Outdoor Photos

Heike Odermatt Teaches Folks to Love Nature By means of Images

PetaPixel noticed nature photographer Heike Odermatt’s work featured within the “Gallery” part of the newest concern of Components Journal and was immediately struck by Odermatt’s featured picture of a mirrored image in a harsh, Arctic panorama.

After a fast go to to her web site, the constructive impression snowballed. Odermatt’s work is wealthy intimately, extremely various, and sensational.

PetaPixel sees many gifted photographers’ work, however Odermatt was a brand new identify regardless of her wonderful images. PetaPixel contacted Odermatt to study her profession and wonderful portfolio.

Odermatt’s Origin Story

Heike Odermatt bought her first digicam when she was 17 or 18; she isn’t fairly positive anymore. It was a Rollei 35, and he or she acquired it on mortgage. Though she had lengthy been enamored by images, she might solely shoot sporadically along with her first digicam as a result of movie and processing have been prohibitively costly.

“Throughout that point, I primarily tried to {photograph} horses, my nice ardour for so long as I can bear in mind,” Odermatt tells PetaPixel. She continues, “Sadly, the Rollei with its 35mm wide-angle mounted focal size lens was not best for horse images as a result of the proportions are rapidly distorted, which seems unnatural for a horse portrait.”

Just a few years later, within the early 90s, Odermatt purchased her first SLR digicam, a Minolta XE1 from the Seventies. She paired 50mm prime and 80-200mm telephoto zoom lenses to her Minolta.

“I taught myself images with this digicam,” Odermatt explains.

Within the intervening years, Odermatt labored as a graphic designer for a serious newspaper firm and even stayed working there after she turned severe in regards to the prospect of being a extra severe nature photographer in 2002. Odermatt tells PetaPixel that she has “by no means been a full-time wildlife photographer.”

Whereas nature images is her ardour and first focus, she has tried her hand at different sorts of images over time, together with studio portraiture, reportage, and sports activities images.

Despite the fact that she’s completed many sorts of images, “Nature images nonetheless fascinates me essentially the most. It permits me to search for ever-changing motifs and lighting conditions whereas having fun with all the fantastic thing about nature,” Odermatt says.

“Staging a picture in a studio with totally different poses and studio lights was not difficult sufficient for me, and dealing with folks prices me loads of power. I prefer to work with current mild and altering circumstances and regulate my images accordingly.

20 Years of Awards and Honors

Over the previous 20 years, Odermatt has had the dignity of receiving quite a few awards and being on competitors juries herself.

2006 was a particular yr for Odermatt as a result of it was the primary time she entered a contest. She entered the GDT Nature Photographer of the 12 months, and 6 of her pictures have been awarded.

One other vital accomplishment was profitable an award within the in style Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months competitors and the European Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months contest for a similar picture.

Successful two awards across the similar time with the identical photograph “made it a double spotlight for me,” says Odermatt.

Odermatt tells PetaPixel that it’s not all the time her latest pictures that win awards. For instance, the image under, “When the Ice Melts,” had lengthy been tucked away in Odermatt’s archives. “I had one way or the other missed this picture for a very long time,” she laments. It caught her eye lengthy after she captured the photograph, and it ended up profitable second place within the European Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months competitors in 2017.

“It’s good that you simply look by way of your archive every so often. Pictures typically come to mild that you simply overlook shortly after taking the photograph or as a result of you haven’t but had a private bond with them. For me, the pictures typically should mature within the archive for some time, identical to good whisky,” Odermatt says.

“Lastly, I wish to spotlight my newest award, which was an essential stimulation for me personally to proceed combating to be extra energetic in images once more,” Odermatt says.

She’s been scuffling with an ongoing sickness and has been capable of take pictures solely sporadically “for a few years.” The picture, “Heather within the Final Mild of the Solar,” is one in every of Odermatt’s newer photos and was awarded within the European Wildlife Photographer of the 12 months competitors two years in the past.

Having been a part of juries, Odermatt is aware of firsthand the components affecting which pictures win awards.

“Which pictures finally obtain the placements relies upon, amongst different issues, on the composition of the jury, the respective tendencies in nature images, and the variety of new, good, and well-implemented image concepts which have been submitted,” Odermatt explains.

She tells PetaPixel that as digital images has develop into commonplace over the previous couple of many years, the standard of submitted pictures has frequently improved.

“Cameras have develop into technically extra refined, and it’s a lot simpler to journey these days,” Odermatt says.

She provides that as a result of so many wonderful pictures are entered into competitions lately, photographers shouldn’t really feel discouraged in the event that they don’t win. Nevertheless, she says, “It’s all the time an awesome honor to get awarded at photograph contests.”

A Altering Type or an Evolving Workflow

Alongside the variety featured in Odermatt’s portfolio, there seems to be a shifting photographic fashion. Nevertheless, when PetaPixel requested Odermatt if her fashion has modified over time, she replied that she doesn’t suppose it’s modified a lot previously 20 years.

“Truly, I don’t suppose my photographic fashion has modified that a lot within the final 20 years, I nonetheless take heed to my intestine feeling. On the one hand, what has modified is the expertise. The digital makes much more doable. Within the analog period, I will need to have considered 10 occasions whether or not I ought to press the shutter button or not, and this by each photograph I made. Every press of the shutter button prices cash. Digital cameras have made it doable for me to implement my artistic concepts, which I already had earlier than, however couldn’t all the time carry to life,” Odermatt says.

She made the transition to totally digital images between 2006 and 2008. At the moment, Odermatt started photographing northern gannets utilizing intentional digicam motion when the birds have been making an attempt to land.

“I actually hadn’t seen comparable pictures from different photographers throughout that point or earlier than. These pictures then turned in style by way of social media, and at present, gannet images with intentional digicam motion has develop into a preferred workshop spotlight for different photographers,” Odermatt says.

That mentioned, whereas Odermatt’s fashion, and the sorts of pictures she wished to seize, could not have modified a lot, her capacity to precise herself has developed with improved expertise and the affordability of taking pictures with digital cameras.

“Alternatively, in all these years, I used to be largely solely capable of {photograph} throughout my travels, and I tended to go away out the very artistic images as a result of I all the time felt like I didn’t have sufficient time,” Odermatt says.

She tells PetaPixel it’s a lot simpler to be artistic at residence. Nevertheless, she hardly ever had time at residence due to work and different commitments. Her sickness has made journey rather more difficult, so she largely solely captures new pictures in her instant environment, “which has led to extra summary pictures.”

“Additionally, as a result of I normally can’t select the very best mild and site, I need to let myself be guided when it’s bodily possible. One offers a bit of extra creatively with the topics that one finds at this second,” Odermatt says.

Additional, the place Odermatt lives within the Netherlands isn’t particularly rural. Nature is much less in depth than in different areas the place Odermatt has all the time cherished to {photograph}, which provides an additional problem. To beat these difficulties, “I are likely to attempt to get into particulars or take very intimate panorama pictures,” Odermatt explains.

“What appeals to me most about summary images is that I can transfer away from pure documentation and provides the pictures a distinct dimension. I wish to seize the secrets and techniques that appear hidden in nature for most individuals after which hope that these photos will present the viewer a distinct perspective of nature, however with out the photographs being digitally manipulated,” she says.

She enjoys experimenting with heat versus cool colour contrasts, which is prevalent all through her portfolio.

“For me, graphic traces, patterns, and textures carry a sure calmness and concord to a photograph. A superb stability within the picture is essential to me, the “chaos” desires to be ordered, and I obtain this by being attentive to colours, traces, and the like,”

Awakening Creativeness by way of Wildlife Images

Alongside panorama images, Heike Odermatt’s portfolio options loads of wildlife images.

“My strategy to wildlife images isn’t that totally different from panorama images. My intestine feeling is all the time essential to me. A photograph should communicate for itself,” Odermatt says.

It could possibly typically be simple to seize a fascinating panorama picture in a spectacular location, however with wildlife images, it’s much less in regards to the place and extra in regards to the second.

“If a wildlife photograph tells a bit of story or awakens the viewer’s creativeness, then it fits me,” Odermatt says.

A part of capturing these all-important moments is being conversant in the animals somebody desires to {photograph}. Odermatt enjoys studying extra about animals by way of statement. She tries to disturb her topics as little as doable and believes that the expertise of wildlife is simply as essential as her pictures.

“Photographing from hides or feeding wild animals is just not my means of photographing animals, even when this sort of wildlife images would make it a lot simpler for me at present.”

There are numerous wildlife pictures in Odermatt’s portfolio captured on the Falkland Islands, and few animals have fairly as a lot persona as penguins.

“I actually just like the penguins. After two journeys to the Falkland Islands a few years in the past, I nonetheless really feel a sure homesickness.It feels good when animals should not afraid or burdened by people,” Odermatt says of her expertise there.

She fulfilled one other wildlife images dream just a few years in the past when she noticed wild polar bears in Svalbard.

“I all the time wished to see a polar bear. On Svalbard, we have been fortunate sufficient to fulfill a number of polar bears throughout a crusing journey. One polar bear we have been capable of observe for just a few hours. I instantly fell in love with this charismatic animal, and I hope that I can expertise this once more,” Odermatt explains.

Macro Images Makes use of the Identical Photographic Abilities in a A lot Totally different Manner

Typically a panorama doesn’t seize Heike Odermatt. Throughout a few of these unfortunate outings, she’s taken the chance to do macro images.

“I don’t have any particular tools for macro images. Most macro photographers most likely have a bigger number of lenses, however I solely personal one, an older Sigma 150mm f/2.8 APO Macro DG HSM, and a set of extension tubes,” Odermatt says.

She additionally does loads of macro images utilizing telephoto lenses, starting from the shorter, basic 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom to longer lenses like a 100-400mm zoom or a 500mm f/4 prime. In these instances, she tells PetaPixel that she typically makes use of a teleconverter or extension rings.

“I believe that each style in images stands and falls with photographic eye. Beginning with the right composition of the photograph, what do you embrace, and what do you permit out? How does the extent of sharpness progress? For me, the next all the time applies, I solely attempt to embrace the necessities into the composition and attempt to body out every part else,” says Odermatt.

Like along with her wildlife images, she finds that macro images requires an excellent background.

“For me, macro images appears like a barely much less demanding kind of images than panorama images. In panorama images, you’re utterly depending on the state of affairs on-site: climate, mild, and ambiance. Disturbing human components are additionally a facet for me as a nature photographer that I take note of. Despite the fact that one might simply stamp away such disturbing parts with a picture enhancing program at present, I choose to not take these pictures in any respect, or I seek for a sure composition for therefore lengthy that every one disturbing components are eradicated from the image,” explains Odermatt.

The thought of endurance and even the concept of not capturing a photograph in any respect got here up just a few occasions throughout PetaPixel’s chat with Odermatt. She significantly emphasizes leaving issues alone and ready for the precise second. If the precise second doesn’t come, she received’t drive it.

“I merely attempt to make the very best of the state of affairs that nature gives me,” she says.

The Arctic’s Unyielding Maintain on Odermatt

Though her well being has negatively impacted Odermatt’s capacity to journey lately, she has been to many locations over time.

“I’ve misplaced my coronary heart on the planet’s chilly areas the place nature nonetheless dominates,” Odermatt says. “It makes me really feel very small and humble and exhibits nature’s energy.”

These wild locations stand in sturdy distinction to Odermatt’s residence, the Netherlands, the place she’s lived for the previous 40 years after rising up in Germany.

Odermatt nonetheless hopes to go to extra new places within the coming years. “Greenland remains to be a giant want of mine, which I hope will come true someday within the subsequent few years. A really massive dream is the Antarctic, which I might have virtually fulfilled in 2012 on a crusing boat with a handful of nature photographers, however sadly, my well being didn’t permit it. This dream nonetheless desires to come back true. Who is aware of what the long run will carry?”

Odermatt can also be painfully conscious of how local weather change harms the attractive locations she’s been to and nonetheless desires to go. She hopes that folks develop into extra considerate in regards to the polar areas and the hazard they face.

The Nature Photographer’s Objective

Heike Odermatt describes her photographic fashion to PetaPixel as “all the time on the lookout for a sure concord and stillness, maybe as a result of I want it myself.”

“For me, much less is normally extra, and typically I {photograph} with a wink. Photos that talk for themselves are essential, however typically I prefer to puzzle the viewer,” Odermatt explains.

“With my images, I wish to carry nature and its magnificence, but in addition its vulnerability, nearer to the viewer,” she says.

She desires her images to supply viewers with a stronger feeling towards nature and to assist folks see its magnificence and study to like nature. It’s so essential that folks worth nature and the setting, because it’s step one towards taking higher care of the planet. Odermatt considers this her mission as a photographer.

Odermatt Reflections on her Images

Whereas Odermatt has many extra photographic objectives to perform, it’s all the time worthwhile for artists to mirror on the place they’ve been when charting the course for the place to go subsequent.

“My favourite pictures have modified usually by way of the years, and I can’t level to any actual favorites now, however I wish to spotlight two older pictures. They have been essential for me at first of my nature images profession.”

“In 2002, I visited Iceland for the primary time, and this was additionally my first journey purely aimed toward nature images. In 2004 I visited Iceland once more, this time with a small group of photographers, nonetheless utilizing analog expertise. Throughout this journey, we hardly had any snow, and the temperature was largely above freezing,” Odermatt recollects.

“On the way in which to the Gullfoss waterfall, all we had was rain and, because of this, very inexperienced environment. As a result of water flying up, it was troublesome to see throughout to the opposite aspect, the aspect lined with ‘cauliflower,’” she continues.

“I took benefit of the few seconds it was seen by way of the mist of water. Typically you make a photograph that you simply suppose you’ll be actually happy with. The photograph you can not wait to see developed. This was a type of pictures. To me, this was an important photograph of this journey, and I might hardly wait till I bought the slides of the photograph lab again within the hope that this explicit slide roll was not broken. I made this photograph at first of my profession, however to me, it nonetheless signifies all I like, a wintery, fairytale-like picture that takes you into one other actuality.”

“I like this photograph as a result of it’s greater than only a photograph of a Northern Gannet. Due to the lengthy shutter pace and the particular motion of the wings and tail, it turns into a extra picturesque picture of an angelic chook. The final rays of sunshine give the photograph a heat look,” Odermatt says in regards to the picture above.

“There’s a longer fragment on this picture, which exhibits how the wings and tail transfer whereas touchdown. For me, this photograph displays the liberty and happiness that I felt the evening that I took this photograph.”

Odermatt captured this photograph within the Lummenfelsen in Helgoland, Germany. It’s a preferred space that vacationers and photographers frequent. Nevertheless, endurance received the day. Throughout nightfall, the realm turned quieter, and at last, Odermatt was the final particular person left.

“I used to be on their own in an space that’s normally very busy and felt the liberty,” Odermatt explains.

She loved the expertise and was rewarded with a final bit of sunshine that burst by way of the heavy clouds, permitting her to seize this lovely photograph.

Heike Odermatt’s Portfolio Displays Expertise, Creativity, and Persistence

Regardless of when Odermatt captured a selected photograph in her portfolio or what tools she used, some themes run by way of all her work. She expertly captures fantastic moments in nature. Typically they’re outwardly spectacular. Different occasions they’re quiet and serene. In each case, her pictures are lovely.

Whereas she will not journey like she as soon as might and doesn’t seize as many pictures anymore, Odermatt has remained dedicated to sharing the wonder she sees in nature to spectacular impact.

A photographer’s most important instrument isn’t their digicam; it’s what’s simply behind the digicam. In Heike Odermatt’s case, her thoughts and photographer’s eye have confirmed remarkably highly effective.

She has repeatedly confirmed the significance of endurance, persistence, and readiness for the moments that don’t all the time materialize. Nice images can’t be compelled. It should be given the time and house to occur. When these wonderful moments happen, Odermatt is prepared.

Extra of Heike Odermatt’s unimaginable work might be seen on her web site. She can also be on Instagram, the place followers can sustain along with her newest work.

Picture credit: All photos © Heike Odermatt