This month we have Guy Havell as our Featured Photographer of the Month.
With some of his work featured on National Geographic, he’s work will surely capture your attention and imagination.
Meet Guy Havell:
Tell us a bit about your life
I’m a self taught landscape photographer with a passion for shooting mostly natural landforms although I also photograph man-made structures and architecture. My preference though is to capture the raw landscape in a single exposure without man or his influence in the photo, quite often achieved with creative long exposures to record movement and add an artistic element to the image.
I guess I became serious about landscape photography on a solo motorcycle trip around Australia in 2006 and the travelling hasn’t really stopped since. After all, landscape photographers have to travel, right?
I subsequently joined the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) in 2008 after starting my business Guy Havell Photoscapes, and I’m now just 1 point from achieving my goal of becoming an AIPP Master Photographer.
As a landscape photographer, I’ve always loved the outdoors and solo pursuits, so it’s no drama for me to traverse quite remote regions and countries alone where I can immerse myself in nature away from the rat race, and concentrate 100% on making good images without distractions.
It is my belief that nothing man-made can match the beauty or power of nature. So it’s my intent to bring that philosophy to the viewer through my images, and show just what an incredibly beautiful earth we have out there.
Was there anything specific that you can remember that made you want to become a photographer?
Travel and an appreciation of landscape and wide open spaces. Once I saw what was out there, I just had to photograph it to the best of my ability. Riding a motorbike solo from Toowoomba to Darwin and back across the remote Gulf of Carpentaria in 2004 taught me that.
What inspires you?
1. Exploring the natural wilderness inspires me. It cleanses your soul of the world gone mad.
2. I’m also inspired by people that have a passion for something and not just a passionate opinion, possesses an open creative mind and are gifted with an adventurous spirit. The life stories they often tell are interesting, uplifting and inspiring….
What was the first camera you received?
I remember using my dads Polaroid camera back in the 80’s.
Other than that I had a Kodak something or other and Pentax Optio S before I went to more serious cameras like the Canon 30D and Fotoman 6X17 Panoramic Film in 2006.
Do you have just a small everyday camera?
IPhone 6+. They really are quite good for random shots and I even shoot the odd landscape with it. I’ll also sometimes carry a Fuji XPro 1 as well. For the serious stuff see below.
Do you have an all time favourite camera/lens combination?
Yes. Alpa 12 STC technical camera + Phase One IQ260 digital back + Rodenstock HR Alpagon f4.0/40mm SB17 lens.
Currently in use. This combination is used off a tripod 100% of the time for landscape and architecture images.
What makes a good picture stand out from the average?
For a landscape image these are some things to consider –
1. Creative composition. As Ansel Adams once said: “A good photograph is knowing where to stand”.
2. The ability to convey your emotion when you took the shot or evoke an emotion from the viewer.
3. For me personally it’s also about having several key interesting elements to the photo that grab the viewers attention.
Whether it is creative use of shutter speed or aperture or what’s included or left out of the composition. Lead in lines and balance are also important in landscape photography.
Is there anyone you haven’t photographed that you would like to?
As a landscape photographer I don’t have any real interest in photographing people. I rarely even take a ‘selfie’!
My landscape shots are generally intentionally free of any human element unless I feel a sense of scale is required or it actually adds something to the shot, but that’s rare.
The trend these days amongst photographers especially on social media is to include people or themselves in landscape shots, but I’m not really interested in altering my style just to get more approval in the social media world.
Do you have any tips for an aspiring photographer who’s picking up a camera for the first time?
There’s so much information available to anyone wanting to become a photographer.
My advice would be to do a lot of research online, get to know your equipment and get an understanding about light by practical shooting in all conditions at all times of the day.
After all, photography is all about light! Try and gain experience by shooting with other photographers and don’t be afraid to pick their brains to gather handy tips about how to make the most of what’s presented in front of you.
The key point here is to get out with the camera as often as you can and photograph lots of different subject matter. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Could you share with us some of your favourite photos and tell us why they are your favourite?
They are special shots to me because of either location difficulties, technical challenges in getting the shot, or just the wow factor end result of what nature has the ability to create.
Exquisite light and colour illuminates an ice cave underneath the Vatnajökull Glacier in Southern Iceland. I rarely include people into my landscape shots but on this occasion it was helpful indicating a true sense of scale into the image. Welcome to the extraordinary beauty of winter in the amazing Iceland. This image was featured in National Geographic and published worldwide as one of the best travel photos of 2015. I travelled to an Icelandic winter in 2015 specifically to photograph these incredible ice caves as any other time of year they are just too dangerous to enter. Photographed with an ALPA 12 STC technical camera / PHASE ONE IQ260 / RODENSTOCK/ALPA HR ALPAGON 5.6/23 MM, LB. 27-2-2015. Single Exposure. @ Guy Havell
I’ve had this idea in my head for several months now of capturing Uluru in a very long night exposure so when the opportunity and conditions presented themselves I jumped on a plane to Alice Springs to spend a week in the region. Sunrise and sunset photo’s at Uluru sure look spectacular, but it’s one of the most photographed places on earth and I was motivated by the chance to create something completely different, unique and out of the box from normality.
Ayres Rock is an icon of Australia and is a recognised landmark around the world but I wanted to give the viewer my own interpretation of this special and sacred place.
I was only slightly disappointed to learn I’d missed the rain at Uluru two days earlier, as the rare shots of cascading waterfalls coming from the top of the rock are rare treat in any photographers portfolio, but the good news was the cloud was clearing and the night I had planned for the shoot was looking perfect.
With a little help the from The Photographers Ephemeris I was able to pinpoint the exact time and position of the rising moon and more importantly where the moon finished at the end of the exposure. This type of info just wasn’t available years ago when using film so things were a lot more hit and miss back then.
The next issue for me was the priority in locating a viewpoint to mount the tripod as shooting with a reasonably long focal length lens was necessary to give the moon trail a longer and more impactful presence, so the plan was to use a 120mm lens (77mm in 35mm equivalent ). After a couple of hours of searching different dunes I finally found a perfect position around 7 kilometres away on top of a red dune amongst the snakes and dingoes.
I was initially intent on starting the moon trail at the base of the rock but decided the composition would benefit more if the moon started above the rock and finished in the centre and finished higher. As it turned out, even trying to compose and frame the image in live view in the total darkness pre-shot was very much trial and error.
In the end, the 1 hour exposure itself went entirely to plan with the cool night and low humidity keeping the lens and filter fog free. The absolute silence, solitude and clear moonlit sky on this particular night was as close to perfection as you can imagine. Not even as much as a dingo howl! Yep, I love immersing myself in the real world…
So here are the technical details –
Alpa 12 STC technical camera | Phase One IQ260 | Schneider/ALPA Apo-Helvetar f5.6/120mm SB34 Aspheric | Lee ND filter & hood.
Location – Uluru (Ayres Rock). Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA.
Time – 8.03pm to 9.03pm
Date – 4th of June, 2015
Moon at 96.4% waning gibbous
Single Exposure – 3600 seconds ( 1 Hour ) Aperture – f5.6
ISO – 140
© Guy Havell
The pure magic of Antelope Canyon, Arizona. A particularly narrow section of the canyon lights up with an incredible midday light show. A true rarity within nature, this particular twin light beam presents itself only 3 times a year for around 90 seconds only. Within that narrow window of opportunity, a single solid light beam transforms itself into two twin identical beams of light in a surreal display of nature at it’s mind blowing best. This is an extremely rare single exposure capture in an otherwise heavily photographed beautiful location. Exposure of 23 seconds @ f8. ISO50. © Guy Havell
Could you share with us photos of photographers you like and tell us why you find their work interesting.
My favourite photographer is Michael Kenna both for his philosophy and his technique. He is a black and white landscape photographer who is very much old school in his approach, and many of his photographs are extremely long exposures shot on film and his minimalist ethereal style results in some really inspiring work.
Many of his images are created at night while wandering alone for hours in perfect solitude so in many respects I can relate to and admire his mindset. I’m also someone who works alone in the field as a way of cleansing my soul and clearing my mind, and often the results are better connecting with nature on my own without distractions. We all have our own style I guess. Although I do love photographing wonderfully colourful autumn scenery my actual preference is to produce black and white images.
You can find Guy here:
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