Nic Brink, a wildlife and Landscape photographer from South Africa, has given this exclusive interview with PhotosInColor (PIC) telling us how he found photography and the techniques he uses.
This is going to be a two part feature where in this, the first article, Nic tells us all about his photography and in the second he will talk us through how he captured some amazing photos of Cheetahs.
PIC – Tell me about yourself and how you discovered photography?
Nic – I am 18 years old and currently studying Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photography is therefore just a hobby, but one that has been alive and well since I was about 4 or 5. My father instilled a passion for photography in all of his five children, while my mother was always there to encourage us.
PIC – What was your first Camera?
Nic – I started with a simple disposable film camera, after which my father gave me a digital camera, because he complained that I “simply took too many photos”. I have always loved nature, particularly, ‘the bush’, as we call the Bushveld Biome in South Africa, and hence wildlife photography has always been the genre that I always go back to. I do, however, enjoy taking macro images (which is how I learnt my way around a camera), and landscapes, particularly night landscapes that include the magnificent star-trails of the Southern African skies. You can take a look at them on my 500px page.
At the age of 15, I inherited my first DSLR camera- a Canon 20D- which opened up many more photographic opportunities than I was bound to with a point-and-shoot. The most important of these was the fact that I could now steal my father’s lenses.
The combination of my 20D with a Canon 100-400mm f4.0-5.6 EF L lens allowed me to capture these cheetah photos. I was given a 7D for my 17th Birthday, which, although leagues ahead of the 20D, has yet to produce wildlife images to compete with my cheetah project, in terms of public reaction. Getting the perfect photo is the hardest part, that I haven’t come close to figuring out.
PIC – You obviously take a lot of photos so how do you keep them organised?
Nic – I’m still figuring the management of my photos out but my process at the moment is pretty standard and useful to build on. I upload my photos to an external hard drive, and make ‘Smart Copies’ in Lightroom 5, this helps save space on my MacBook, and ensures portability of my workflow. he first thing I do when I’ve imported my photos is to reject the bad photos and rate the good ones(this is generally either one or two stars to start). After I’ve edited them, I rate them accordingly.
I try to keyword my photos as best possible to make finding them and sorting them with ‘Smart Collections’ that much easier. Some keywords I find useful are the location, time of day(Dawn, Dusk, Midday- this might help you figure out what time of day you get your best photos!), subject( person, animal, etc.), the type of photo-HDR, Panorama, Landscape, Wildlife, Studio, Portraits and any other information you might find useful. You can find photos that you didn’t think you would ever use, but now that a new project came up, it might prove useful as a source file (A simple cloudy sky, or a ‘behind-the-scenes photo)
PIC – Now to Post Production. What software do you use?
Nic – The adjustments made to my photos are all on Lightroom, with my panoramas rendered on Photoshop CC. My HDRs are processed with the brilliant Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro.
My star photos are mostly a single long exposure, with ‘Olifants at Night’, the exception, being 5 photos rendered in Photoshop.
I try to keep my wildlife photos and Landscapes as true to the scene as possible. I tend to keep the surreal aspect to my HDRs and Star Photos!
PIC – What do you think your ‘best photo is?
Nic – I’m always hoping the next one will be better, but at the moment, the Cheetah Stare is my favourite photo (PIC – we’ll keep that one for part 2), followed by the silhouetted Knob-Thorn at Sunset.
PIC – What Equipment do you use?
- Canon 7D
- Canon 430EX Speedlite with a Gary Fong Dome
- Manfrotto Tripod
- Simple 15cm Monopod
- EF 85mm f1.2 L
- EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
- EF 100-400 f4.0-5.6 L
- 17” MacBook Pro with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC,
- Western Digital My Passport Ultra (2TB) external hard drive.
- Hahnel Giga T Pro Remote Shutter Release
PIC – Now for the Quick-fire questions:
If you could photograph any person (thing or location) in the world who/what would it be? Female leopard with her cubs.
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset
Coffee or Water? Coffee
Men or Women? Women
Night in or Night out? Night in
Fruit or Chocolate? Chocolate
Favourite band/musician right now? Dave Matthews Band
Favourite Food? Can’t decide!
Most exciting city you have visited (this ones hard)? Geneva
One thing you never leave out of your camera bag (not camera hahaha): My Rocket Blower AND my remote shutter release.
PIC – How can we find more of your work and follow your progress?
Be sure to read his interview tomorrow on how he captured these amazing photos of Cheetahs.