An Interview With: Carsten Vos
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a final year undergraduate student at the University of Dundee and amateur photographer who particularly enjoys outdoor pursuits, writing and travelling in his free time.
How did you get into what you do?
In my last year of school my family and grandparents spent Christmas and New Year's in a small hut in Norway. Under the tree a compact camera awaited me, and I used it extensively the days after, taking images of the winter wonderland around us and leaning out of the window into the cold night with my grandfather to photograph the moonlight on the snow. I quickly got hooked, upgraded to a bridge camera that I took with me when working for the Red Cross in Ghana, then finally acquired my first DSLR. For the past years photography has been my favourite pastime.
How do you work?
I usually just take my camera along on promising trips, while travelling, or out hiking in the Scottish highlands. Occasionally I also go out specifically to take a certain picture, or plan a shoot, checking the weather in advance in order to get the best weather and light for a landscape image. I would actually like to get out to more interesting locations specifically to photograph them, but usually I travel in a group and don't want to test the limits of my mates' patience.
How would you describe your work?
I mainly enjoy taking pictures when out and about, especially on outdoor pursuits. Travelling a lot, many of my images feature far away places and people. I hardly ever photograph indoors, have no clue how to use a flash and have no interest in portraiture, fashion or macro, but focus on landscapes, the outdoors and travel. The night sky and outdoor sports (especially snow sports and climbing) are two things that I would like to photograph more often in the future, but opportunities are not as abundant as I wished. On a recent trip to Namibia I also got into wildlife photography and had a lot of fun taking pictures of zebras, cheetahs, lions and tons of antelopes.
What is your background?
I grew up in rural Germany and after finishing secondary school spent a year living in the Western African nation of Ghana. Subsequently I started a degree in psychology in Scotland of which I spent one year studying abroad in Australia. I'd consider myself a pretty international person and try to capture as much as possible of what I see and experience in photographs.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get my inspiration from marvelling at the work of accomplished photographers, both online and on paper. This Christmas I got the book Polar Obsession by Paul Nicklen, a Canadian photographer who focuses on the wildlife of the arctic and antarctic regions. Looking at his images of leopard seals, polar bears and the northern lights makes me want to explore more of the polar regions.
I don't know. I picked up a camera and enjoyed taking pictures. Then I started to look at the work of talented photographers and thought “I want to get to that level.” That's just what I have been working on ever since, and I hugely enjoy it.
What are you goals after University?
I have no interest in pursuing photography as a career, instead after completing my current degree I will return to Germany to study medicine. Once a medical doctor I hope my schedule allows me to continue travelling extensively and taking pictures of exciting places purely as a hobby.
Is there any specific equipment you use?
I use a Pentax K3 with a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 and a 55-300 f/4-5.8, 35 f/2.4 and 50 f/1.7 by Pentax, an f-stop camera backpack, a tripod and some filters, a Peak Design Capture Clip, cleaning products etc. For editing Lightroom is my preferred choice.
Whats the best piece of advice you could give the readers of The Pupil Sphere?
If you want to improve your photography, figure out what your images are lacking and work on it one or two aspects at a time. Some time after I started photography I kept taking pictures without getting any better at all because I just snapped away without paying any thought to it. Only when I started to put a conscious effort into improving my composition, observing the light and learning digital editing did my pictures actually improve. Taking a lot of photographs alone does not lead to improvement, constant learning and exploring new methods does.
All images copyright of Carsten Vos