Mijn 100ste blog! Speciaal voor mijn 100ste blog heb ik een interview bewaard dat een tijdje terug is gepubliceerd in het jubileumtijdschrift Fuel for Life van het bedrijf waarvoor ik werk. De directie was op zoek naar verhalen van mensen (binnen en buiten het bedrijf) met een bepaalde passie, commitment of doorzettingsvermogen. Zodoende kwamen mijn natuurfoto’s tussen artikelen over muzikant Michiel Borstlap, Olympisch sporster Bibian Mentel en oud-collega Paul Velder die een eigen koffiebranderij heeft: Sprso.
Omdat het blad internationaal verspreid is, is het interview in het engels:
As a mechanical engineer for Frames, Peter has kept himself busy with the skid and plant layouts of the business unit. But when you ask him about his true passion, his answer might surprise you. “Nature photography is what really fuels me and consumes all of my spare time.” Where most people connect nature photography with Africa, Peter prefers staying closer to home. “I’ve been to Kenya and Svalbard, but the Dutch dunes are my roots and favorite place. During my hikes I meet deer, foxes and birds and find an unique silence within the crowded Netherlands.”
How did you become such an avid nature photographer? “Ironically health issues with my back are the reason why I now carry 15kg around. My doctor advised me to walk and I found hiking in the dunes a bit more exiting than around the block. I took my camera with me and set off hoping to maybe spot a fox. That first walk I spotted five Fallow Deer and a Red Fox and I was hooked.”
When you sketch the image of a heavily camouflaged photographer who sits for hours waiting for a single bird Peter laughs. “They exist, but I prefer a more open approach. My favorite season is winter but I do not dress up in white like a navy seal. I get up well before sunrise, dress up warm and find my spot or animal just as the sun rises. And then the waiting begins. Sitting still on your knees for two hours in a foot of snow is no fun. But if you want the animal to accept you, you cannot jump around to keep warm. I keep still and wait, which can take hours before a Roe Deer comes close enough for a good shot. When you finally get up you feel like an old man, your knees frozen and painful.”
How do you find these places or the animals? “You need to become familiar with the animal. What it eats, how it lives, google does a good job too nowadays, but the rest is just spending time in the area. Deer migrate through the dunes as the seasons change and you get to know routes and places by spending a lot of time in the field.”
It sounds like you spent more time observing than photographing. “90% of the time is indeed waiting or observing, but the other 10% makes it worthwhile. If you take a typical rutting season in autumn, I will go twenty times which equals about 3000 photos. I get soaked at least five times, have two freezing mornings without gloves and one morning with mist. In the end I am happy if I nail four shots. People only know Van Gogh for three famous paintings either, so you do not need more anyway.”
When asked if it his ambition to become the Van Gogh of Nature photography he shrugs. “I would love to win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest and have National Geographic call me, but for now I am content that several magazines ran my photos and articles. On a recent lecture by a French photographer I saw a movie of him in the field that moved me (skip to 03.00). The man spend a month roaming the cold white wilderness in search of white wolves and when they finally found each other he cried while taking photos. That emotion is what it should be about, not fame or glory, but the exhilaration of taking that one shot that could be the best of the year.