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Can I join you on a storm-chase trip (or any photo shoot)?
Do you use any filters?
Do you use special darkroom techniques to make your photos look better?
Don't you ever get bored by this photography?
How did you learn photography?
How do you deal with bystanders when photographing out in the open?
What camera do you use?
What's the best reward / satisfaction you can get for your work?
What's the most beautiful weather event for you?
Which films do you use?



Can I join you on a storm-chase trip (or any photo shoot)?

No, I don't chase thunderstorms with people I do not know. This has various reasons, the most important being that I don't know if you'll get bored easily or not, and if you share the same interests (i.e. places you want to see) when there are no storms around. Storm-chaser partners need to know eachother well to communicate well and go along well, because they are stuck with eachother usually 24 hours a day for several weeks.

Do you use any filters?

Usually I use a polarizer when doing close-ups of a rainbow, a halo or another polarized light effect. For time-exposures during daylight I use ND-filters, also for partial solar eclipses, sunspot photography and the green flash..

Do you use special darkroom techniques to make your photos look better?

No. I just process my slides and negatives, which is a standardized process, even in case I push- or pull-process a roll of film.

Don't you ever get bored by this photography?

Not up to now, and I've been doing this since 14 years or so, and actively since about 8 years. When living at the same place all the time, it can get boring, but it doesn't happen to me for some reason - I always find something new to photograph or a new technique to try to photograph something.

How did you learn photography?

I learned everything from my father, who knows a lot about cameras, films, optics and electronics. I never read a photography book, although that would be the way to go if you do not have someone to mentor you. Then, practicing a long time, and my mathematical/physics background helped me to an understanding. If you want to learn photography: start with a cheap SLR camera-kit with a zoomlens, buy a basic photography book, and start from there. 90% of learning the technique comes from your interest and practice, the other 10% from resources. You can't learn photography by sitting in a chair! The resources are only there to sparkle and maintain your interest and to resolve any problems that you encounter in your hobby.

How do you deal with bystanders when photographing out in the open?

People are usually curious, and usually don't realize that photographers generally don't like it when they get bothered with questions or remarks while photographing. Or worse yet, they blow past me in their SUVs honking at me for some reason. I hate this, also if someone in a car stops in front of my camera, if I'm photographing lightning - only to ask if I am alright. That happens a lot in Holland, where the people are less afraid to stop and talk to strangers than in the US. Sometimes, I am lying flat on an asphalt road photographing a road mirage, or I'm out in the dark photographing lightning or fog. It helps to be fairly expressive to the general public in what you're doing, but don't get too much distracted. During the night, people usually stay away from me anyway (I better not think about the reasons why!).

What camera do you use?

For film photography, I use a Nikon FE. The FE has both automatic and manual exposure metering, and is highly suitable for all sorts of weather and astronomy photography. For lenses, I use everything from an all-sky fish-eye lens to long telephoto lenses up to 1000mm. Preferably I use fixed focal length Nikkor AI-S lenses, as these tend to produce less optical distortion than zoomlenses. For weather photography, an older SLR camera such as the Nikon FE is in several aspects preferable over a new automatic SLR. Automatic cameras can't handle dust, water, lightning, and the cold as well as older manual cameras and that is why I still use these. However, I am starting to do digital photography more and more, to reduce the huge cost of film and processing. I currently own a Canon EOS 300D, a Nikon D100 and a Nikon D700 digital SLR camera. In addition to these cameras I have a Hasselblad 500C/M to photograph the truly spectacular events on medium format.

I sometimes use a separate exposure meter, a Gossen Profisix that can measure at very low light levels.

I switched to digital photography in July 2008. Since that time, for almost all photography I use a Nikon D700 with Nikon 24-70/2.8 AF-S lens and 14-24/2.8 AF-S lens. Only when the skies are truly spectacular do I use my older Nikon FE film camera.

What's the best reward / satisfaction you can get for your work?

The best satisfaction I can get is feedback from others, preferably positive (this doesn't mean that I don't like negative feedback!). The best reward for my photography is exposure and recognition. Constructive feedback is very important to me - positive feedback helps my motivation, and negative feedback I might learn from.

What's the most beautiful weather event for you?

I have not a single event in mind, really. The thing which struck me most was a total solar eclipse; but I find Aurora, a tornadic stormcloud (supercell) or a close lightning strike just as beautiful. I don't have any particular weather event that I am hunting for all the time, after which I'd stop. Well, I'm still patiently waiting to see a ball lightning though - but that has not much to do with my photography.

Which films do you use?

For astronomy and other low-light night photography I use Fujichrome Provia 400F (although I am currently experimenting with Kodak Ektachrome E200 as well due to the better reciprocity for long exposures). This film can be push-processed to 800 or 1600 ISO with good results; I usually push-process it to 800 ISO. For all daytime and evening photography, as well as nighttime lightning photography, I use Fujichrome Provia 100F. I use mostly the 35mm film format (135), and sometimes the 120 format with a medium-format camera.