3 February 2009

Featured 'tog Tuesday - Steve Kaluski ARPS

I first purchased a camera in 1979 and, like a lot of people, I took images of everything and anything. In all honesty I had no real understanding about what I was doing, or what I was looking at!

Then, after a long period of time not doing any photography, in 2002 I decided to take it up again. And so, in 2004 I purchased my first digital camera. This gave me the excuse I needed to invest time, effort and energy in the subject. Since 2005, I have concentrated solely on wildlife, travelling all around the world. My work has appeared in various publications, including photography magazines but also others such as Travel brochures and BBC Wildlife. I am passionate about the natural world.

First up, the only one we ask to everyone:
BLAB: What colour would your Ferrari be?
Well it would have to be Red, no question! It symbolises the passion, pedigree, craftsmanship and the love of Italian racing. A Ferrari that isn't red is like chips without salt, LOL!

BLAB: Which photographer's work do you most admire and why?
Easy, it's the guy that kick started me back into photography with a passion for Wildlife and how to appreciate it, Andy Rouse. I became hooked with a series of TV programmes he did back in 1999 in which he spoke about photography and the love he has for animals in a very stimulating manner that appealed to me hugely. Several years later I met him and have become good friends with him ever since, visiting many worldwide locations with him. If you ever get a chance to work with Andy you
will realise that every time he will put the animals welfare first, irrespective of getting 'that shot'. Have respect for the animal you are photographing, they will have respect for you and you will achieve your image. In addition I also admire Neil McIntyre who I have spent time with, Danny Green and Edwin Kats, all great photographers, but it is the 'simplicity of their images I like best.

BLAB: If you had been paid ten thousand pounds for being our 'Tuesday tog', what photo equipment would you spend it on?
I wish!!!! And I guess this is the crunch question! If I had to choose today I would have to say Nikon purely because it does exactly what it says on the tin, and delivers! I have always used Canon equipment and have a small fortune tied up with them and therefore will continue to use it. However like for like, the Nikon bodies now outstrips the Canon and delivers the shots. I have even shots of the same images and settings etc, side by side, and the Nikon always seems to have the edge. The lenses are on par, albeit Canon might have the edge on that. But I now know a lot of pros swopping over to Nikon and they all seem to say it has worked for them.

[BLAB: Not exactly the answer we were expecting but this is the Tuesday 'tog post and what they say goes! While we may be a site aimed at Canon users, we know there are other views out there and there is no one perfect solution for everyone... hit the comments with your thoughts on it]

BLAB: What would your dream photo opportunity be?
No contest, 1-2 months in Botswana in May/June. I just love the country, especially the people and the wonderful abundant wildlife. They have adopted a low volume, low impact, policy in the reserves, with limited numbers of guests and therefore limited numbers of vehicles within each concessionary area. With only three vehicles at any one time on a sighting, the clients get the best vantage points and the animals are not pressurised or harassed. In addition the drivers and guides are, in my opinion, some of the best. I have a huge respect for them, especially their knowledge of the animals and birds and their environment. If you ever want to get the best out of your trip, then please do not put pressure on your guides saying, 'I must see lions...' or "I must see a chase or a kill". My experience is that if you just go with the flow and take pleasure in what you do see, then mother nature generally will reward you and you will see a lot more, more than you would otherwise think. And there is as much pleasure in some of the smaller more unusual animals and birds than the big five.

Canon EOS-1D MkIII, EF500mm f/4L IS USM, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO400
It was a very hot afternoon when we left our location, about 40 degrees. Confidence was high as Park officials and the foresters were talking of good sightings of Tigers that morning. We patrolled our alloted route listening out for any 'alarm calls', nothing! As the hours passed by, doubt began to set in, we were not going to see our Tiger. Talking one last route home we tried a small watering hole, as we turned the bend there she was, quietly walking down the sand track. We stopped, reversed up to the waterhole positioned ourselves and waited. Quietly she approached, hot and dusty, moving within feet of the jeep straight to the water. Crouching down she drank. Not a great picture with her 'bum' to camera but, then within a few minutes she turned and reversed into the cool water to face the camera. A perfect end to the day. After filling my boots with images it was a quick race back before the Park gates closed.

If you would like to know more about Tigers, or would like to help please visit www.21stcenturytiger.org

Canon EOS-1D MkIII, EF500mm f/4L IS USM, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO400
Beauty is my favourite Leopard which I met about two years ago in the Okavanga Delta in Botswana. She brought her cubs into camp for us to babysit whilst she went off to hunt. Sadly her parenting skills left a lot to be desired and non of her cubs have survived. I hooked up with Beauty last year and again she was proud to show me her new two week old cub. This shot was taken early morning, we just sat and watched her play and drink until we lost her in the tall grass. We moved the vehicle around, hoping to find her again hidden amidst all the rustling sounds. But as we approached a big old tree I instinctively knew she was going for the tree. So we positioned the jeep,switched off the engine and waited. Then in two leaps there she was high above us, parading around like a fashion model. Fifteen minutes of pure bliss.

Canon EOS-1D MkIII, EF500mm f/4L IS USM, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO400 -0.33
I thought this would be an easy assignment, choose three images and write about them. Well the third did prove a problem, but I trust you like my choice.

The reason for choosing this image is because of the bold, vibrant colours of the image. The Saddle-billed stork is a rather ungainly bird standing about five feet high and looks as if its plumage was created by 'paint by numbers' as it appears to be totally out of context with the surroundings and environment. This shot was taken about mid morning as we patrolled the channels in the Jao/Kwetsani area. The stork was feeding in the ever increasing water that was steadily flowing into the Delta. I just love the trail that the left foot makes on the waters surface as the stork walks through the water in a very 'elegant' manner.

BLAB: Thanks for your time and for answering our questions. Some interesting and (possibly for this site controversial!) views and some really stunning pictures. We wish you well with your photography in the future and we'll be keeping an eye out for your images around and about. With images like these it won't be long before you're knocking on the door of some of those names you've mentioned as influences. 

UPDATE: Steve has just provided us with his new website www.untamedimages.co.uk where you can see some more of his work. 


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