Spotlight Interview … Photographer Peter Daalder

Peter Daalder is a gifted photographer who specializes in landscapes. I came across Peter’s gallery on PhotoNet.com and immediately became a fan. Thank you Peter for sharing time with us.

Peter Daalder: Thank you very much for the opportunity James. I feel quite humbled by the occasion.

JRP: Where are you based out of Peter?

Peter Daalder: I live in Launceston, Tasmania. It is the smallest state in Australia, but arguably, also the most beautiful.

JRP: When and how did you get your start in photography?
Do you have any formal training?

Peter Daalder: Cameras have fascinated me from an early age. I started taking photos with a Kodak Instamatic, when I was 15. A couple of years later, I picked up my first SLR a Canon FTb.

In the late 70s, the Dutch amateur photography magazine Focus published a number of my black and white images over a four-page spread. This encouraged me to enroll at the School for Professional Photography in Apeldoorn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to complete the course, as an opportunity to travel to Australia had come along. It was on this trip, that I first discovered the beauty of Tasmania, and soon after, decided to make it my new home.

Today, everything that I know about photography is the result of being self-taught.

JRP: What equipment and software do you use in your work flow?

Peter Daalder: I have three Canon DSLRs at my disposal. The 5D is used most often, with the 20D still a close second. The older 300D is now normally stored as a backup only.

I also keep a 35mm film camera handy (Canon EOS-1n), usually loaded with a roll of the new Fujichrome Provia 400X. A collection of Canon prime and zoom lenses, polarizing filters and the Speedlite 580EX, complete the kit.

I shoot exclusively in RAW and preview the files with the lightning fast Raw Essentials Premium from Pixmantec. This Danish company was bought up by Adobe in 2006. As a registered owner of Raw Essentials, I was entitled to a free upgrade to Lightroom. However, I now prefer to use DxO Optics Pro to convert RAW to 16-bit TIFF and perform any additional post processing with Photoshop CS3.

JRP: You have been a member of PhotoNet.com for nearly 6 years. Has this association along with any others helped to improve your photography and the awareness of it to others?

Peter Daalder: There is no doubt about that! After joining PhotoNet and assembling a portfolio of images, I was fortunate enough to receive some very encouraging comments. These were followed up with helpful tips and instructions, privately via email. Ultimately, though, it all boils down to participation. f you invest some time in any online (photography) community, the exposure will follow.

With regards to PhotoNet, I maintain that the Forums there are one of the greatest repositories of photographic knowledge available on the Internet. A few months ago also signed up at Red Bubble.

JRP: Take us through some of your thought processes as you capture an image?

Peter Daalder: The spectacular scenery of Tasmania is a source of endless inspiration. Being in the right place at the right time certainly helps a lot. But, of course, much of this also relies on the time of the day and local weather conditions. As I travel around this island state, a number of interesting locations can be identified in a single day.

Being able to see the potential is very important. It is then very much a matter of checking back as often as is possible, until the most favorable conditions present themselves.

The image above of the Mount Roland reflections, was obtained on the sixth(!) visit to this spot. In general, I like to use the widest possible angle and approach the subject from different points of view, with a strong emphasis on the sky. Inclusion of some kind of foreground interest is always important to create depth.

JRP: When you take your image into your darkroom do you previsualize an image’s end result?

Peter Daalder: Being able to ‘see beyond the capture’ is not necessarily my strongest point. I generally just record what I see.

On a number of occasions, other photographers have pointed out alternatives (like something as simple as, ‘flipping the canvas’), which have resulted in images with improved aesthetics. I’m certainly not adverse to using Photoshop for a better outcome, but I have not yet ventured into the area of combining exposures, for instance.

One of my landscapes recently received the question: ”Where did you get that sky from?” The sky was, of course, part of the original exposure, but to me, that is a good illustration of the mindset that some other photographers may have, with regard to ‘creating’ images.

JRP: What is most important to you, technique or vision?

Peter Daalder: (Laughs) That almost seems like a trick question to me! Vision is very important to me but one needs to have mastered a certain level of technique in order to realize the vision. There is no doubt that plain good luck can play a major part in some instances, but I would not want to rely on it.

Though I have very much welcomed the age of digital photography I still shoot as if I was using film. I try to make every shot count. In short, I’ll settle for vision on this occasion …

JRP: You have a calendar project. Tell us how that got started.

Peter Daalder: Regardless of the pursuit, my own parents have always supported me, in every way possible. However, they still live in Holland, on the other side of the world. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that my (late) Tasmanian mother-in-law, provided me with a lot of immediate feedback and encouragement.

At the start of 2005, I had built up a reasonable collection of Tasmanian landscapes and was constantly being reminded by her, that it would be nice to actually “do something” with all of these images. Tasmania is a popular tourist destination. As a result, there is a highly competitive market for calendars of the local landscape.

Sadly, my mother-inlaw passed away during early 2005. This spurred me on to produce my own Tasmanian calendars, which contain images based on a theme. Thus far, I have concentrated on Tasmanian skies, reflections and most recently, our seasons.

JRP: What advice would you give to new photographers that find landscape photography their heart’s desire?

Peter Daalder: I would say that it is vital to not take your local surroundings for granted. Sure, we all live on the same planet which shares similar features, such as coastal, city, rural or wilderness. However, as mentioned earlier, given the right circumstances, everyone can capture something that is unique to their own region.

And most important of all, always make sure you find enjoyment in what you’re doing!

JRP: Thanks again Peter for sharing with us. All of you, please feel free to view more of Peter Daalder’s outstanding work at this link: http://photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=540524

One thought on “Spotlight Interview … Photographer Peter Daalder

  1. Peter has long been a favorite photographer of mine. Through his images I’ve traveled to Australia without the use of a boat or plane. He allows me to see his environment as though I’m there. Thanks for the interview. Great read.

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