Brian Spicer on why he is ‘Chasing that light’ (Interview)
Further to my original post, here is a very inspiring and interesting interview with Brian Spicer. Anyone looking to improve their seascape or landscape photography skills should take note, as Brian has proven time and time again he is a master at achieving a perfect balance between light and composition. Which as you may agree, are two key factors to creating a successful photograph in the first place!! (You never know Brian, I may become as organised with my photography as you clearly are someday)
What it’s all about – Brian Spicer
How did you get into photography?
My first experience of photography was as a child when I was given a box Brownie, I remember being a pain to my parents going around taking photos of anything and everything with it and the disappointment of not being able to see my photos quickly. That is really where it all started for me.
To fast forward a few years, I had a good friend who inspired and encouraged me to get started all over again, that friend has since passed away and I have dedicated my Flickr photo stream to him.
What inspires you to create the work you do?
Being an old surfer I would always have an eye on the conditions, checking out the skies and the wind direction when I was at the beach at sunrise looking for the best waves. I search for light and I search for clouds and then the sun comes out or sets and I see colours. I then put all three factors together to create a photograph. Some call it ‘chasing the light’ and I would agree with that.
I love colourful skies mixing with clouds, and then when you bring the sea into the equation you have natures own light show. I try very much to replicate that in my photography. To get a great sunrise or sunset with an effective reflection off the wet sand or the sea gives me a real buzz and I`ll always be chasing that in my photography.
Overcast – Brian Spicer
What is the most satisfying part of the photographic process for you?
Without a doubt the most satisfying part of photography for me is the capture stage, and secondly bringing a photo to life on my computer monitor. If I am planning a sunrise shoot I can never sleep properly the night before, I have that knot of anticipation , excitement and butterflies in my stomach. I am already composing images in my head, if I am planning a sunset the same applies, it’s at the forefront of my mind. I am already there composing my next shot waiting for that break in the clouds or spotting that reflection on the sea or sand.
What do you aim to capture in your images, are their specific messages in your photography?
I always try to work to the best of my abilities to capture what nature has presented me with, sometimes, if not most of the time, it’s a case of being in the right place at the right time. Go out check the weather forecast, the tide times, the skies, the sunrise / sunset times and the winds, be in touch with your surroundings, follow the light .
Low tide Sunrise – Brian Spicer
Do you use any specific techniques in your work? (i.e. HDR, Long exposures)
When I create landscape photographs I generally want to get the maximum Depth of Field, I set my camera to aperture priority and mostly use f16. I find this gives me the best DoF for back to front sharpness. If I want a longer exposure then I`ll set the camera too f22. I do use HDR but you have to be very careful with this technique as your photograph can become over processed, the contrast can become muddy and the colours can become over saturated. I use Merge to HDR in CS 5, with just three bracketed shots. I let the software do the work for me then I transfer to Photoshop and use the best tool that there is in my opinion, Curves, it gives you superb contrast just by getting that S Curve.
I’m not a big fan of the 10 stoppers, I feel they can make exposures look unreal if left too long. I prefer a more natural image but it’s all a matter of opinion and individual taste.
What are your future ambitions for your photography? Where do you want to go with your work?
Like most photographers I want to improve my photography, I feel I still have room for improvement. I would like to do more portrait work, if I can find more willing models. I am also getting into macro work with flowers which I am really enjoying.
I have had some work published and of course I would like more of my work to be published, remember it is your images that sell themselves.
The most important thing for me is sharing my images with the world. Just remember, keep chasing that light .
Remaining Light – Brian Spicer
Thank you Brian for an insightful interview, to see more of Brian’s work visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/17469730@N00/