Calvendo Interview

Calvendo the publishing company of my print-on-demand-calendars has released an interview with me. You can find it here:

Since it is available only in German I will give you a free translation here on my blog:

What fascinates you about photography?

A successful landscape image not only documents a specific place but is also able to arouse emotions like relaxation, tension, or anxiety. You can, for example, feel the force of a wave in a storm, the power of a waterfall, the softness of a moss cushion, the warmth of the sea in the South Pacific, or the silence of the desert at night.

Another aspect that fascinates me in photography, is the combination of art and technology. I enjoy both, the endless creative possibilities of photography as well as technical details such as the specific bokeh of a particular lens.

What are your main topics?

My focus is on landscape and travel photography. I love to travel, explore the world, and capture the best moments with my camera.

Is there a topic or an area that you have on your wish list and would like to try out?

I am very happy with my current main topics. In the last two years, I have also gained some experience in underwater photography, which was very exciting. For the future, I could imagine exploring the field of wildlife photography.

Your CALVENDO calendars show that you have already traveled to many countries of the world. Is there a continent, a country, or an area that you find particularly interesting, especially for photography?

I am fascinated by the wild primeval landscapes of our planet and really love wild places like Patagonia, Tasmania, or Iceland.

Are there conversely places that you would not like to visit again?

There are at least two places I would not visit again at the moment: Some of the national parks in the U.S. during the main holiday season. There are just too many people. And secondly, North Africa. This area is really beautiful, but unfortunately currently too unsafe.

What tips can you give to other photographers and creative professionals on the subject of travel and landscape photography? What would you recommend based on your experience?

I usually stay for several days in one place. That way I have enough time to get a feeling of the place and be able to figure out what the most interesting locations and compositions are when the best light prevails and how the weather develops over time. In addition, I often travel two or three times to the same place and often during different seasons. This is, in my opinion, the only way to continuously generate landscape images that stand out from the average.

I strongly advise against all kinds of group tours which are not explicitly aimed at photographers. For good images, you really need the freedom to spontaneously stay a few hours longer than originally planned in one location or skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a whole day and instead take advantage of the good light. With a group tour, this is simply impossible.

In addition, you should always be flexible. If for example, you travel to Iceland to photograph the northern lights, it may happen that it is continuously cloudy for two weeks and you will see absolutely no northern lights. Then you have to be flexible enough to use the ‘bad weather’ for other exciting subjects.

Your calendars are characterized by a uniform design. Likewise, you have opted for a clearly recognizable image editing. How would you describe your personal style? Which line do you follow?

For my calendars, I prefer a clear style and layout which emphasizes the images. I use only white or black as background colors. To give my calendars a personal note I use a handwriting font for the title captions.

In the post-processing of my images, I often do only slight color and contrast corrections. I nearly never use HDR and I never add any elements to an image. As a tool for post-processing, I use only Adobe Lightroom. An LR function which I use quite often is the digital graduated neutral density filter to apply local brightness and contrast adjustments. In the past, I used an optical graduated neutral density filter in front of the lens instead.

How much time do you need to create a new calendar?

Creating a new calendar is relatively fast and usually takes less than an hour. The selection of the 12 images and the text description for the catalogs takes the longest time.

Why have you chosen to publish your images also as calendars? What do you like most about this possibility of publishing?

Calendars appeal to a relatively large audience. For example, many people would rather buy a calendar for 40€ than a large fine-art print for hundreds of €. In addition to 12 cleverly chosen landscapes images, you can convey a very good impression of a place.

How satisfied are you with your current sales? Have you a bestseller?

Basically, I’m happy with my sales although I have somewhat less sold in recent months compared to the same period a year ago. Calendars of exotic locations, such as the Ruwenzori Mountains, sell rather poorly. Calendars of well-known and popular destinations are selling much better. My bestsellers are calendars of Corsica and Saxon Switzerland.

What do you like most about Calvendo? What do you think is in need of improvement?

I think it’s good, how quickly and easily you can create a calendar with the Calvendo tool. Moreover, I find it very pleasant that Calvendo takes care of the marketing of the calendars.

What currently bothers me: The calendar layouts in the Calvendo tool are all not really suitable for pictures in typical digital 2:3 format. Either I have to crop my images to the 16:9 format or I have to live with relatively uneven borders. With additional for 2:3 optimized layouts, this problem could quickly be resolved.
In addition, I would like to see the marketing of the calendars on the U.S. market.

We advise our authors to also operate their own marketing for their projects. Which channels do you use most?

So far I use only my personal website I could probably reach significantly more people by using Facebook. But currently, I have certain reservations about FB. In particular, the rights of FB  for uploaded images is rather unacceptable for photographers.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

A larger project on which I’m working on is a book about Iceland. I’ve already traveled five times to Iceland to take pictures there. I just returned from a two weeks winter tour and have already planned another four weeks summer trip to Iceland to get the final images of missing subjects, such as Landmannalaugar (where I previously always had extremely bad weather). For the next years, I’ve planned some other very exciting projects, which I won’t reveal at the moment.

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