Christiaan van Gaal
In 2006 I moved to Norway to work as a wooden boat builder and I bought my first digital dslr, a Nikon D40. I was taking pictures with 35mm film for as long as I can remember but the digital camera made it much more affordable to shoot and that’s what I did.
The last few years I was mostly shooting during vacations and not at home, for fun. I have all this equipment and didn’t use it enough so I decided one day that I would start taking pictures every day, edit them and put them on my own website.
I really enjoy it, the daily practice with my camera let me choose the right settings with more confidence and using Lightroom every day makes me understand what all the sliders do much better.
I still live in Norway and the nature can be beautiful here but going out every day to make pictures of landscapes will cost a lot of time and I have no control over the light off course. That’s why use my macro lenses most of the time, I can take pictures in my garden or of old machines I find lying around.
I also like macro photography, looking and showing the hidden details, small creatures and details of plants. I give myself a different challenge everyday like using this lens or that flash, going to the shoreline or only take pictures of that old tractor. Limiting myself forces me to be creative and think of solutions I have never thought of.
The camera I use the most for now is a Nikon D7100 with a Nikon 105mm macro lens. I also use 2 Nikon R1 macro flashes or a normal flash with a big diffuser on it that I can bent towards the subject. To get even closer I use extension tubes with the 105mm or a 50mm f1.8. In my camera bag I also have standard an older Nikon 300mm and sometimes I put my Fuji e1 with 18, 35 and 55-200mm lenses in it.
I hardly ever use a tripod when I take macro pictures and most of the time I take pictures where I find the bug or flower. I sometimes move grass or leaves from the background but for the rest I leave it as it is. Sometimes I try to make more pictures of one subject so I can photo stack it later in Photoshop but I like the shallow depth of field you normally will get when going really close and because I take pictures every day I don’t go for perfection. If I catch my self tinkering endlessly with a picture, I will put a stop to it…I have more to do and…the best pictures are not perfect.