GDT Naturfotografen-Wettbewerb (Society of German Wildlife Photographers)
- 2015 | 1. Place Overall Winner Of The Year "Sumpfsiegwurz"
- 2015 | 3. Place Birds "Abendsänger"
- 2015 | 5. Place Other Animals "Krötenzauber"
- 2014 | 4. Place Birds "Schöner Rücken"
- 2014 | 1. Place Plants & Fungi "Spotlight im Wald"
- 2014 | 4. Place Plants & Fungi "Waldhyazinthe"
- 2013 | 1. Place Other Animals "Im Spotlight"
- 2013 | Highly Commended Other Animals "Baldachinspinne"
- 2013 | Highly Commended Other Animals "Lauerstellung"
- 2013 | Highly Commended Plants "Mooskapsel"
- 2012 | 1. Place / Overall winner of the year "Krötenwanderung"
- 2012 | 2. Place Plants "Sonnentau"
- 2010 | 1. Place Other Animals "Wespenspinne"
- 2009 | 1. Place Mammals "Eilig"
European Nature Photographer of the Year
- 2013 | 2013 Highly Commended Plants "Lichtspiel"
- 2013 | 2013 Highly Commended Plants "Blaue Stunde"
- 2012 | 2012 2. Place Other Animals "First Kiss"
- 2008 | 2008 Highly Commended Other Animals "Hängepartie"
- 2008 | 2008 Highly Commended Nature "Sonnentau"
- 2006 | 2006 Highly Commended Birds "Im Sandsturm"
- 2006 | 2006 Highly Commended Nature "Tau im Spinnennetz"
BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- 2015 | Finalist Invertebrates "Wings of summer"
- 2015 | Finalist Plants “Meadow Canvas”
- 2012 | Commended Cold-Blooded Animals "Sizing Up"
- 2009 | Highly Commended Animal Portraits "Hare Sitting Tight"
Asferico International Photography Contest
- 2015 | Highlight Birds "Middle spotted woodpecker"
- 2015 | Highlight Other Animals "Canopy Spider"
- 2015 | Category Winner Plants & Fungi "Herp Paris"
- 2015 | Highlight Composition & Forms "Spawning cords and tedpoles"
I’ve been interested in nature since I was a child. I come from a hunting family and as a little boy I was fascinated by the photos of animals in my father’s hunting magazines. Inspired by them, I bought myself an SLR camera with a small telephoto lens as a teenager.
In 2005 I first started taking nature photography seriously and it was in that year that I bought my first digital camera. It’s always been my intention to sensitize people to nature through my photography. I aim to create artistic images that encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.
My photography excursions have taken me to remote regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain, and also to South Africa, South America and the Falkland Islands. I have been observing and photographing nature for many years now, and I’ve noticed how the biodiversity of our environment is increasingly declining.
This led me to establish Aufwind gGmbH, a non-profit nature conservation organisation. The aim of Aufwind gGmbH is to promote nature conservation by supporting both regional and international initiatives with the proceeds from the sale of my photographs.
1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
It’s always been my intention to sensitize people to nature through my photography. I aim to create artistic images that encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.
2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
There are many excellent nature photographers around, and in my eyes their work and their photographies are important because they give nature a voice and help to show people how beautiful and at the same time vulnerable our planet is.
3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
An excellent photographer plays with light and atmosphere. He is able to achieve artistic images, that cause the observer to stop for a moment and reflect - as good paintings can do, too.
4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
I am fascinated by nature, that´s why I am spending most of my time being outside. Over the years of watching and photographing wild life I have realized that the speed of loosing the diversity of species has dramatically increased. This is why I have founded a non-profit company called Aufwind gemeinnützige GmbH für Natur und Umweltschutz with the purpose to support nature protection projects. All the proceeds from my photographic activities go directly to this institution.
5. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
I am getting very enthusiastic when I could capture rare moments or was able to achieve an image of a simple scene, yet with an impressionistic atmosphere.
6. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
As my photographs are exclusively taken in wild life surroundings, it needs a lot of patience. The challenge then is to catch the perfect moment, when the animal is behaving naturally in light conditions beyond just documenting.
7. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
Shortly after I had started photographing digitally I experimented a lot with light and exposure times to create more artistic images opposing to simple documentaries.
8. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
First, in nature photography it needs a lot of patience. Then, one needs to train the eye to anticipate the perfect moment coming.
9. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
I’ve been interested in nature since I was a child and still I love to be outside, especially in the early mornings and in the late evenings. These offer the most atmospheric light conditions for taking pictures. Also, at these times there is a lot of activity going on in nature.
10. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
Watching wild life and being outside reminds me how beautiful nature is.
11. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
For myself I am happy when I was able to capture the right moment in perfect light conditions. And the more people are touched by my work the better.
12. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
It is my intention to sensitive people to nature through my photography’s and to encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.
13. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
The core of my message would be to respect nature and its creatures. Watch out for the tiny ones which don´t have a big voice. And if you like my pictures beware of that they are only a reflection, nature is the original.
»It is my intention to sensitive people to nature through my photography’s and to encourage the observer to pause for a moment and reflect.«
My motivation for this series was the experience that nature never sleeps. There are only other species that have opted for the dark time of the day. The full moon is a natural source of light to capture night-time species. At the same time full moon or night is regarded by many as a special time and for special events.
Photography means designing with light -regardless of the time of day. Therefore, the night shots are in my work equivalent to those produced at daylight. There is, however, a higher degree of difficulty in capturing animals in front of moon, especially when it appears in full splendor -a phenomenon that happens only 12 times a year for one night. Choice of position (free view, no disturbing elements), exposure (light-dark contrast) and the selection of the lens, focal length (image sharpness, scale) are decisive as aesthetic and compositional means for these motifs.
Such motifs need special planning, and only for the reason that there are only a maximum of 12 occasions a year. On top also the weather conditions must allow you to see the moon. Furthermore, it is necessary to choose the appropriate, night active species as a motif. You need quite a bit of knowledge about the behavior of these animals. You need knowledge on the geography (the course of the moon, the local conditions for choosing well the location for your camera…). Much time and preparation is needed, and, last but not least, some luck that the bird you want to capture actually shows up and that the perspective is right.
I still have some ideas for this series and am planning to realize them. And only for the reason that there is only one opportunity a month, it has a special charm to create such rare pictures.
For more than 100 years wolves were regarded as exterminated in Germany. Sightings are possible today, but are very rare, since the animals are extremely careful. Capturing them in the wild is an even greater challenge.
I am happy that they are now reintroducing to local forests and enriching our fauna. The attributes attached to them are stealth, shyness, intelligence, speed, vigilance, and so on. It is a subject that triggers and polarises emotions - not only because of all the mystification from the past.
Of course, as a wildlife photographer, you also want to create images of this exciting species, which is most closely associated with the term "wild". I spend a lot of my time finding the wolves and getting the opportunity to expand my portfolio with this species.
As a means of aesthetics, I choose a long focal length. In the picture’s composition, it is important to try to predict the movement of the animals. A lot of patience is needed. I sat for over 300 hours until I could capture first image of a wolve. As the wolves are just beginning to return home, I still see many possibilities to continue working in this context.
It was and still is my drive to really paint with the lens all those natural, almost mystical moments in nature. Here, where nature can unfold unhindered without human influences, I find my motifs.
The stylistics I use in this portfolio characterizes a large part of my work. For aesthetic reasons, I in most cases decided for a short focal length or a macro lens and a lower camera position. The composition is based on the inclusion of the brighter parts as part of the picture.
A clear, undisturbed evening sky is good for these pictures. The location in connection with the course of the sun must be carefully chosen.
From this context, I have developed another series, which soon will be shown in an exhibition in Schleswig with the title "Fairy Tale Hour".