Some of you may have followed the recent discussion concerning Ashley Vincent’s picture ‘The Explosion’ snatching the Nature category as well as the grand prize in the 2012 National Geographic photo contest. The entire discussion revolves around the captive vs wild discussion to which I happen to have a very clear opinion. The 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year wolf shot was a hoax, since the photographer failed to mention the shot was picturing a captive animal, while at the same time the rules don’t allow for shots of captive animals. In that sense there is no comparison to Ashley’s work: the rules allow for pictures of captive animals to be submitted and his caption tells the full story, so I honnestly don’t see what people are nagging about! As long as you don’t start pretending captive animals were actually wild and as long as you don’t refrain from mentioning the truth, there is absolutely no issue in my book! And for those of you who feel NatGeo should only focus on wild animals, they should enter into a discussion with National Geographic instead of running this discussion on the back of Ashley’s picture (it was after all not him defining the rules of the competition).
All this being said, I can only say that I admire Ashley’s work (check out his 500px portfolio here) and that I am stoked he agreed to share his personal thoughts in a guest blog on this page. Till then, I invite the laptop critics to go out to a zoo and get the shots Ashley is envisioning and creating and I leave you with a shot of an elephant orphan at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. To avoid any confusion, it considers a rescued elephant, which is now being taken care off at the Trust and which will be reinserted into the wild in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
It still being January, I allow myself to reflect a little on 2012. It has been quite a ride, with a Wild Eye competition mention, a picture on 1x (which also made it into their limited edition yearbook No Words), getting some good air in online Newspaper articles as well as Belgian print versions and getting a shot into the high level Geographic Expeditions catalog. In short, nice things happening (you can check out the concerned shots on my newly created Awards page), yet even more things to improve upon. With Ronja joining our ranks, I havn’t been out in the field as much as I would have liked, nevertheless, besides my non photography related day job, I am enjoying photography through the NYIP course, with now 2 out of the 6 units finalized. I just submitted my projects, consisting of 6 photo assignments (only prints are accepted, which is really nice thing, since it forces you to go the extra mile in delivering a finalized product):
using shutter speed to express a sense of motion/speed by panning, stopping the action or using a slow shutter speed to capture motion in your frame;
use selctive focus to make the subject stand out;
create a feeling of distance by using a great DoF;
emphasize a sbuject by its size and off center placement;
use framing to focus attention on your subject;
use leading lines to draw attention to your subject.
Meanwhile, you may have noticed I finally found a way that works for me in creating nice looking galleries in my WordPress blog, being the NextGen galleries whom blow me away for their actual simplicity amongst a whole bunch of way less user friendly plugins which do the same thing, only worse and without nice widgets, such as the random shots you can see to the right of this post now. And I can tell you that I’ve been trying quite a few of them over the past few months, none of them pleasing me, finally I found something that did please me. Have a look here, I would be happy getting your opinion.
Leaving you with one of my personal 2012 favorites.
As for 2013: it promises to be quite a ride for us, yet more about that in my next blog post, which will be up later this week, along with a first guest post for the year (one which I’m really excited about), so keep an eye on this space and my related social media, you can find the relevant links on the right of this screen.
For now, HAVE A FANTASTIC 2013, GREAT LIGHT and PLEASURE in doing what you do!!!