Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine work and passion by using your own nature photos in your daily profession?
To get an answer to that question, I interviewed the Slovenian nature photographer Ales Krivec. At the NPOTY contest 2019 he was categorie winner in the category ‘Landscape’. Ales recently had his first solo exhibition and is planning to have another one in the near future. Time to find out what drives this passionate and proud nature photographer, whose impressive portfolio consists almost entirely of images that were taken close to home.
Ales was born in a town called Jesenice in Slovenia, in a very diverse environment with many photography opportunities condensed in a small area.
He started with photography about 6 years ago when he bought his first DSLR. The trigger that caused him to enter the world of photography is probably a bit unusual. His main profession is developing WordPress Themes for photographers, bloggers, creative artists, and those in need of a solid digital portfolio solution. For his work he bought images from various stock agencies such as Shutterstock to use in the themes. One day he thought it would be nice if he could create his own images and use them in his Themes. And so he bought a camera and entered the world of photography. But once he got into photography he got a taste for it and his photo adventure quickly grew from taking a few stock photos to an obsession with landscape photography. As a result he created his latest WordPress theme called LandScape, which is developed using only his own landscape images.
On the edge, Ales Krivec
“My love for nature started at an early age. My parents were taking me into the mountains since I was 5 years old and the mountains definitely grew on me through the years. I dare to say that it is by far the place that I enjoy the most and therefore my most popular photography subject.
I think is very simple, as a photographer you are drawn to what you prefer in day-to-day life. So we all photograph what we like the most. If you take a good look at your private photo gallery (not your professional assignments), you will probably notice that you visit the same places that you would also visit without the camera. Just to enjoy the views, or sit calmly on the steep mountain slopes among the ibexes.
Alpine Ibex, Ales Krivec
Not only my love for nature and especially the mountains are a huge source of inspiration for me but also the work of other photographers. I started following Slovenian photographers because they were already shooting the subjects I wanted to capture as well.
There are several photographers who have had a great impact on me and my photography. One of the first photographers I followed on a Slovenian photography site was Aleš Komovec. I was very impressed with his work, because I had no idea at the time how it was possible to make such pictures. And still his color grading is one of my favorites. There are many great landscape photographers in Slovenia like for instance Peter Zajfrid, Jaka Ivančič, Luka Esenko, Jošt Gantar, Ana Pogačar and many more. And then of course there is Milan Malovrh with his unique technique of photographing horses.
Michael Shainblum also had a big impact on me. His photos persuaded me to try out night photography as well. I still enjoy it immensely as I am always impressed by how much more a good camera can ‘see’ compared to the naked human eye. The colors and light just feel so different, almost a bit extraterrestrial because we are not used to it.”
Lake Jasna at night, Ales Krivec
“My preparation when I go on a photo trip depends on what I’m going to shoot. When I go out for night photography I prepare carefully. For me, that means using tools like Stellarium and Mooncalc.org to gain insight into how the stars and moon will align at any given time. That insight is important to be able to accurately plan your night photo shoot.
When I go out to do some landscape photography, I prepare less intensively. Sometimes my preparation then consists of visiting the desired location beforehand to see how much potential it has to offer in terms of composition possibilities. More often I like to do things even more spontaneously. In the evening I will just pick a location that I would like to visit not just from a photographic point of view but as a traveler/hiker as well, and go there before sunrise.
Summer morning, Ales Krivec
Since I take almost all my photos in the Julian Alps, it means I first have to hike 1000-1500 vertical metres to reach the best locations. So if I want to make images of Alpine ibexes in the first morning light, I will have to start hiking at about 3am when it’s still pitch dark. But I am convinced that if you enjoy the location and the trip like I do, the photos will benefit from it and probably look better. At least for me as the photographer because they have emotional value. And in the end, most people take pictures for themselves to enjoy them in the first place.”
“In photography the combination of visual elements, the atmosphere and the compositions you choose are characteristic for your work. But I think that maybe the most important aspect is how you process the colors in your photo, as they have the most visual impact on the viewers when they takes their first look at the photo.
A lot of photographers, including myself, work the colors in post processing to deepen the mood a bit, to make certain elements pop. And I think in the end it is the approach one chooses in post processing to get to the final result that defines your style.”
Autumn mood, Ales Krivec
“I love the scenic landscapes in my country, Slovenia. Not everyone knows it but Slovenia is truly a hidden jewel of Europe, with soaring Alpine peaks, emerald rivers, vineyard landscape, medieval castles, thriving towns and the small but characteristic coast. And I feel lucky to live in this beautiful environment because I don’t like to travel much. For sure the destinations are great but I dislike the actual process of traveling. So that explains why almost all my images have been taken close to home, mostly within the radius of only 30 kilometres from my house. An exception to that is the Italian Dolomites. In the last years I have made several trips to these amazing mountains.
With my photos I simply want to highlight the beauty of nature, especially the Slovenian nature. Each viewer can take something else out of it. Ranging from simply observing and enjoying the beauty of nature to perhaps recognizing that we should try to preserve nature as much as possible. So that the next generations can see and enjoy it in a similar way.
Autumn rays, Ales Krivec
It is important that people become aware of what is happening in the natural world and start taking care. To get to that point, I think people first need to realize that the beautiful world around them is very fragile and I hope my images show a fraction of that. In my opinion most landscape photographers view nature in a similar way. If my images persuade a few people to go hiking to those locations, they will maybe appreciate nature even more than they already did.“
Lake Jasna during winter, Ales Krivec
“Participating in photography contests like Nature Photographer of the Year plays an important role in ones career as it is a great way to get recognized and to experience that your work is appreciated by others too. Furthermore it is a great way to see and admire the work of other photographers. The selected images are always a treat for the eye so the competitions are definitely a good thing for everyone involved. Fortunately the growing number of photo competitions and so on makes is easier to present your work today, compared to only a few years ago.”
“For me using platforms like IG or FB is mainly just about sharing my work with others, to show my view on landscapes and intimate nature scenes. And by doing so, I also get noticed by potential clients. So my advice would be to publish regularly, but only the best content. And both FB and IG are good channels to promote my yearly calendar and prints. I think these ‘outlets’ cover over 90% of my marketing.”
A little cottage in the mountains, Ales Krivec
“As with everyone the Covid-19 measures had an effect on my possibilities to go outdoors, but I adapted quickly to the new situation. When we were limited to our county, I spent my time exploring the local hills I never visited before. Luckily I live in a region that is quite dynamic with numerous hills, valleys and villages. So I must say it wasn’t too hard, but it’s nice to be able to explore a few more distant places again.”
At the end of the interview I asked Ales the following question: “if you could ask another nature photographer one question, who would that be and which question would you ask?
Ales answered: “I would ask Marc Adamus if those wild places that he visits on his trekking expeditions are even real? :-)”.
Ice skating, Ales Krivec