series of interviews with Nature Photographers is coming to an end and I thought with Jim Brandenburg I have a real Grand Finale.

Jim Brandenburg

When I first got in contact with Jim’s work I was still very young: I can remember that I was amazed by the images and it was via my parents that I had the opportunity to look in the National Geographic Magazines. It was much later that I connected, the images that had inspired me with the name Jim Brandenburg. And now when you read a lot about Nature Photography you know that Jim is a living legend and that he had inspired many other photographers all over the world.

I am very happy and honored to have this exclusive interview on Visions and Nature.
As for me it was a real personal joy to talk with Jim; he is the kind of person that speaks with so much enthusiasm and spirit that after hanging up the phone I immediately wanted to go out in Nature and take photos.
I Hope you feel the same after reading his interview that will be published in two Blog posts (part 1 and part 2).  

Short background
Minnesota native Jim Brandenburg traveled the planet as a photographer with National Geographic magazine for over 3 decades resulting in 23 magazine stories, several television features and many National Geographic books.
Over the course of his career, Brandenburg received a multitude of prestigious national and international honors for his work. Four of Jim Brandenburg’s images have recently been chosen to be part of a unique collection that represents the “40 most important nature photographs of all times.
Brandenburg was the recipient of the World Achievement Award from the United Nations Environmental Programme in Stockholm, Sweden, in recognition of his using nature photography to raise public awareness for the environment.
Brandenburg has published many bestsellers including: Chased by the Light, Looking for the Summer,Brother Wolf, White Wolf and Minnesota Images of Home.
More information about Brandenburg can be found on his web page  www.jimbrandenburg.com

Who is your inspiration?  
That’s always a difficult question as so many things influence us, but I have always been interested in art ever since I was very young.
I think all kinds of art influence us. When I was a teenager I was quite successful as a musician – I played with the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry. Then I studied art at the university and started painting. The French impressionists had a very powerful effect on me. In photography there is maybe one photographer who inspired or influenced me: Ernst Haas. It keeps surprising me how few people know him. The work of Ernst Haas is amazingly powerful and contemporary as if it had been shot today. He was the fist person to use 35 mm cameras for magazine photography. Color and B&W.He must be almost a hundred years old now. Remarkable talent!

Then there is a whole bunch of people that inspire me, amongst whom a lot of painters. There is no one in particular that really comes out powerfully but definitely hundreds who influenced me and will continue to do so.

What do you like or do not like about Nature Photography?
I came to photography because of nature, I was always extremely interested in nature. I painted it, and as a child I was a hunter. I grew up in a culture with a very deep hunting tradition. I hunted until I started caring and feeling about animals so much that in the end I did not understand why we had to kill them. So I traded my guns for cameras when I was 14 years old. It felt so natural to me. Since then I have been out every day to look at the tracks in the snow or to listen to the birds and look at the animals. Nature for me goes very deep. Nature Photography is my language; I speak it better than English. It is a very personal intimate thing to me on the other hand I do not understand people very well especially when the world gets crazier and crazier. Even if I like a lot of people, nature is a more consistent force. It is something we came out of millions and millions of year ago, and we have to cherish it. I am always surprised that so few people have a deeper passion for nature, and how much of the world never thinks about nature.
Business like Nature Photography has changed. It has become a bit bizarre. In the old days, when we were still using Kodachrome cameras, you really had to understand photography and be really good at it to survive. Nowadays, take someone with a moderate amount of talent but who has never made a picture in their lives before. They go to the camera store and buy even a cheap camera. In the same day that someone can make a magazine-worthy picture, if they have some sense of composition.

There are ten – even hundred – thousand photographers out there doing this and they have destroyed the Nature Photography business in terms of income. In terms of magazine photography, books and photo publishing, there are so many photographers that are willing to give their images away just to be published, just for the fun of it.
And I don’t say this with anger, just if you ask me what is the worst part in Nature Photography then this has totally changed my income and I had to think about changing my perspectives, doing other things next to it such as making movies. And of course I have nothing to complain about, I am the luckiest person in the world but for those young new talented photographers it will be almost impossible to make the same career or even make a good profit in Photography as I said.

Still the good thing about Nature Photography is that it brings happiness and joy. All these thousands of people are in contact with nature, they enjoy it and they love taking photos. That makes me happy.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become   professional nature photographers?  Jim’s answer to this question and  more will be published in: Interview with Jim Brandenburg (part 2).
Coming soon on Visions and Nature.

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
contrast.

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.

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