An Interview with Nature, Wildlife & Travel Photographer Laura Ganz
From beautiful, atmospheric wildlife and nature images of birds in their wintery, natural habitat, to sumptuous landscape shots of Maine, Florida and also colourful insect and flower macro photography; Laura Ganz clearly has a passion for photography. Not only is she well traveled, taking great images wherever she goes, Laura also has a fantastic blog featuring in-depth interviews with other great photographers. I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Laura and I was impressed by her style, questions, and dedication to her work. Her blog is consistent, interesting and a joy to read!
You can view Laura’s great work and read about her photographic exploration and also check out fantastic interviews at https://glaszart.com/
Laura is on Instagram
Laura is also on Google +
Please talk a bit about where you are from and where you live now…
I was born and raised in Westchester County located outside New York City. After moving around quite a bit, I finally decided on settling in the great state of Maine.
What does photography mean to you?
I have always been a quiet person, therefore an observant person by nature and photography has provided me with an opportunity to translate what I see in a creative and artistic way. I enjoy being outdoors very much and taking photographs has just been an added bonus for me.
How did you discover your passion for photography?
I have always been interested in art and I have worked with different mediums. I have found that photography best suits me as it has provided me with an outlet for artistic expression. The possibilities are endless and I think photography is something I will be able to continue learning and evolving with for the rest of my life.
What kind of photographic education have you had?
Growing up outside of New York City was an education within itself. I had exposure to many forms of art at an early age with great opportunities of visiting galleries and museums in the city. As a child, I always enjoyed painting, drawing and photographing what I observed in my environment. I have college degrees in science and art history and I feel my education has provided me with a wonderful platform for the different ways I view composition through my camera lens.
You have been to some fantastic places, France, Italy, Maine, Florida, what are your favourite lenses that you take with you on your travels and what other equipment would you never leave home without?
Yes, I have been to some really great places and I never leave home without my camera. Even locally, going for a walk or running a quick errand, I have my camera with me. When I traveled to Europe, I brought a Canon Rebel T3i and a Canon 18-135 lens. I recently upgraded to a Canon Rebel T6i and added a Canon 55-250 lens and 10-20 wide angle lens to my collection. I would eventually like to get into video and the T6i provides wonderful image stabilization for this task. If I stay close to home, I will use a tripod and additional macro lens covers to mix things up. I also recently acquired a HiiGuy camera strap and this makes carrying a camera in the field much easier and very comfortable.
What location is your favourite and what places would you recommend to photographers and why?
I would recommend the New England area to photographers. New England has quite a diverse landscape for wildlife and landscape photographers, from mountains to lakes and of course, the whole coast. There are also so many quintessential towns that are excellent for photo opportunities and the diverse atmospheres you gain with the changing of all four seasons.
Are there any new places that you plan to visit?
I hope to visit the Maine Coast during the spring and autumn. I live in Western Maine and a lot of planning seems to revolve around the weather here as it changes so quickly, so one must plan these things carefully. I really want my photography to focus on the wildlife and more natural areas of the coast.
What image or images of yours are your favourites and why?
My favorite images are from my post entitled, “Early Summer Groundhog Kits in Western Maine.” My property is about 5 acres and I experience quite a diverse array of wildlife here. The same groundhog shows up every year and takes up residence in the backyard. This one particular spring, she showed up with five of her kits. I was able to watch them grow and interact with each other. As they got a little older and were able to escape their mother’s watchful eye, I was able to photograph them. I would stay at a safe distance and click away. There was one kit that frequently strayed from the other siblings and I was able to get some great shots of that one. This one had no problem coming into the pool area and close to the house. I called this one Rebel and that was a very fitting name indeed. When kits are about to leave their mothers, they will find a second area to live before moving on all together. Well, apparently Rebel thought under the front porch would make a great second home and stuck around the front yard for about another two weeks until finally moving on. I really enjoy this type of wildlife photography because I can use my animal behavior skills and spend time outdoors.
What post processing tools do you use and please describe your post processing workflow for any image?
I try to take the best photo possible from the beginning and experiment with different settings on my camera. I spend a lot of time inspecting my images and make the finishing touches in Photoshop.
Which photographers do you admire and why?
When I was in college, I studied the work of Edward Weston and I have always admired his use of lighting and focus on shape and color. I also studied the work of Lewis Hine and had to do a project on his body of work. Hine’s photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States during the early 1900s. I found many of his images of children so haunting and they have never left me. I also admire the work of Richard Avedon and I had the opportunity to view his collection of photographs entitled the Mr. & Mrs. Comfort photos that were on display at The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston back in 2010. This collection was featured in The New Yorker back in November 1995 by Avedon in collaboration with Doon Arbus and featured model Nadja Auermann. I don’t want to give away the premise for these photos, but I found them visually stunning and think they are definitely worth a view. I have also long admired the work of John Gray, who completed the book, Abandoned Asylums of New England: A Photographic Journey. I found that I was instantly drawn to Gray’s body of work and I have always been interested in photographing abandoned places myself. I also have a lot of admiration for all the great photographers I have interviewed recently and I can’t wait to get to do more in the future.
You have a fantastic blog how did you start it and what are your plans/goals for it?
Thank you, I started the blog in January of 2017. I had all of these great photos that I never did anything with and it just seemed like the natural thing to do. I would like to see the blog grow with the possibility of collaborating with other photographers and artists as well as adding diverse posts for the rest of my life.
How do you manage your time blogging and shooting and what top tips would you give to someone who wants to start a successful photography blog?
I have the advantage of working from home, so my time management during the day is totally up to me. The weather here in Maine seems to dictate how much time I can spend outdoors. Although each season provides its own opportunities for great photography, I prefer to be outside when the weather is cooler. I got into the habit of taking several pictures at one time and then saving processing and writing for the weekends. I would recommend to anyone who wants to start a successful blog, take your time, keep your focus and success doesn’t happen overnight. There are going to be highs and lows along your journey, but keep at it and you will start to see things happen eventually.
As a photographer/blogger where would you like to be in five years time?
When I first started my blog, I always envisioned collaborating with other photographers and artists as well. I was sure to have the word art in the name of my blog, instead of photography for the reason of hopefully collaborating with people with different interests.
I hope to have expanded my knowledge of the photography field and have many more interviews on the blog, including artists who work with all kinds of mediums. I have enjoyed learning about others and the way they have navigated through their craft. It will be interesting to see where the blog is in five years, but I don’t mind taking one day at a time and savoring the learning process.
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