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Charlotte Siebert

– Children Photographer Text : Adele Minnaar Images: Charlotte Siebert

Q: Your name please: A: Charlotte Siebert Q: Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview? Facebook: Charlotte Siebert Photography Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? A: I don’t talk about myself really, more my dreams about my photography, how I R AY M A G A Z I N E

would like to see my photography take form and where I would like to go to take photographs. Q: When did you decide to become a photographer? A: It caught me by surprise actually. The bug bit me when I got my first cell phone camera, I was happily snapping away, but soon got frustrated as the camera could not produce the quality I was looking for, or the type of shots I had in mind.


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Q: What does photography mean to you? A: I like the creative freedom I have with my photography, no person looks at something the same way, so there’s never a right or wrong about a beautiful image in my eyes. Photography gives me the freedom to express myself and be creative. Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW? A: It was whilst on assignment at the zoo for the photographic course I was busy with, I though nothing of it when I saw it on the camera, but when I got home afterwards and saw it on the PC, it was exactly what I wanted, I couldn’t believe it was something I captured. Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography? A: I did a course in photography at the National School of Photography when I just got my camera, everything after that is self taught. Q: How technical is your photography? I ss u e 6 5 / 2010

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PHOTO G R A PHY A: I try to not get too technical with my photography, I’m afraid it would take away the excitement and spontaneity. There is technicality involved, but not nearly as much as there should be according to some of the really big names out there. I tend to focus more on the image I am capturing than the technical aspects of if. Q: Where is your favourite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why? A: I currently live in Pretoria, have all my life, but if I could choose it would certainly be somewhere exotic and warm, with outstretched landscapes and interesting scenery to explore. Q: Define the word “beauty”! A: Beauty is different through everyone’s eyes; we all experience it in our own unique way. I think beauty and emotion go hand in hand. Q: What is your most favourite and least favourite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel? A: I don’t really have favourites and least favourites, if I have to choose I would probably say “frustration”; that is a word I can relate to very well as I get frustrated quickly, because of my very hurried nature, I want it done yesterday already. Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera? A: I haven’t really noticed a big change, except for that I become more of an acrobat, and I will bend, crawl and scale a building if there’s a shot that I’m really after. Q: Who are your influences? A: I am captivated by the work of Koos van der Lende, and Martin Osner, I hope to be in their shoes one day. I would love to be able to go into nature and take twelve days to take a single photo, waiting for the perfect conditions. What bliss! Martin’s work is never the same, there is always something that catches my eye, then I think to myself, wow, I will try that. I think that’s also why I veer more towards the fine art side of photography. But, as I grow as a photographer, I will discover new things that will inspire and shape me. Q: What is your favourite image, either your own

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or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you? A: There are simply too many to mention, but if I have to pick a favourite of my own, for now it will be the shot of the girl with the dirty face featured in this issue. Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis? A: Staying positive, focussed and seeing the bigger picture. I tend to get carried away and forget my end goal sometimes. Q: What are your favourite subjects to photograph? A: I love to photograph children in a relaxed atmosphere, they warm to me quite quickly, and that is when I can really start “working”. I don’t like the stiff-necked, glassy-eyed shots you get in a studio. I think all the lights, umbrellas and outer-worldly gadgets intimidate them a bit,


PHOTO GR A PH Y that is why I prefer being outside with the kids, playing, laughing and just being kids, myself included. I also feed my spirit from nature and everything in it, landscape photography evokes emotions in me, and to me that is something really special. When looking at a photograph, and I “feel” it, is when it speaks to my inner self. I don’t get out half as much as I would like to feed that part of me, fingers crossed, hopefully that will change soon, then I can spend time with the little people in the place I love best, outdoors! Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! A: I can still remember how nervous I felt, my heart pounding in my ears. I had a night photography assignment to complete and decided on the Transvaal Museum in town. It is illuminated perfectly at night time and I thought it would make for some interesting shots. I

dragged my mother along, safety in numbers you know, as if two would be enough! Well, I was merrily going about my business, taking photographs of the fountain with the Zulu Warrior outside when a man came up to me, leaned in close, and whispered – they are watching you. At first I got agitated and didn’t understand what/who he was referring to, but then it struck me, “they” want to rob/mug/murder me. I didn’t stick around to see who “they” were; I didn’t even take my camera off the tripod. Camera and tripod in one hand, my mother’s hand in the other I made my way back to my car as quickly as I could. As we were half running towards the car, I could see them rounding up from behind. I unlocked the car - thank heavens for central locking - got in and drove off like a bat out of hell.

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Geoff

A Specialised photographer in Kwa-Zulu Natal –

Feldon

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PHOTO GR A PH Y Q: Your name please: A: Geoff Feldon Q: Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview? My Space: Facebook: Geoff Feldon Twitter: Blogger: Other: Geoff Feldon on Outdoor photo. http:// www.outdoor photo.co.za/forum/photopost/ showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=6603 Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? A: I enjoy the interaction with other photographers whether discussing technical aspects or great locations and photo opportunities. This helps generate new ideas, learn new techniques and hopefully also impart some my own knowledge. Q: When did you decide to become a photographer? A: Photography has always interested me but it was only about 4 years ago that I decided to stop just taking snaps and really improve my skills and start taking good images. Q: What does photography mean to you? A: It is an expression of ideas, an interpretation of what one sees, the capture of a moment in time, the focus on something that the normal eye misses and the joy of creating a pleasing image.

A: I seem to vary from being very technical at times and other times just getting the shot. The technical aspects are important to know but there is a time when you need to let instinct take over and concentrate on capturing the image. Often the best photos are taken at this time as one captures the mood and feeling. That is why I do believe it is necessary to learn and fully understand the technicalities so as not to miss the shot while fiddling around with settings etc.

Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW? A: I remember as a very young boy an old box type camera my Dad had that only did black and white and when I had taken a roll of film and had it processed I was really proud that I had taken those pictures. Regrettably I did not follow through from then, I guess to many other distractions at that age. Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography? A: I have no formal training and have learnt from reading books and magazines and from other photographers. Q: How technical is your photography?

Q: Where is your favourite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why? A: I have only ever lived and taken my serious I ss u e 6 / 2 0 1 0

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T R AV E LG R A PHY PHOTO look through the camera? A: I wouldn’t say that it changes at all as I try to capture images as I see them and how they make me feel. I am really only starting to learn to take photos that convey what I feel, well to me at least and I hope others will see the same thing I do. Not all photos are necessarily meant to convey a feeling or mood as some are simply meant to capture a great scene and I find nothing wrong with that. Q: Who are your influences? A: I have never been one to study or try to copy a particular photographers style and my influences are great photos I come across anywhere as I enjoy all aspects of photography. Q: What is your favourite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation

Photos in South Africa and I would not say that I have one potential favourite place, however I think that the UK must be one of the best for landscapes and you can’t beat SA for nature. But your own home always offers plenty of opportunity for indoor creative work. Q: Define the word “beauty”! A: To quote a cliché – “ it is in the eye of the beholder”. Sorry but I firmly believe that as difference people always find different things beautiful. Q: What is your most favourite and least favourite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel? A: Most favourite is content whether in photography or life as one cannot be ecstatically happy all the time but if I am content then I am enjoying life. Least favourite would be ... I don’t really know, all negative words I guess. Negativity never helps anyone. Q: How does your personality change when you R AY M A G A Z I N E


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or meaning to you? A: My favourite one is a macro of oil drops on water with all the rainbow colours. I used a small flat glass dish with water and olive oil place on a CD. My favourite because my wife took one look at it and said “I have to have that on my wall in my office”. Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life. A: I am in a manufacturing business and so weekdays are generally hectic as anyone will know. Weekends and holidays are spent at home or with friends but I also enjoy sometimes just going out on my own or with a few fellow photographers to see what we can find to capture. Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis? A: I have a fantastic wife and two great children (unfortunately both overseas) and I can honestly say I don’t have any personal challenges when to comes to daily life. Business is of course always full of challenges which make life interesting. From a photographic point of view the

challenge is to keep improving and getting better images. Q: What are your favourite subjects to photograph? A: Landscapes and sport are my favourite but I do enjoy all aspects from macro to studio. Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! A: The funniest was being out one morning in the Drakensberg on my own and concentrating so much on what I wanted to do that I found myself on the other side of a river and when I was finished wondering how I was going to get back. After some very careful stone hopping I made it with all gear intact but there were some anxious moments. Most bizarre was a camera club outing with about 30 photographers all trying to take pics of one model down on the beach. She was most patient even when wet and cold. Q: What types of assignments are you attracted

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Most? A: At the risk of being boring I enjoy the challenge of getting the right shots and therefore attracted to anything. From a personal enjoyment point of view either photographing a sports event or getting out into quite places on my own are most enjoyable. R AY M A G A Z I N E

Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you? A: I would summarize this in two words – feeling and mood. Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist? A: I don’t really think of my self as an artist as I


PHOTO GR TRAAV PHEY L always consider the traditional arts of painting and sculpture to the real artists but I am sure many will shot me down on that one. Q: How do you describe your photographic style? A: I really don’t believe that I have developed what one would call a style yet. That may evolve but it is not something I am consciously trying to do. Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs? A: Generally if someone likes your shot they will say so but if they don’t say anything you can bet it doesn’t appeal to them. I am most surprised, and pleased, when someone says that they wish they had taken that photo. Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows... A: Then it would no longer be a secret that noone knows. Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already? A: Am I allowed to say the owner of the shebeen that keeps me awake on a Saturday night. Seriously it would be an experienced international model in a studio shoot and the Lake District in the UK. Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others? A: I would have started earlier, and I have no

one but myself to blame for that. Don’t put off following a passion just as when a photo opportunity arises don’t say “ I will come back again’ because the same opportunity will never arise. That is something my daughter taught me. Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it? A: Technology changes and we must embrace it because we cannot stop it. I have no problem with it being used as much as anyone wants to although I prefer to get the shot in camera and just use manipulation to enhance the shot and of course get rid of any unwelcome bits. Not a great fan of spending hours in front of the computer. Q: What other thoughts would you like to share? A: Photography is a passion and although many do it as a main source of income it is no different to anything one does in life and that is that if you want to do something really well you must be passionate about it. Q: Tell us about the photographic equipment you use? A: I have a Canon 30D and my main lenses are a 24 -105mm and 70 – 200mm Canon lenses. Also use a 580ex flash and extension tube for close up work. Q: What’s your thoughts on painting with light techniques This is a fantastic technique that allows for really creative shots. Something I really must do more of.

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Jo Howell The Allure of Africa

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Jo Howell is a born and bred Aussie from Melbourne and after graduating from University she headed overseas and worked in various jobs on 3 continents. Sometimes photography based, but mostly jobs that gave her access to places she has always dreamed of visiting. After driving across Canada she worked as a Tour Leader, based in Vietnam for 3 years. ‘Asia is an amazing place, it’s so rich in colour and culture. If I was ever feeling down to cheer myself up, I would grab my camera, go sit outside and photograph the random things people carried on motorcycles. Never failed to amaze!’ Two years ago she came to Africa to work for a company called Africa in Focus http://www.africa-in-focus.com/ Overseeing overland photographic tours from Cape Town to Nairobi. This was heaven living, working and teaching photography. Visiting many of Southern Africa’s

The Kiss Taken during a wedding at Knysna Elephant Park with Harry the supermodel / elephant. Who was quite happy to pose while nibbling on some ellie treats. There was not much atmosphere lighting wise and quite late in the afternoon we were really starting to lose light forcing me to use a high ISO. I added some drama using Photoshop by burning in the edges and the sky and highlighting Harry and the couple. Nikon D90 18-135mm lens focal length 26mm f 7.1 1/125th ISO 1000 Spot Metering No Flash I ss u e 6 / 2 0 1 0

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premiere Wildlife Parks and Reserves, meeting great people and just getting to experience the beauty Africa has to offer. After 8 years of traveling she discovered Knysna and the friendliness and opportunities found here convinced her to make stay. Not to mention the allure of Africa in it’s many enchanting ways. Ray asked her a few questions… When did you decide to become a photographer? Year 11 in High School, when university applications had to be made! I had worked towards studying marine biology, but ultimately when the time came the only application I really wanted to put in was for photographic courses. What does photography mean to you? It’s a way of life! I think photographers look at the world in a slightly different way. Show me a photograph I took years ago and I will be able to tell you so many details; about the situation surrounding it. Quoting the name of a place or saying remember this, just doesn’t spark the same response. Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW? When I was about 14 I visited a friend at a beach town called Rye in Victoria. There was an amazing sunset and we crawled under the 86

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Grasshopper I was actually on a walk with some elephants when I spotted this beautiful grasshopper proudly sitting atop a mushroom. To get a different perspective of something that is usually looked down onto, I lay down to get a shot underneath him. He was a great poser so for a few minutes I experimented with framing and angles. One of the elephant handlers came running back to me he thought I had been bitten by a snake! Nikon D90 18-135mm lens focal length 202mm f 18 1/125th ISO400 Pattern Metering No Flash, Camera set to Macro Setting.


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pier, and took turns holding a big orange electric cable out of the frame, and shot the legs of the pier. I was so proud of that photograph. I think my parents still have it on their wall back home! Do you have any formal training regarding photography? I gained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Photography, from RMIT University in Melbourne How technical is your photography? Probably not as technical as it should be. I think the more you practice photography the more intuitive it becomes. Where is your favourite place to live and work as a photographer in the world and why?

Miss J This little sweetheart was concentrating so hard on trying to blow bubbles she completely forgot the camera was there and allowed me to catch this very sweet portrait. Nikon D90 Nikon 18-135mm lens focal length 112mm f6.3 1/250th ISO 400 Spot metering No Flash I ss u e 6 / 2 0 1 0

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Fast Shadows While driving on a pass near Cape Town the cars shadow was lit brilliantly against the mountain side with fiery red sunset light. I shot on shutter priority and set it slow enough to blur the motion, but not so much that I couldn’t get a recognisable image. I love this shot as it just shows how important light is, there is no real touchable subject, just a shadow and movement. It’s a true opportunistic photograph and a great example of why it’s nice to have a camera on you all the time! Nikon D90, Sigma 10-20mm lens focal length 25mm, f 6.3 1/40th ISO 400 Pattern Metering No Flash I have been really lucky to travel to many places but my fav is right here in South Africa. I had always dreamed of going to Africa to see the amazing wildlife and behold here I am! Knysna is a special place full of so many contrasts and natural beauty. I do love photographing in National Parks, and have been so lucky to visit so many of them a few times over. You can’t beat a sunset river cruise on the Chobe River, always something amazing to see in awesome light! Define the word "beauty"? This is tough; beauty comes in so 88

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many different forms. What is your most favourite and least favourite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel? Most favourite - Light - without it we would all be lost! Correct would have to me my least favourite! What’s correct in one person’s eyes is not necessarily the same in some one else’s. Sure in maths there is always a correct defined answer but the same doesn’t apply to photography or life in general. There are too many differences in tastes, opinions, cultures, and beliefs to label only


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one of these as correct. How does your personality change when you look through the lens? I suppose it’s the same for many photographers, I become totally focused on what’s on the other side of the lens, the subject, the light capturing that perfect moment, everything else becomes a little dull!

What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis? As I am new to running my own business, it would have to be the paperwork and all that goes with that! Personally it would be living

Who/what are your influences? I grew up surrounded by photography, as a child I played hide and seek in one of Australia’s largest photo labs (owned by my grandparents) and drew mustaches on brides on the extra prints from my father’s studios. So, my family would have to be my biggest influence. They have always been my biggest fans, biggest critics and most importantly, my biggest support network. What is your favourite image, either your own or someone else's or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you? There are just too many, I can’t narrow it down to one! It’s impossible. Describe a day in your personal or professional life. Get up, play with my puppy, check my emails, go and shoot, catch up with friends, eat some dinner, procrastinate about photoshopping and go to bed!

Wood Owl Eagle Encounters Spier Nikon D90 Nikon 18-105 lens Focal length 93mm f 6.3 1/80th ISO 400 Centre Weighted Avg Metering No Flash Woody is a little sweetheart and not at all interested in cameras, to get him to look at the camera a helper rustled a little bit of grass just above the lens, the interesting noise made him quite curious from then on. I ss u e 6 / 2 0 1 0

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on a different continent to my family and a large number of my friends, although the Internet has made the world a much smaller place. Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! I was recently photographing a fish eagle at a great place called ‘Eagle Encounters’. They provide rehabilitation and educate the public about birds of prey. Not sure if the fact that he only has one eye had anything to do with it, but he missed landing on the handler’s glove and landed on my head instead. They are BIG birds and have very powerful talons. I was lucky to get away with only a couple of scratches, but that was pretty intimidating! Made for a good photo though! What types of assignments are you attracted to mostly? I have been commissioned to photograph the residents of some fantastic organizations. Knysna Elephant Park, Cheetah Outreach, Tenikwa Wildlife Centre to name a few. These would have to be my favourite types of assignments. To be close enough to hear a leopard purr or to be woken up to the rumble of ellies walking past your window is such a privilege. It’s a dream job. Describe what black and white photography means to you? Black and white photography is sadly becoming a lost art. There is such wonder working with light and you never forget that feeling when you first see the wet image appear under red lights. How would you describe your photographic style? Fun and spontaneous, I hope. Life happens so quickly shooting things that move and have personality means you have to be ready for everything. Catching that look or a moment that gives you a little giggle always makes for the best images. What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs? I guess the popularity of them, it’s a tough industry to break into and I have been very lucky in how well I have been received! Tell a little secret about you that no one knows... I sing really badly, but I’m not sure if that is such a secret! Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already? The Northern Lights! 90

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What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others? Started it sooner! I think I have always known that this is what I would love to do, but photography is very personal and fear of people not liking my work slowed my entry into the industry. I realize now that if there is something you really want, you can only get it by actually trying! How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it? I really don’t know any photographer who doesn’t tweak their pics a little. Change of contrast, cropping, burning, dodging, they are all techniques that are used in the darkroom so why not apply them digitally. To do more than that really depends on the image, what I envisaged when I was taking the shot in the first place. I always have a final image in my mind when I press the shutter, and as I learn more digital techniques I am finding that I am combining both in camera and post production more and more in my head when I am first taking the shot. What other thoughts would you like to share? Photography is a great industry to work in, but also a great hobby. Don’t be afraid to try different things, techniques, and subjects. It’s all good! Tell us about the photographic equipment you use? I have two Nikon D90 bodies, a Sigma 10-20mm, Nikon 35mm 1.8, 18105mm, 80-400mm and an SB-600 speedlight. I am a strong believer that while having top of the line gear is great, its how you use it that ultimately defines your results. I have seen great pics taken on snappy cams and horrible ones taken on the most expensive gear available. Buy the gear you can afford and learn how to use it! Where can the public obtain your photographs or get in touch with bookings / assignments etc Via email at jo@johowellphotography.com or directly from my website www.johowellphotography.com. I also have a selection of mainly wildlife images for sale on a great new site called Glowing Images http://www. saglowingimages.com/ which has been set up especially for photographers based in South Africa. Search under photographer for my name! Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview? Facebook: Jo Howell Photography http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/ pages/Knysna/Jo-Howell-Photography/10150158979570327 Other: www.johowellphotography.com

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“Nepenthe” Text & Images: Adele Minnaar

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Ray Magazine Photography  

Find the best South African Photographers in our Photograpy Section.

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