While doing my usual surfing of all things photography i came across the website of Nathan Kavumbura . He is a Zimbabwean photographer based in New Zealand. What struck me most about his photography was his landscape images, suffice to say he is one lucky guy to live in such a beautiful country with amazing landscapes (The Land of Lord of the Rings 🙂 ). I reached out to him and he gladly oblidged to give me an interview. Enjoy!
Q1.When did you get into photography and what inspired you to take it up?
A: In 1992 I borrowed my Dad’s Olympus OM10 film camera and took it to school, I would shoot my fellow students and develop the film and make some pocket money. I guess that is when I caught the bug. My inspiration comes from the urge to capture the beauty that surrounds us whether in the human face or nature.
Q2. What kind of gear do you use?
- Camera body – Canon 60D
- Lens – Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, Sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6.3, Canon 10-18 f/4.5-5.6, Canon 50mm f/1.8, Sigma 2x extender
- Tripod – Manfrotto legs and fluid head
- Filters – Circular Polarizer, ND8, Formatt Hitech 10 stop ND
- Flash – Canon 430 exII, Yongnuo YN-622C triggers
- Camera bag – Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW
Q3. Which is your favorite lens? Why?
A:That’s a tough question, if I have to choose I would say my Sigma 18-200, I love it’s versatility and its the one that stays on my camera all the time. I also love the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for portrait work.
Q4. When you go in one of your travels, what will you take with you? Why?
A: I take all my gear because I never know what I want shoot. Sometimes I go out thinking I will shoot a landscape but when I find a good portrait location all I have to do is go back to the car and get my softbox and in no time I am making portraits.
Q5. Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
A: I bought a GoPro Hero 3 Silver edition a few years ago so I could use it to do more timelapse work, it turned out that I should have got a Black edition because the jpeg quality on the silver did not quite meet my needs.
Q6. In the field, what are your settings?
- Aperture – Varies
- Shutter Speed – Varies
- ISO – 100 (unless I must bump it up)
- White Balance – Varies
- Focus – Manual/Auto Manual for landscapes and Auto for portrait work
- Image Format – RAW/JPEG I always shoot RAW (CR2) and convert to DNG on import
A: My settings depend on what I am shooting. I shoot mostly in manual mode so my aperture will vary depending on the light and the effect I am trying to achieve. My go to ISO is 100 unless I really have to change it. Shutter speed varies a lot.
Q7. What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.
A: I import into Lightroom CC into catalogues. I do a lot of my adjustments in Lightroom. I think the magic happens in Photoshop CC, I do all my dodging and burning there. I use luminosity masks quite a lot. I use Topaz and NIK plugins. For stitching panoramas I use Auto Pano Giga.
To detail my workflow would be hard to do in words, maybe I need to make that tutorial video.
Q8. How would you define your style of photography or rather whats your favourite type of photography and why?
A: My first love is landscapes although I am failing to separate them from my love for capturing people. My landscapes are mostly panoramas because I think they best represent how I see the world. I also bracket almost all my landscapes and use the HDR tools in Lightroom and Photoshop to stack them, I don’t use tonemapping.
Q9. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
A: I scour the internet for tutorials and devour anything in my path. I visit YouTube every day.
Q10. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
A: My next one. I enjoy all my images but I always look forward to the next one I shoot.
Q11. Whose work has influenced you most?
A: Ken Duncan (Australia) (http://www.kenduncan.com) and Andris Apse (New Zealand) (http://www.andrisapse.com). Ken Duncan especially because of how he uses his craft to glorify God, something that I hope my own work does.
Q11.What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
A: Actually I am still on a photographic journey, I don’t do this fulltime. I am an Airfield Lighting Engineer by day.
Q12.What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
A: I want to capture the beauty of what God created. I want people to see what I have had the honour of seeing. I love capturing light and I think that is what gets me out of bed at those crazy hours in the morning to catch a sunrise and stay out late at night to capture the night sky.
Q13. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
A: The best equipment doesn’t make the best images use what you have and also use manual mode.
Q14. What advice would you give enthusiasts who would want to take up this profession full time?
A: Shoot shoot and shoot. Always share your best work.