When I was about 7 years old, I became acquainted with the world of photography under the watchful eye of my father (former employee at Agfa-Gevaert). At that time, we mainly photographed during our mountain holidays in Switzerland.
The photos were intended as memories of these beautiful weeks in the Alps. It was there that my desire to portray the beautiful alpine flora made me take my first tentative steps in macro photography.
Five at Five Questions
- When and how did you start on your photographic journey?
The first time my father handed me a camera, I must have been about six years old. In time I got my own reflex camera. In the beginning it was mainly holiday photos that were taken, but our interest in detail photography quickly grew. With a set of spacers we tried to compete in making the best shots of mainly alpine flowers that we encountered during our mountain trips. At the same time, my interest and love for nature grew. This combination of nature experience and photography really fully developed when I reached retirement age. It was also around that time that I started my blog to share my work with others and especially to get a review from other photographers.
- What subject do you like photographing the most?
As I said, nature is assigned the most important role when it comes to photography. My working area is in my own country (Belgium) where it is mainly the local flora and fauna that make up the subject. Flowers and plants are the simplest and above all patient subjects when it comes to macro photography. Later, there was also the challenge of getting insects in front of the lens in a fun way. Bird photography has recently been added. To take myself out of my comfort zone every now and then, landscape and architecture photography also seem fun to work with.
- Have you been influenced by other photographers, if so by whom and why? If not, who is your favourite photographer?
There are so many photographers who focus on nature photography and I try to get some inspiration from the work of all these people. If I have to name someone, I like to choose two compatriots: Dirk Ercken (photographer and biologist) and Ingrid Vekemans, who photographs both in Belgium and Africa. Finally, I would like to mention Arjan de Heer from the Netherlands for his beautiful macro and landscape photography. Besides these three people, there are of course also a number of followers on both my blog and on social media who continuously feed me with inspiration.
- What is the go-to camera equipment that you use regularly and what software do you use to process your images?
At the moment I shoot with the Nikon D5600 (certainly not an expensive class one) in combination with three Sigma lenses: 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary / 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary / 150- 600mm F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary. I always make my shots in RAW, mainly Adobe Photoshop and in some cases RawTherapee (freeware) and Luminar AI are my favorite software for post-processing my photos.
- What is your favourite method of processing an image? (i.e., colour, monochrome, saturated, dreamy look etc)
If I had to choose from these four, I would undoubtedly opt for the more dreamy look. In fact, the whole process of creating an image starts with the shooting itself. You can never make something good out of a messy background, even with the best post-processing program. The position of the camera, background and lighting conditions are extremely important for a good result for a successful detail or macro shot.
My objective is to separate the subject from the background by blurring the latter sufficiently or to give the background a meaningful but beautiful support to the whole.
Thank you, Rudi, for participating in the Five at Five Introduction Series.
Next Week’s Intro is Mike Allegra of Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow