Over the next few months, I'll be doing a Q&A with a number of photographers, whose work I admire. Earlier on this year, I spoke to Alex Stevenson, a landscape and travel photographer from Cornwall. The colour in his work is one that captures the expression of the moment, as well as the moment itself. A few examples of his work and and how to follow him can be found at the end of this article.
1. What captured your interest into photography?
For me, it was when my family relocated to Cornwall eight years ago - the incredible coastal landscapes, stunning golden sunsets and picturesque little villages. Inspiration came easy and I think that I just enjoyed the creative process, as well as all of the exploring that came with it!
2. Which photographers inspire you and what is it about their work that influences you?
My biggest inspiration right now is probably Brendan Van Son. I found him on Youtube making videos of his travels around the world, whilst making a living from photography and getting to go on assignments. It's probably because of this that he shoots the way he does - getting multiple shots from a single location, with an emphasis on a sense of adventure.
3. Is there a particular photo or set of photos that drew you towards photography?
Nothing in particular, but I would say that the work of photographers like Alessio Andreani really helped my passion for photography grow. Seeing long exposures and how creative and different they can be was something quite special to me.
4. What motivates you to shoot landscapes and travel compositions?
I've actually tried my hand at all sorts of photography - from portraiture to events - but landscapes were always my favourite. Again, I think it's all of the exploring that I get to do thanks to my landscape photography. The same goes for the travel photography - exploring a new place and experiencing different cultures is an amazing thing, but to be able to capture a scene or a moment with emotion and feeling is always quite the accomplishment!
5. One of the challenges of landscape photography is working with the weather and having the patience to wait for the decisive moment, whether it’s at sunrise or sunset, how do you deal with those challenges?
Yes, they are massive challenges... It can sometimes really get to you when you dont get the light or conditions you want. But you have to remember that there's always next time, and when you get it right it's all worth it. Half of the work is getting to an interesting location or waking up for sunrise, and when you get to see amazing places there's not much to be annoyed about when you don't get the light or weather etc! Just remember a rain cover or plastic bag!
6. Who or what is it you turn to when your lacking motivation and inspiration?
When lacking motivation, I usually just need a new location to visit, so looking at other photographers' portfolios or a quick search on Google Maps, Google Images or 500px can really do the trick. Also, a lot of motivation can come from looking at my own portfolio and knowing that I can do better.
7. Can you walk us through your process of capturing the stunning ‘Wheal Trewavas' composition?
I had seen some shots of this place come up on Facebook, so I knew there was potential. I did a bit more searching on Google Images and found that there were some rocks that would offer interest in the foreground whilst the old mines were in the middle-ground, so I pretty much had the shot already set up in my head. Setting the camera in continuous mode allowed me to take a seat on the rocks and add an extra bit of interest too.
8. What advice can you give to someone wanting to improve their landscape photography?
Put the work in, get out for sunrise and practice as much as possible. Also, graduated ND filters are a great investment to help balance the exposure of the scene.
9. What’s in your camera bag when you go out on a shoot?
I'm shooting with a Canon M5 right now, which is far from perfect for what I do, but the good out ways the bad for sure! My go to lens in a Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8, but I'm also starting to use my Sigma 17-50 F/2.8 more. Then there's the tripod, shutter release cable and my Lee filters. More recently, a DJI Mavic Pro as well!
10. Which places are in your bucket list for photographing and why?
New Zealand is really on high on my list and I plan to be there from April-May this year, just in time for their winter! I'd also love to go all over the US for their national parks, Peru because of Macchu Picchu and some other places closer to home in the UK (like Scotland and Dorset).
You can find Alex over at https://www.alexstevenson.co.uk.
Optical and perspective distortion, what is it? and how you can remove distortion from YOUR shots.