13 Dec 2011

Crouching Tiger Hidden Future

Every time I see one of these marvelous cats - on images or in the zoo - I cannot help to feel very saddened about their plight in the wild. I consider myself so fortunate and privileged to have experienced wild tigers up close. Save the Tiger!

Tiger, Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India

11 Dec 2011

Parched

Another preview off my upcoming e-Book "Life Between Sand And Sea", a parched river bed along the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.

24 Nov 2011

Wrecked Resting Place

I am working on an e-Book about Namibia's Skeleton Coast with the title "Between Sand And Sea". The layout and image selection is done and I am 2/3 in writing it - so hopefully it will be finished soon.

Allow me to share a sneak preview.


The history of the Skeleton Coast is full of tales about trechereous waters and abandonded victims. Some of them true, some of them colorful sailor’s yarn.

There is unquestionable proof for past tragedies in form of pictoresque shipwrecks which have accumulated along the coast these last centuries. They stand in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape and lend an air of adventure and mystery to the area.

Nature has a way of reclaiming back what was stolen from her. These cape cormorants take advantage of the otherwise almost non-existing possibility to perge and nest up high along the coast.

The bright sunlight and fast shutter speed, to freeze the bird in midair, make this almost a black and white photograph. I was lucky as the scene combines essential elements within one image which make the Skeleton Coast so unique. 

19 Oct 2011

Forest Ghost

Fall is upon us
dark silhouettes move silently
on a carpet of leaves
thru growing silence
in the forest.

Wild boar, Black Forest, Germany

5 Aug 2011

The Little Things In Life

Some of my favorite images are the ones showing the little creatures - like these of Tenebrionid beetles from the Namib desert.

They have adapted in ingenious ways to the challenges of desert life. To drink they climb to the ridge of the highest dunes and stretch their little bodies into the misty morning air. Dew collects on their wings, equiped with hydrophilic bumps just for this purpose, and after some time and with the help of the wind minute drops of life giving water glide down into the mouth parts of the beetle.

It is an almost surealistic sight seeing these bright blue, white or black beetles race over dunes in the heat of the day despite harsh coastal winds and wirls of sand.

Courtship Race, blue tenebrionid beetle, Sossusvlei, Namibia
Against The Wind, blue tenebrionid beetle, Soussvlei, Namibia
Chased By The Shadow, blue tenebrionid beetle, Sossusvlei, Namibia
Adapting, white tenbrionid beetle, Skeleton Coast, Namibia

18 Jul 2011

The Power Of Life

The struggle of a friends early born son for his survival these last weeks made me contemplate about the power of life. Some waste this energy thoughtlessly while others can use all the help they can get. I am humbled by life's force I had the fortune to experience on my travels and foremost now see in my children.

Levin, my friend's son, is now stable. I wish him all powers of life.

Tadpole surviving in a small puddle, Central Namib Desert, Namibia

25 Jun 2011

How Close Is To Close

As a wildlife photographer you will always have to ask yourself how close should you get to an animal. Apart from the obvious dangers this could involve dependent on the species you may of course also disturb and distress. I admit that that there have been instances where I for the sake of getting a photograph got real  close. In those cases I tried to make my presence quick.

Damara tern, Skeleton Coast National Park

10 Jun 2011

Buy Prints And Cards Of My Images

You now may buy prints and cards of my images by using the Fotomoto service - simply click on the "Buy Print" or "Buy Card" link below the image.

Damaraland, Namibia

9 Jun 2011

Nature Inspirations

Nature-Inspirations.com is a photography site for very nice atmospheric nature images and yours truly had two pass thru screening:

Running Along The Dunes

Oryx & Naukluft Mountains

28 May 2011

The Power Of Earth And The Sun

This week the Swiss government in view of what happened in Fukushima decided to cease nuclear energy by 2034. I am very happy about this decision - above all for my children. We will have to take a path now where we make use of the power earth and the sun provides us with.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
















Flamingos, Etosha National Park, Namibia













20 May 2011

Follow The Lines

Compositions will be much stronger if they contain lines guiding the eyes across the image. Those lines may be clearly visible or more subtle. Try to be aware of how your eyes move around a picture. Are those lines leading the viewer to the main subject? Do they form an interesting pattern?

Sunset Over Benguela Current, Skeleton Coast, Namibia


Burnt Trees, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, America

Give Your Subjects Space To Breath

I love the Japanese sense of space and proportions - very different from the usual 1/3 2/3 or golden point rule many photographers seem to follow and religiously refer to in photo communities. Try to break out of the standards, give your subjects space and create tension by out of balance compositions.

Springbok, Sossusvlei, Namibia

















River Tern, Rantambore National Park, Rajasthan, India

22 Apr 2011

Earth Day: The Choice Is Ours

There are two ways we can leave behind earth to our next generations.

Etosha Pan, Namibia


















Let us make the right choice - together.

Corcovado Nationalpark, Costa Rica

21 Apr 2011

Ready To Die? Risks In Wildlife Photography

How much risks should we as wildlife photographers take to obtain an image? I have had my share of critical and sometimes dangerous moments in my career. Looking back at some of those instances I realize that in the heat of the moment the passion and eagerness to get a great picture overcame any fear or caution I should have had. Observing wildlife for long periods I do have a good sense and may read their behaviour better than an average person, but ultimately wild animals are unpredictable. No wildlife image is worth loosing your life, better to count to ten and think again before you expose yourself to harms way.

This image with an eye to eye low level view with a young lion I took in Botswana's Savuti Marsh, a part of Chobe Nationalpark. A pride of about twelve lions where lounging on one side of a small waterhole. I knew they had been feasting on an elephant carcass not far off and choose to take the risk of getting out of my Landcruiser. I crawled under my vehicle and rested my 300mm on a small bean bag. The lions, especially the young ones, took an immediate interest in me and watched me intensely no more than six meters away. I must have not breathed the whole time and my heart was knocking like mad. I got some great shots and made it back into the safety of my car without incident.

Tell me about your risky moments.

Lion At Waterhole, Savuti Marsh, Botswana

19 Apr 2011

The Spirit Of Ancient Peru

Treasured by ancient people of the South American rainforest the ocelot almost looks like a dwarf leopard. One of the few captive animal shots of mine, taken within a big enclosure in Costa Rica. I don't shoot a lot of animal portraits, but this has a nice dreamy touch and show those long sensitive whiskers very nicely.

Ocelot, Costa Rica

17 Apr 2011

Broken Symmetry

While in Africa I remembered this great BBC documentary with a particular amusing scene; filming ostriches drinking at a waterhole the cameraman kept the framing steady at head level of the ostriches and in regular intervals they would pop their heads in and out of view. Sitting at a waterhole in Etosha and observing these quirky big birds that funny scene flashed before my eyes and I tried to catch it in a photograph - it didn't really work out. Still, I did get some nice shots of an ostrich trio, their long necks seemingly extended from one single body. While some of you may remark that the image could have been cropped/cloned to remove the out of focus zebras in the background I do prefer this version; I would always sacrifice symmetry for context.

Ostrich, Etosha Nationalpark, Namibia

16 Apr 2011

Scars Of Time

Erosion is the visualization of time. It takes decades, centuries and millenniums for a part of earth to evolve into an object of natural art. I found this beautiful specimen in the Namib Desert. A stone boulder in the midst of others spread over a sand dune shows deep scars of abrasion caused by the winds and sands. A mild winter sunset allows for full frontal light without too much contrast. Getting real close to the rock with my 20mm wide angle lens resulted in this dynamic composition.

Scars Of Time, Sesriem, Central Namib, Namibia

14 Apr 2011

Get Down On Your Knees

One could, and many blog-photographers do, write in great length about how to make great pictures. I sometimes find that good advice is often muddled up in to much decorative philosophy. So, without further ado, try to change your viewpoint when working on a subject - get down on your knees. As naive as this tip may sound, I bet many photogs forget the simple things in the heat of the moment.

Perigrin Falcon, Arizona, North America

9 Mar 2011

Living Colours

The world is full of colours and I love them striking and saturated. Having said that, I try not to include too many different colours in one image. You may have to follow an animal for some time to get a nice colour-contrasting background. It is worth the effort. Animals are coloured the way they are for very good reasons: defence, camouflage, courtship or boasting. Try to tell their story in colours.

Emerald Jewel, Laguna del Lagarto, Costa Rica

4 Mar 2011

The Flight Of The Queen

This image tells the story of the flight of the termite queen. Once a year princesses and princes will take a nuptial flight to form a new colony. Ten thousands of termites emerge out of the termite mound and rise into the night. I wanted to show the flying termites including the mound to convey the story in one shot. It is one of those times you have to rely on luck to get it right. Using a 20mm wide angle the close by termite in the upper left corner just makes the picture. It shows just enough body and wings and positioned nicely in a diagonal line to the other emerging termites and the mound.

The Flight Of The Queen, Etosha Nationalpark, Namibia

28 Feb 2011

Fragile Strength

Scanning my images from India and reading up on background information for the captions I am reminded as to how fragile our natural world is. It makes me sad to think that such beautiful powerful creatures as the Indian Tiger may very well become a shadow of the past.

Glimpse Into The Past, Indian Tiger, Rantambore, Rajasthan

15 Feb 2011

Be bold and use the telephoto lens for landscapes

The Namib Desert is full of photographic gems, yet it is not easy to capture the expansive landscape and its intricate atmosphere.

Travelling into the desert from Windhoek one may choose to drive over the Spreetshoogte pass; the view from there is just breathtaking. Camping at the top of the pass allowed me to photograph at sunset and sunrise, the low sun shining flat across the plains creating long shadows at each foothill. The 600mm telephoto lens compresses the landscape and emphasizes the various lines, patterns and colours. I literally had hundreds of square kilometers of space to choose from to get the "right" composition. Since the sun moves quickly there is not much time and instinct takes over, first scanning the landscape without the camera before looking thru the lens for the final framing.

I believe a telephoto lens very often is the better choice for a landscape image than the wideangle. Browsing thru portfolios of "classical american landscape photography" for instance, I get bored quickly as the photographers typically use the wideangle lens and the views are rather repetitive. While the landscape, light and colours may be fantastic, the compositions are without surprise to me as a viewer. With a telephoto lens you as the photographer must make a much bolder and unique choice to depict atmosphere and vastness. It is much more of challenge than the "safe" choice of a wideangle shot and often results in exiting and unique landscape images.

Arid Pattern, Central Namib, Namibia


14 Feb 2011

Simply Dramatic

African thunderstorms are unlike any others, this one moving over the expansive Etosha Pan in Namibia. I was sitting on the roof of my landcruiser watching the setting sun glow behind dark clouds and listening to the approaching sounds of thunder. Using my 20mm wideangle with an iso 200 I did not need a tripod despite the encroaching darkness.


Etosha Thunderstorm, Namibia

13 Feb 2011

Story, emotion and context

A wildlife and nature image becomes powerful not only by artistic qualities but also thru its subject and content. It must provide a story about the place or animal and create an emotional response. I believe it is important to provide some context, by that I mean for example showing an animal in its environment rather than getting close for a portrait.

Story, emotion and context are part of what I call natural synergy.

Bullying Bull Frog, Etosha Nationalpark, Namibia

Light, colour and composition

The artistic essence of a good photograph for me is its use of light, colour and composition. Not exactly big news. Sounds rather easy actually, until you get behind that camera and try to "reduce to the max". Taking the abundance of what lays before you and compress it into a magnetizing visual piece of photographic art. In the posts to come I will try to convey thru my work what I mean and give you specific examples.

Light, colour and composition are part of what I call natural synergy.

The Flame Of The Forest, Rajasthan, India

30 Jan 2011

Check out my images at 1x.com

Getting thru the screening process at 1x.com is rather, well, let's say "tedious". While there are some truly great images to be found there, I find the criterias for passing the screeners/members are weighted to heavy on technical issues as opposed to the general and emotional impression to the viewer. Also, a big number of nature and wildlife images are either composites or rely to much on photoshop to achieve impact. Why do I bother? I guess it does provide exposure to my images and in the end that is what I seek.

Welcome to Natural Synergy

Well, there it is, a new blog. I am currently working on the soon to be published website of over 1000 of my images at www.naturalsynergy.ch. The site is programmed by myself in Flex and I am currently occupied with the big task of scanning the images and writing the captions. Having had the opportunity and fortune to spend many hours, days, weeks and months out in the field all over the world I would like to share with you my thoughts on wildlife and nature photography.