Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Carlos Perez Naval
Why should young people go out with their cameras to capture pictures of wild animals, colorful birds, breathtaking landscapes or tiny insects instead of playing video games? What drives them to go out of bed even before the sunlight breaks up dawn, to get wet and cold until their hands and feet get numbed instead of hanging out with their friends? To get some answers to these questions I had an interview with the promising Spanish nature photographer Carlos Perez Naval, highly commended in the category Youth for the NPOTY contest in 2019 (two times) and 2018 (one time).
Carlos, being 14 years old and already very successful in multiple photo contests, made me curious to where his passion for nature hotography came from.
Mountain goats, Carlos Perez Naval
“My mom and dad have been the greatest inspiration to me in becoming a nature photographer. They often took me out into nature and taught me everything they knew about the things we saw on these trips. They also told me about the value of nature and the importance of taking good care for it. That is how I learnt to be watchful and to appreciate nature. My dad frequently took his camera out on these trips. And as I grew older I started following his example and started to take pictures on my own. That’s how my passion for nature and nature photography started.
European Stonechat, Carlos Perez Naval
Later on I got a friend who also was an enthusiastic nature photographer and we started to look at each others pictures and to learn from each other. As I was trying to improve myself I attended a masterclass to enhance my skills. And I still spent time looking at pictures of other nature photographers and trying to learn from them.”
“Since it all started with the family trips with my parents – and we still go out together – most of my pictures are made in my neighborhood. My main subjects are birds, because they are easy to find around us, mammals, landscapes and insects. To me it is important that the composition in the photo is appealing, that the light is great and that the background is nice and adds something to the subject. When I photograph birds or mammals I always try to put them in context by showing some of the environment they live in.
Eurasian Nuthatch, Carlos Perez Naval
For me it is important to make other people aware of the beauty, the importance but also the vulnerability of nature. And by making them aware of these aspects through my pictures, I hope I can change their attitude towards nature. It is important that we protect nature instead of wearing it out like too many of us do. That is also the reason why I post a part of my work on a platform like Instagram. It offers me the opportunity to show my work to my family and friends and, more important, it gives me the chance to make a call upon people to protect nature, through the caption I add to my pictures.”
“It is a great opportunity to meet other photographers and to admire their work. Talking with these photographers offers me a chance to learn. It helps me in my ambition to continuously improve my photography. At the same time it is a great platform to show my work and it is an honor to end with some kind of prize. That is why I advice other young photographers to participate in photography contests as much as possible. It is a wonderful experience, you get to know other photographers and it offers plenty of chances to learn. And yes, I will for sure participate in the NPOTY 2020 edition!”
To finish the interview I asked Carlos: if you could ask one question to another naturephotographer, who would that be and which question would you ask.
“I don’t have a particular photographer in mind. But I would certainly like to ask other young Spanish nature photographers about their goals and ambitions. Hopefully we could unite and join forces to protect nature through our photography.”