My introduction today is a first, well it is the first time I have shown someone from New Zealand I believe. Richard is from there and has been taking photos of New Zealand and then putting them up on his blog Learning to Snap. If you are a landscape photographer then New Zealand has to be one of those places that you would love to go to. I know since seeing Lord of the Rings, I really want to go their to take photos. The landscapes always seem big, I don’t know how to describe it really. I will try.
This is sort of what I mean, big mountains, big scenes. Australia and New Zealand are very close, but yet millions of miles apart with it comes to our landscapes. Australia is more open, big skies and very dry, whereas I imagine New Zealand with more mountains, and real mountains, with lots of atmosphere and very wet. New Zealand is further south than us, so I assume that is why it is like that. I see scenes like the one Richard has taken here and I am envious. It is a magical shot, and it really makes me want to take that trip there. Milford Sound is a place I’ve been hearing about for years and Richard has so many amazing images of it, this is just one of them. I love the colours in the foreground, seems to warm up a cold image, or cold environment.
I asked Richard about why he takes photos.
The short answer is for fun!
I take photographs to let my creativity out. I enjoy being outdoors tramping, skiing or mountain biking and taking my camera allows me share those places and experiences.I have been taking photos since I was a kid with an old Kodak camera and 127 film but started being more serious (if that’s the right word) when I joined the Kaiapoi Photographic Club having moved to New Zealand about 7 years ago. Over 100,000 images later and I still have so much to learn!
I had to go back aways to find a image of winter on Richard’s blog, it has been a while since winter was here, but it is certainly making a come back here now. I know that most of you know it never snows here, not where I am, so if I want to see snow I have to drive a long way, or look at photos of it from other people. I love how Richard has captured the snow falling here. I am assuming it is snow, and not rain.
As usual I asked Richard about what inspires him.
I am inspired by the world around me, the landscapes of New Zealand in particular. Great light, textures and shapes make me run for my camera.
I enjoy looking at images on the web and particularly in books. I look at the work of lots of photographers, the masters of the craft are so inspiring; from early photographers such as Atget through the work of Man Ray and Ansel Adams to Michael Kenna and Annie Leibovitz. I have enjoyed the ebooks from Craft and Vision particularly the titles on creativity and inspiration by David duChemin.
I love it when you see trees like this. I have never come across one, but I think they make great subjects for photos, and I know the day I finally find one I won’t be leaving it for a long time. I will want to get every image of it I can. The foggy/misty conditions really add to this image. It must get very windy there.
The third question was if there was anything special about how he worked.
Mostly I just start taking images and see where it takes me, I find that once I start making images it gets easier and I get more ideas. Occasionally I plan an image but usually I end up with something different from what I imagined anyway.
For landscapes I tend to be at either extreme, either very wide or telephoto. I really like the compression effect with a long lens.
While I think of landscapes when I think of Richard’s work, it would be wrong, he does do other sorts of images and architecture is featured there as well.
You will also see that he photographs lots of sports as well. There is a great variety of sports there, and a great variety of other subjects as well.
I also asked Richard what gear he uses.
I currently use a Nikon D800E having recently upgraded from my much loved (and well worn) Nikon D700. I have a variety of Nikkor lenses 14-24, 24-70, 80-200, 105mm and a nifty 50mm, all fast and sharp. I use polarisers, ND filters and graduated NDs to get the best image I can in camera.
On the computer I use Lightroom or Aperture along with Photoshop CC. To speed things up I use a variety of plugins and particularly like Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro.
With all the hi-tech equipment sometimes it is good to get back to something more organic and I use a Holga with B&W film instead which I develop in my kitchen!
Except for the last part he could almost be describing my gear too, without the E on the end of the camera model.
I think when you go to Richard’s blog, Learning to Snap, you will not have a hard time finding images to like. As I was going through it, I realised that a lot of the images I was getting for the blog were all from later posts, I had to stop myself from taking everything. He does help you visualise his homeland and I hope you agree that he his images are of a high standard. I would also like to thank Richard for allowing me to feature Learning to Snap on my Introductions post today. Please go and visit, you won’t be disappointed. Here is a gallery of some of his wonderful images.