Evan Johnson Nature and Art Photography

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Photographer Interview, Daniel Bodenstein Part 1

Today is the Wednesday photographer interview. The artist being interviewed this week is Daniel Bodenstein from naturocity.com. Many of his prints are available for purchase through prints.naturocity.com, more photos are available upon request.

About: I consider myself an Amateur Nature Photographer. My father was a photographer and writer for "Modern Photography" magazine many, many years ago. He also had a camera repair business in Florida for over 30 years. My father was what he called a "technical photographer". By that he meant he could figure out the proper exposure, and timing of a shot just by looking at the subject. I am what he called an "artistic photographer", I see the art in the photograph more so than the technical aspect.
I love nature. I think there is so much we can learn from nature just by observation. I try to capture some of that knowledge in the photographs I take.

Q: What camera do you use, what features do you like about it?

A: I use a Nikon D200 DSLR. I upgraded from a Nikon D100. When it came time to determine what camera I should purchase, I asked the expert, my father. As someone who has worked on the internal mechanics of every brand of camera out there, his choice, and mine, is Nikon. Although I feel the camera is an important part of photography, a good photographer should be able to get a great shot out of any camera. I proved this to my sister in law who had a point and shoot camera. I had her shoot a subject, then myself, and let her decide which shot was better. Then I taught her the rule of thirds and it opened a huge door for her.

Q: If you could only choose one lens, which one would it be?
A: The first "big" lens I got was a Sigma 170-500mm, it was not a fast lens, but it was 500mm and affordable. Many of my earlier nature shots were done with this lens along with either a tripod, or resting the lens on a railing. But my new favorite lens in my Nikon 80-200mm VR lens. For me, this is the perfect travel lens, especially if you don't know what to expect. The vibration reduction helps out in those hand-held moments, while it's wide angle feature allows great landscape images.

Q: What is your favorite non-camera accessory?
The Pod. I never thought a bean bag with a screw in it would be so awesome. The pod has allowed me to stabilize my camera on everything from a simple railing, to a tree branch. I'd also like to say that LensRentals.com is also a favorite of mine. Besides offering large lenses at a reasonable price, it allows me to "try before I buy".

Q: What piece of equipment do you wish you had?
A: This is a two part question. I would love a large 500mm fast lens. But I would also need a sherpa to help me carry it around. I frequently see photographers with large lenses and wonder if they are missing out on the actual beauty of nature by focusing at one range, on one subject. So they don't see the whole picture. But there are sometimes when I wish I had a fast lens to get that one great shot!

Q: What photo editing software do you use?
A: For years I've been using Photoshop. I currently use Photoshop CS3 for any editing that needs to be done. But honestly, unless its something that truly takes away from the subject, I don't edit my photos. I am torn about editing photos and wonder if it takes away from the art of photography. Think of it this way... would Ansel Adams' have thought out his shot so long and hard if he knew he could fix it very easily on a computer?