If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all corners of the globe as well as the people behind some of the best stock photo and illustration collections in the world.
Next we talk to Frank Krahmer, a nature, wildlife and landscape photographer based in Germany. You'll see his images featured throughout the interview below, but we've also hand-selected some our favorites from his stock portfolio to give you an idea of how far he's travelled in pursuit of the beauty of flora and fauna.
How did you get started in Photography?
As a boy, I was interested in both nature and watercolor painting. When my mother-in-law sold her camera to me in 1987, I found a way to combine the two. Since then, I wander around in nature whenever possible.
What was your first job?
I studied information technology and worked for about 20 years as software developer. As I got deeper into professional photography, it became unclear which was my real job. But it was clear where my heart was. So I quit my IT job in 2005 and focused on photography full-time.
What inspires your work?
I'm most inspired by nature photographers, who approach it as art, not just as documentary. I admired and learned from the work of Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, Galen Rowell and Michael Fatali. Nowadays, I'm most inspired by Marc Adamus.
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
I like extremes: extreme cold in Antarctica and Greenland, extreme dry in the Algerian and Libyan Sahara, extreme heat on the Nyiragongo volcano. But I'm also happy just photographing in the middle of a colorful flower meadow in Spring.
What equipment do you use?
I use Canon equipment, maybe just because my mother-in-law sold me a Canon (a good old mechanic Canon A1 in the mid-80s) as my first camera. The more lenses you've invested in, the more expensive it is to change. I don't think Nikon equipment is worse. There was a quality disadvantage for Canon landscapers during the last few years because of better Nikon bodies and lenses. But this changed this summer with the new 50-Megapixel Canon EOS 5DS. Sometimes it's worth it to wait until your brand is on top again.
When you travel, what gear do you take?
I use robust bodies like the EOS-1Ds Mark III and the EOS 5D Mark III. Normally I use a 2,8/24-70 mm lens and 2,8/70-200 mm lens. For extremes, I prefer the Zeiss 15 and 21 mm lenses as well as the Canon EF 4/300 mm and EF 4/500 mm L. When shooting ISO 200, image stabilizing and short exposure times can be applied with the newest low noise cameras, so it's possible to shoot without a tripod with wider lenses. But you'll see all the technical deficits in Photoshop! Therefore, it's very necessary to use a robust tripod, such as a Gitzo Mountaineer. One of my most valuable pieces of equipment is my Tiffen graduate ND glass filter to compensate high contrasts in the sky. At night, I like light painting with a torch (flashlight) to illuminate the main subject and get the surrounding stars in one picture.
What's the longest time you've waited to get the “perfect shot”?
During the first few years, I was a little bit—no, very—crazy for herons, storks and flamingos (all long-legged wading birds really) which are very shy in Europe. I don't know how many endless hours I waited in a blind to get the perfect shot. Today, I'm very involved in landscape photography and I mostly just take in whatever is happening around me. The better you plan your trips and the quicker you are on your feet, the better your results. I think the longest and coldest waiting was last winter in Tromso, Norway for the Northern Lights.
What is the longest amount of time you have been away from home on a shoot?
I took an 8 week trip to Antarctica and Patagonia in 2010, which included two icebreaker trips to see the Emperor Penguins at Snowhill Island and the Weddell Sea. I probably don't have to say it was my most expensive trip ever...
Do you have a favorite season to shoot in?
Located in a moderate climate zone with snowy winters, this is easy: Spring, when everything is in bloom and life starts again.
What is the craziest thing you have done to get an image?
Taking a trip to the biggest lava lake, Nyiragongo, which unfortunately is located in the Congo. Because of the war, there was only a one year gap to take this dangerous and exhausting trip to a 3800 metre high volcano. But it was a good experience to realize what a paradise we have in Germany.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I am an enthusiastic soccer fan and watch my team FC Bayern Munich whenever possible. When the weather is bad and I'm travelling, I enjoy reading books—good old paper books!
Do you have a website/blog or social media links you can share?
I am no fan of social media and think it's mostly a mental disease rather than an advantage.
A few of Frank’s favorite things:
- Website : Marc Adamus
- Movies: Gandhi, The English Patient, Forrest Gump ...and the soccer world champion final 2014
- Books: Art Wolfe's Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky (A splendid classic coffee table landscape photography book, which inspired me very much.)
- Music: Genesis, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Zucchero
- T.V. Show: None
- App: I don't possess a mobile device that uses apps. I'm one of the few who is free when travelling!