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Capturing Moments with Stuart Apsey

Meet Stuart Apsey, an amazing photographer who has a flair for landscape photography and aims to snap the best scenes across South Africa at their best moments. With an impressive portfolio of striking photographs, it’s hard to believe that he is a semi-professional photographerFind out what strange questions some people have asked him and where he's been in pursuit of some of the most breath-taking landscapes around.

1. What type of photography are you most passionate about?

Ideally I don’t wish to categorise any one part of photography as a genre I’m most passionate about. I would like to think I shoot what captures my eye, but I do gravitate towards landscape photography and I seldom shoot anything else these days.

Above: Gerikes Point. Sedgefield, Garden Route

2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Mostly from other photographers and what they have photographed. I often see an image of a place and look at the potential of the subject matter, even if it’s not the greatest image.

3. Who are your favourite photographers?

There are many photographers I admire, but for me there is one photographer that stands out; Marc Adamus. He is based in the Pacific Northwest in the USA. His work ethic and techniques are at the forefront of landscape photography. His images speak for themselves.

Above: Greyscale photo of Castle Rock, Brenton on Sea, Garden Route

4. What are some of your favourite destinations to capture?

I love shooting new locations and I'm always on the lookout for more places to capture. There are many more new places in the country I plan to visit, but my favourite to date is probably the Wild Coast. It offers many dynamic spots with sea views, cliffs, lagoons, rolling hills, rocks and many interesting things one can work into a composition. Not to mention the great light that often appears in the area.

Above: Sunset, Castle Rock, Brenton on Sea, Garden Route

5. How long have you been a photographer?

I have been taking photographs seriously for about six years.

Above: Wolfberg Arch, Cederberg

6. How would you describe your photography style?

It sounds like a cliché but I do like dramatic conditions with a large dynamic range in light. I love using very wide angles to capture as many elements in a single frame as I can. I often try to capture what I am seeing and feeling at a specific time; and interpret that into my photos. For example when water is in my image and moving it has a soft feel to it. If I use a fast shutter speed it freezes and loses that soft feel, so I would use a longer shutter speed to make it look soft and silky.

Above: Lion's Head at sunset, Camps Bay

7. What tips do you have for people who want to photograph various landscapes with an ordinary camera?

If you only own a point and shoot camera the best is to keep everything simple. Stay away from high contrast conditions. A seasoned landscape photographer has techniques to expose high contrast areas more evenly; much like my own style, but this is much harder to do without an SLR. Avoid shooting right into the bright areas where you want to see detail in the shadow parts. The best results will still come from the golden hour around sunset and sunrise keeping the sun at 90 degrees to your frame. This will  ensure you capture good light that your camera can manage. When composing, keep it simple, the more elements you have in your shot; the harder it gets to compose neatly into the frame.

Above: Castle Rock, Brenton on Sea, Garden Route

8. What’s the strangest thing someone has asked you?

I actually get it quite often where people ask me to shoot weddings. I find this very strange as they see my images and none of them will have any people in them yet they assume I can shoot such occasions. I wouldn’t know the first thing about shooting a wedding.

Above: Greyscale photo of Clouds above Castle Rock, Brenton on Sea, Garden Route

9. Are you a traditionalist who occasionally uses film or have you gone completely digital?

I would like to say there is somewhat of a traditionalist in me, but the truth is that digital has become very affordable for so many people wanting to get into photography. I feel more loyal to the evolution of digital, not to mention how it has allowed me to use techniques not really possible when using film.

Above: Sunset, Koegel Bay, Western Cape

10. When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in photography?

At this point I am still only semi-professional which means most of my income comes from other sources. However, to get to this point has been more of an evolution than a choice to pursue it seriously. It started with entering a few competitions in magazines, to selling a few images and then people just become more interested in my photos as time went on. I have always taken the approach that I shoot for myself first. If someone wants to use what I have taken then that’s great. But I seldom agree to follow a brief from someone else.

Above: Sunrise, Wolfberg, Cederberg

11. Complete the sentence: because of photography…

...I am a lot more motivated to leave the house and spend my time outdoors.

If you'd like to see some more incredible photography by Stuart Apsey, take a look at his website


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