Interview with photographer Edwin Giesbers

Visions and Nature
Photographers interview

Nature is an excuse for me to crawl

‘Wild Wonders of Europe (WWE) introduced me to Edwin’s work. On his WWE blog posts he published some images he captured in Liechtenstein. I loved his flower images, lots of colour contrast. I searched on the net for other images and found his landscape work also very interesting’, Kristel

Edwin was born in 1967 in Arnhem, The Netherlands. He has now been living in Nijmegen, close to Arnhem and the German border for several years. The love for nature started in his youth. He has been photographing since the age of 16, and for a number of years he has been a dedicated professional nature photographer. His topics in nature are very diverse, from small subjects such as plants and insects to bigger ones such as birds, mammals and landscapes. He likes to travel around the world and has visited the most extreme areas such as Borneo, Madagascar and Antarctica. Despite this, he also still finds it a challenge to take images in his own country, in a new and interesting way .

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Edwin Giesbers — All Rights Reserved

Who is your inspiration?
Since the early years of my nature photography (and that goes far back!) there has indisputably been a photographer  who is my absolute favourite: Frans Lanting . Born (1951) in the Netherlands but soon after his studies in Economics went to America. After an additional study, he made the switch to become a professional nature photographer. Not a bad decision! Besides numerous articles for National Geographic, he has produced beautiful books as ‘eye to eye’, ‘jungle’ and ‘Penguins’.

What made him/her inspire you, with what kind of image(s)?
Often these photographers have a particular speciality such as macro photography, landscape photography, environment photography or black and white photography. But this guy controls everything: striking close-ups of reptiles, amphibians and insects, birds and mammals penetrating images of magnificent landscapes.
Each subject has the same characteristic: Lanting quality!.
In addition, he has created these images in every conceivable environment, from the hot humid tropics to the icy cold of Antarctica.
David Doubilet ‘most famous underwater photographer for National Geographic ” once  said about him, ‘I’m glad he does not (or barely) do underwater photography. And the few underwater pictures Lanting took are also top. Besides the gift of telling a story with photos Lanting also has a gift for the more creative and compelling images.
New fill flash techniques,  movement, striking camera angles and camera-traps, etc., Lanting was already practising these techniques as one of the first in the early 70th and subsequently, with also a very powerful image as an end result.
Over the last few years we’ve seen more images of animals in motion with slow shutter speed (so as to create momentum) in nature photography. Lanting was already making such images already 20 years ago. It is the same for the now much vaunted “animal in landscape’ instead of ‘animal portrait’ images, Lanting has made them for many decades. And not just in a dull landscape. Think of his famous statue of courting albatrosses in an incredibly beautiful landscape. There were also the tightly framed animal portraits of incomparable beauty, that made you almost look  into the soul of the animal (at least for me). Consider for example the Puma-portrait on the cover of his book ‘eye to  eye’.
Made in captivity, incidentally! And yes Lanting didn’t hesitate to create beautiful portraits in captivity images which were often not possible to make in “real” nature.

What do you like about Nature Photography?
What else? Nature photography is for me being in nature and enjoying it. As a young boy I already would explore the nature around my home.
Nowadays it is an infinitely long and exciting journey where I always see new subjects and look for new ways to capture them. And nature is an excuse for me to crawl (also as a young boy) in a field of beautiful flowers and strange-looking insects, but now with a camera around my neck. And with nature photography, we have a tool in our hands to show magnificent nature to other people and make make them aware that it is necessary to protect such fragile nature . It gives me the possibility to spend much time in nature. You must get to see the beautiful places on earth. And photography is a natural process that is continuously developing. You always learn new ways and it challenges you every time again.

Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Edwin Giesbers — All Rights Reserved

Are there things you don’t like about Nature Photography?
First of all I totally agree with the view of Marsel van Oosten. No more words to add to this very clear and refreshing vision . Second: the time it takes when I travel to a remote location. I find it annoying to travel many hours in an air-plane or in a car. And of course the time that I’m away from home. Missing my girlfriend and children when I’m abroad for a job. And the Confrontation with the decline and disappearance of natural areas. All around the world I have seen it happening. Even on a recent trip to Madagascar, I was faced with the problem. Nature photography can, and must play, an important role in the protection of the vulnerable nature everywhere on earth.

Do you have any tips for Visions and Nature readers who would like to become   professional nature photographers?


Three trips for Nature Photographers every time in general;

  1. Natural wonders are everywhere, even in your own backyard. You do not have to travel  to wild places on the other side of the world to make exciting images. Everything you need to do is open your eyes and look.
  2. Choose a project (for example one species) near your home town, read and learn everything about this species and then try to capture it in differential ways and work with it until you can tell a story with your images.
  3. Look at the work or other photographers (not just natural), look at work of famous painters, visit exhibitions, but find your own way.

And for people who would like to become a pro nature photographer: mmmm …. Probably these days as difficult as winning the lottery but it works if you’re the luckiest man / woman on earth.

What are your specialities?
I photograph many subjects but a differential probably speciality is the photography of natural subjects such As small plants, insects, reptiles and amphibians.
I try to capture them  in a more creative style with quiet backgrounds and foreground. Keywords are simplicity, form and abstract.

Share with us one of your personal favourite photographs?
I find it difficult to choose my best picture, I have a few favourites. But the picture of the two Adelie penguins in their habitat is certainly a big favourite. It perfectly reflects my feeling of Antarctica, penguins as tiny as small creatures in a magnificent blue and white world. It looks as if they are connected to each other by the touch of a wing. They are definitely friends.Photographs are Copyrighted © 2011, Edwin Giesbers — All Rights Reserved

Describe how it was taken?
During a nice journey through the Antarctic waters (thanks! Magazine Browsing / Netherlands)  I was impressed by the beautiful blue tones of the landscape. With the zodiac we were sailing in a bay with stunning Icebergs of all shapes and shades of blue. And in a flash I saw, from a great distance, the two penguins at exactly the right place on the most beautiful icebergs in the bay.  I immediately responded and made three images and then the penguins plunged into icy water. The moment lasted only 2 or 3 seconds but I will remember it forever. These are the special moments and one of the reasons why I have become a nature photographer.

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?  Yes, I know her work from the website Nature Inspirations.
The images I like is the image with moving trees. It gives me a feeling or a dream forest and I like the creative approach. Click here for the image(s) Edwin likes in the dream and mood gallery.


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