When photographing Art by nature I (Nicola) focus on patterns formed by colours, textures, and shapes to compose and highlight (details of) creatures looking like little pieces of art already all by themselves.
Nature: Our daily inspiration
Nature is calling us. Calming and soothing, as well as adventurous and stimulating. That’s where Yoeri and I get our inspiration, recharge our batteries, have fun, and find peace, especially at the sea. When we get away from the ocean, we quickly feel cut off, like floating without an anchor, longing for our doses of Vitamin Sea. Fortunately working on photo and video material is getting us back into the feeling. Nature isn’t just there to make us feel good and connected or provide a pretty background for our lives – or photographs thereof. Essential for all of us, yet underappreciated and mistreated. Nevertheless, there still is so much to be discovered, captured, learnt, and shared to connect and protect.
Photography: Where nature takes me
Nature can be phenomenal, overwhelming, epic – and everybody wants to take a shot at that point. But nature also shows its beauty in details – no matter where you are – nothing new to macro lovers. I love looking for compositions, particularly patterns formed by colours, textures, and shapes. Nature is an endless provider of subjects without a clear subject, leaving room for imagination as well as interpretation.
Everybody sees and experiences the world differently. In the end, the final photo is just one of the many possibilities to take that shot. Therefore nature photography for me doesn’t have to be realistic. Photographing adds yet another dimension to my experience of nature, forcing me to really observe, choose, and focus, it helps to clear my mind. Ultimately, the more I practice with my camera system (particularly underwater) the quicker I can reach an almost meditative state, being in the zone, then and there when nothing else matters.
Art by nature: Photos mostly taken underwater
I can get totally lost in details when scanning the reef. Some creatures are little artworks in themselves and just deserve to be presented in all their glory. Photographs in art by nature don’t have to be based on small subjects. As we see the bigger picture only when taking a step back, patterns reveal themselves when we change our point of view or shift the angle. No matter what’s your focus, there is plenty to work with. Dive right into it (NO cropped pictures in this gallery. Why? Read more on photography, composition, design, and storytelling below the pictures).
The composition is key in photographing Art by nature
Time to plan, check, adjust, and repeat – especially underwater
The composition of the photograph is fundamental when capturing art presented by nature. Therefore I take my time to find the angle, field of view, camera settings, and position of the flashes supporting my idea and evaluate the results after a couple of shots. Sounds like the standard procedure to any photographer on land, many divers taking pictures I’ve observed over the years actually don’t. Since there is always another subject or the group is waiting, most just shoot and hope for the best. After all, bottom time and air are limited too.
Thanks to powerful photography software one can adjust a lot in post-production. But the composition can only be altered, not completely changed. This is why some people always leave more negative space than needed so they can crop and tilt later. It works as a make-shift solution and is especially useful with (fast) moving subjects. Nevertheless, I prefer to get it right on the spot. Of course, I’ve cropped to make a composition stronger or change from landscape to portrait (good tips in Dive Photo Guide: Underwater Photography Cropping Guide). But for my part of the art in photographing Art by nature is to choose a strong composition in the process of taking the picture. The final look, however, can still be played within post-production. Therefore I’m happy to say no crops in this section. All photos in this gallery were taken exactly with the field of view shown here (which does not exclude the use of other postproduction tools).