I came across Steve’s work on 500px, another great find. I want to thank him for doing the interview because a) he’s not a pro, but take amazing work and b) english would not be his native language. Read what he has to say and then check out his work.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, so at first I’m sorry for my strange sounding English :). My name is Steve Simon and I’m a 24 year old student, who still lives in a very small town in Saxony, Germany. In the end of September I will move to Wolfsburg to write my master thesis in mechatronics. My interests are scattered across the board. I love to sit on my motorcycle, driving around without a special purpose, just to feel the speed and to have fun. On the other hand I lay on my couch and step into interesting stories while reading. Many years of my life my every day passion was skateboarding. It was an attitude towards life, hanging around with friends and skating wherever you want. But at X-mas 09 a new passion stepped into my life, it was the photography.
What made you get into photography?
I was never really interested into photography till I got my DSLR. I was amazed by professional photos, but I only took snapshots for documentation. It is really hard to describe how it happened that I became addicted to photography. The reason that me me want to buy a DSLR was a trip to china, which I did last year. For some reason I wanted special photos of this trip. Photos that tell you stories and show you different feelings and memories of certain situations after you took the shot. I wanted photos that you look at more often, not only some snapshots, which get dusty. So from the day I got the cam, I was addicted to photography and I wanted to get exactly these special photos.
How did you get started?
At Christmas in 2009 I got a Nikon D5000. I had this idea from special photos of the upcoming china journey in my mind. So I dealt nearly every day with the topic photography. I had to understand the technique, the physical parameters. On the other hand I had to understand the effect of pictures and to compose them to achieve special feelings. Therefor I read many books and articles on the internet and looked at photos of awesome photographers to get inspiration. But of course I went out in the nature, experimented with the Nikon and tried to realize the learned theory. Since then I have started to get into photography and can’t get the camera out of my hands, because I want to become better.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Currently I mainly focus on outdoor and architecture photography. These two areas are the most exciting ones for me. I like travelling very much and on each part of the earth you can find stunning landscapes. Every time I am at such an awesome place I am astonished about our beautiful nature. The opposite to this is the human made architecture we are living in. We spend most time of our life in cities and so I am trying to find beautiful places there too or to capture the dynamic life in cities. A special part in architecture photography for me is to shoot staircases. Once a day I walked through our university and noticed an interesting staircase. Since then I’m looking for such exciting places to create these special photos with a suction effect, where the eye of the viewer is getting deeper and deeper in the picture. For this reasons I’m trying to improve my skills in these areas constantly to create stunning pictures with the beauties of our earth.
What gear are you using?
I’m still using my Nikon D5000. Therefor I bought other equipment, but it is really hard to buy this expensive stuff for a student without money :D. My equipment:
– Sigma 10-20 mm 4-5,6
– Tamron 17-50 mm 2,8 VC
– Nikkor 55-200 mm 4-5,6
– Hitech ND and GND filters, B+W ND 3.0 and a polarizer
– Tripod, Remote
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Especially for my New York trip this spring, I bought the 10-20mm lens. When I first looked through this lens, I was amazed by this wide angle effect. It is very practical in big cities with skyscrapers and narrow streets or to create interesting staircase photos. But also in outdoor photography you can compose amazing pictures with fore- and background with such a wide angle lens. These facts are still impressing to me and so this lens is nearly always attached to my cam.
How are you marketing yourself?
I’m not really market myself to make money, till now photography is just a hobby, but I’m open to everything. Although it is a complete contrast to my study and I think I’m just in the beginning of photography. I present my pictures on my website, where everyone can see a selection of my work. On my blog I post stories, travel reports, new pictures and some tips and tricks. But I have to disappoint you, because these articles are in German and I don’t know how good the automatic translation of your browser works. To get some feedback I show my photos also on platforms like 500px , flickr or on photographer boards. But I think in the marketing section I could need some help to move forward, because I have no really good experience in that.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This is really the hardest and mean question of all. In some photos you invest a lot of time, checking out the location, planning the trip and waiting for good light. So the photographer has a complete different relation to his own photos and it is very hard to select one photo. Because my favorites are the outdoor and architecture photography, I decided to show 1 photo for each section.
I shot this photo 2 weeks ago during a trip in the Alps. The photo shows an amazing place at the Obersee, it is a small part of the famous known Königssee in Bavary. I loved this breathtaking place and I think, that this photo comprise all the feelings I felt there. It is not the best light for landscape photography, but the little hut is just a short time lighted after midday.
This photo shows the first staircase I shot. It was in my university and when I noticed these great forms I tried some shots. I was not satisfied with my first results and so I had to go back a day later. The result was much better and this was the beginning in shooting staircases. For this reason, this photo is really important to me.
Actually I have more favorites, but to post all would be beyond the frame and so you can visit my website or so.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I can’t give you an advice on going pro, actually I would need some too. But if you want to become a better photographer, the most important thing is passion and fun. For really good landscape or architecture shots you need a good preparation, time and a little bit of luck for interesting light situations. It is best if you check out the locations with the help of the internet. Looking for interesting spots on other photos, checking the location with the help of Google Earth and you have to know the time of sunrise and sunset. So go out, enjoy the nature and try to improve your skills. I will do that too 😉