Interview with Laurent Geslin

Date of birth: 19th of February 1972

How did you become passionate about nature photography?

I started as a kid with my dad, roaming the forests of Brittany in France, looking for nightjars, red deer and foxes. Later photography became a way to keep some souvenirs. It has now been my job for more than 20 years.

What do you take with you on a photo shoot?

It really depends. I have been working a lot with remote control cameras, camera traps, wide angle lenses but my good old 500 mm is always with me.

What subject do you prefer to photograph and why?

For the past ten years almost, I have been working exclusively on wild European lynx. There is something very exciting on working with the only big cat in Europe. Now I have a strong experience with this elusive animal and I can recognize some individuals and predict where they should be at what period or time of the day… well that’s the theory ;-).

What is your favorite nature preserve?

I do lead some tours from time to time. I must say I love southern Africa. I used to live in Namibia and I adore Botswana. Let’s say Moremi National park then.

What is your favorite shooting position?

I really like the hides. I can stay days and days in my hide without getting bored. In order to film a lynx calling, during the rut, I have spent 117 days, every morning and evening in my hide. I got to see him 3 times during that period between January and April… some mornings it was hard to get up, but as soon as I have a sip of coffee… I am on!

Which nature photographer do you admire?

I have always been impressed by photographers that bring something new with the image. I am not interested in seeing pictures that have been done before and of course I can’t stand pictures with tamed or captive animals, which is very common, they should be called “captive-life” photographers… ;-). That’s why I have never been to a paying hide nor working on projects that have been conducted before.

Michael Nick Nichols in the States has always been someone that I admire for his aim to create new angles and new pictures. Stephen Dalton in the UK with a very different style but even now, you can watch his pictures from the 70’s and say “Whaw!!!”. In France Hellio and Van Ingen were the first ones to bring some low angle shots on water birds with their floating hides, that was great. Nowadays, the new generation is impressive, Bence Mate of course with his ingenuity but I also like some more “traditional photographers” who work in my field. I have never met Sven Zacek but I really like his images, Bruno D’Amicis, Vladimir Medvedev, Grzegorz Lesniewski, …

What quality must a nature photographer absolutely have?

Humility, it is not because you love nature and you photograph nature that you know nature. And photographers can harm as much as hunters if they are not respectful.

Which light situation do you prefer?

Well traditionally, photographers will tell you, morning lights and evening ones… but you can also do some strong pictures with a very bright sunshine and blue sky. It all depends on how you light your subject. I like working on insects, and with a real nice fill in flash, that can be an awesome shot in bright daylight. It all depends on what type of image you are working on.

Which setting do you prefer: Manual-Aperture Priority-Shutter Priority?

I usually work on aperture priority but for all flash stuff, I use manual mode.

In percentage terms how much time do you take to create an image and to process the image?

I do not spend much time on my computer, my pictures could easily look better if I would work on them in Lightroom a bit longer, but that is not my thing…

Which processing program do you use?

Lightroom, basic.

Do you have any advice for future nature photographers?

Some new photographers are doing some great new images. I would say, find YOUR own style, be inspired by others, but don’t copy them, that is difficult.

 

You can find out more about Laurent Geslin on his website: http://www.laurent-geslin.com

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