Featured Member: Klaus Priebe

Editor’s Note:

Klaus Priebe’s landscape images show a critical eye for light and tone. The sweeping vistas of the American Southwest give an impressive sense of scale and tell different stories to the viewer in both monochrome and color. As impressive as those images are, viewers should dig deeper into Klaus’s portfolio. There are excellent examples of many subjects, from astrophotography to environmental portraiture to digital manipulation. -J

Klaus Priebe: Landscape Photography

Who are you and where do you live

My name is Klaus Priebe and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico

How (and when) did you get started in photography? In short, tell us the story of your photographic journey.

My love for photography was born when I was 12 years old when my Grandparents bought me my first 35mm camera. This love grew as I began to learn more about photography and lived across the street from the local newspaper photographer. He taught me how to compose, shoot and work in the darkroom. He also brought the photographer Ansel Adams into my life. From the wonderful work of Mr. Adams and along with many other landscape photographers I fell in love with capturing the landscape around me. From this my photographic life was born. Now as I am into it for more than 25 years I have a special love of the world around me and capture what I witness for everyone to enjoy.

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Who (or what) have been your main photographic influences and inspirations?

My main influence is Ansel Adams. As I was young his work just made me yearn to see and experience the outdoors as he was. There are so many other photographers that have influenced me with my landscape work such as Galen Rowell, Muench, Art Wolfe and the list goes on and on. I get inspired by Mother Nature herself. I think she is the single greatest artist on the planet and being able to capture her beauty is an honor in itself.

Your Photo.net portfolio is primarily filled with landscape images. How did you get started with landscapes.

Growing up in Colorado, I was able to see some amazing landscapes around me. With my first 35mm camera when I was twelve began my journey into my landscape photography. I love the outdoors, hiking, camping so photography went hand in hand with everything I loved to do.

Explain how you see your body of work and what draws you to do the photography that you do?

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I see my body of work as the growth of myself, my thoughts and my life experiences. It is the documentation of the places I love and my perception of the beauty they hold. It is the story of my life, travels and passion. I am drawn to the beauty of our planet and from that has brought out my passion for capturing the landscape around us.

Have you ever worked as a professional photographer? If “no”, why not? Is it something you would like to do? If “yes”, do you wish you could do more of that work? What does it bring or take away from your photography

For most of my life I just shot on weekends, vacations and off time. My real job was in Construction but I spent about every free hour shooting when I was off. Seven years ago I decided to open the next chapter in my life and pursue landscape photography as my bread and butter money. It is a very, very tough way to make a living. Everyone wants to be a photographer and the competition is fierce. There were many months and years of starvation. This only made my love for photography stronger.

I enjoy the hell out of my new photography career. It has enriched me as a person and enabled me to see places I may have never been able to see. Even though my bucket list is still a mile long, I am able to go to the places I want to shoot and follow my passion. For me going professional has brought me closer to my work and I am able to focus on my journey through life.I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What do you enjoy most about photography?

The single biggest thing I love about photography is being the witness. Witnessing the beauty of the world around me. Seeing places that make your jaw drop. Finding that special light, that special moment in time and capturing it. Just being there. I can’t explain in words the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff in the Canyonlands of Utah with a thunderstorm coming directly towards me and lightning striking just a couple of miles away. The smell, light, air, every emotion you could think of running through your body and then you click the shutter as a lightning bolt hits the Earth. Capturing that split second in time. That is what I love most about photography.

What was the most recent photographic technique that you learned or mastered? And what is the next photographic technique that you would like to learn?

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The latest technique I have almost mastered is shooting landscapes with the Milky Way. I wanted to do something different than everyone’s 30 second high ISO single image of the Milky Way so I have been using a tracking mount and long 13-15 minute exposures at a lower ISO for my Milky Way work. It is very tedious and time consuming but I find that I really like the images I am getting out of this technique.
I want to further my knowledge in Infrared photography as I grow as an artist. I have just started doing some long exposure work and want to continue this and create a series from it. The use of ND filter with infrared is a bit difficult and I want to see where I can take it.

What was the most recent piece of truly useful photographic equipment that you purchased? What is the next piece of equipment that you are looking to acquire?

For me the single most useful piece of equipment has been the Lightning Trigger. I never leave home without it. Have caught some amazing lightning shots with it and I am just getting started. The next piece of equipment I am looking to acquire is an infrared modified Sony A7R II body with a Life Pixel Deep Infrared conversion. I shoot a lot of monochrome infrared and want to continue my photographic studies with that camera body.

What is in your camera bag on a typical day?

My bag consists of a Nikon D810 body, Infrared modified Sony A7R body, Nikon 14-24mm lens, Tamron 15-30 VC lens, the new Nikon 24-70 ( a beauty) , lightning trigger, several batteries, cards, 145mm ND filters in 5 and 10 stops, other ND filters for the Nikon 24-70, Panch, large trash bags, small notebook, gaffers tape and remote triggers.

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What is your typical downloading/storage/sorting/processing procedure? Where do you store/backup your images? What programs do you use for post-processing?

I typically download onto a portable hard drive and then selected images on my computer, I am starting to transfer and use solid state drives more and more. I also store images on jump drives. I generally back up work on three sets of drives, DVD’s.

My post processing is done with some lightroom and Photoshop CC. I am really liking the photoshop CC now that I am enrolled with it. No sense in spending huge amounts of money every year on software. It good as long as Adobe keeps up with camera, lens and other updates.

What words of advice or encouragement do you have for anyone just starting on their photographic journey?

My advice to anyone starting their photographic journey is to do what you love #1. That is the single most important thing to do. Follow your passion. Photography without passion is nothing. Be passionate about every shot, exposure. Enjoy yourself. Have fun with what you are doing. After you do these things the rest will come to follow. Photography is an amazing world filled with life. Capture your heart, feelings, passion. Find yourself in your photography and let it take you on the journey of a lifetime.

A favorite image…

This image is a part of my Southwest Infrared Landscape Series and was captured this summer on a trip to Vermilion Cliffs wilderness in Arizona. It was my first trip there to this spot and the three days I spent there were amazing.
The landscape is like no other I have seen. A solid half square mile of some of the most beautiful landscape on Earth.

During this time I had endured, rain , hail, lightning, nights with the Milky Way. It was the absolute best three days I have ever spent shooting. This capture of the swirling candy rock was the epitome of the trip. This single exposure is what it was all about. The connection with man and Earth. Just to witness this happening if front if me brought on a ton of emotion. Mostly joy and awe.

Landscape Photographers can relate to this. When you are in the magic moment nothing else matters. And it was one of those moments.
I captured this image with my infrared modified Sony a7r camera, Nikon 14-24mm lens and Iduro, RRS tripod setup. Also used my Sony remote trigger. Exposure was 1/4 second at ~f/11 at ISO 100.

Processing done with Photoshop CC.

-Klaus

A Current Project…

Klaus currently is fundraising on Fotofund to help support his Southwest infrared landscap series.

“I have found myself especially interested in the infrared landscape. I have focused much of my time and energy capturing the desert southwest in infrared light. The light we cannot see but has brought life to my photography. As you can see by my infrared work it is a very special medium.” he explains, “With my Southwest Infrared Project I want to share what I witness and to give the world the vision I have seen. I want everyone to bear witness at the wonders I have been able to capture.”

You can learn more about the Fotofund project and the work behind it by clicking here.

Links

Images ©2016 Klaus Priebe.

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    • Klaus has been an inspiration to me. I have followed his work for several years and have watched for his post as each one seems to inspire me more and more. His appreciation and respect for Mother Nature creates a bond among those of us who see God's creations as a thing of beauty that we attempt to capture in that special moment and share with others. His work is awesome and inspires me to have the strength to create the next masterpiece. 

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    • Hello. I'd like to ask you kindly,with some details about what you meant by infrared modified Sony, please.
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    • Congrats Klaus! You deserve this feature, and your work is excellent.

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