Gently spoken but loud images!
I first came across Les Imgrund through The Arcanum. Les was one of the first apprentices to join the Arcanum and was the first apprentice to become a master and when you see his work on his 500px site you can see why. His work in nature, wildlife and landscape is truly amazing work. In addition to this Les I learned through the interview that Les is colour blind so its testament to the quality of his images that you can realise his skill, not to mention capturing that critical moment.
His first recollection of a camera was his father's Voigtlander, but photography never really held any interest he was far more interested to get out and play with his brother or be with his Dad whilst he worked on the car. Subconsciously he looks back now and thinks that photography was always there as perhaps those earlier days with his fathers Voigtlander made an impression. He didn't enjoy school at all he was far more interested to get out and get into his shooting. But amazingly he became a teacher after his mother and father persuaded him on the basis that he always was teaching people about shooting or other things.
Les loved shooting he represented his country at international events and in the Commonwealth games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998, where he won the Silver Medal in the Small Bore discipline. Interestingly we talk about this later in the show when we discuss hand holding a zoom lens at 700mm lens and shooting at 1/400th sec. He last shot (with his rifle) in 2000 when won the Australian nationals and then retired at the top. Brilliant and he has never been tempted back.
His first camera he bought 1999 as digital was just starting to get interesting was a small Kodak compact point and shoot. He fell in lobe with photography there and then. Always enjoying being out in the surrounding area which has such great wildlife he taking photographs, Visiting the canon store he was initially put off by the cost of a DSLR camera. In 2002 he bought a Canon Rebel with a couple of lens and photography took off so much that he went out and bought a Canon 1Dx with a Canon 70-200mm f4. His full lens stable comprises also off 70-200mm f2.8, a 400mm lens, 8-15mm f4L, 24-70mm f2.8, 400mm f5.6, 500mm f4 plus a 2x converter.
His favourite place to go shooting as it happens is just down the road. He takes with him two camera (Canon 1Dx and 7D) bodies, 3 lenses the 2x converter, plus his tripod and a flash. On arriving at the site he sets his camera up and then sits and takes it all in, the atmosphere nature activities and listens and waits - time is not important he could sit and wait for 10-15 minutes. I think this is a very important tip. to be honest check how many times you arrive at a scene and start shooting straight away. think of the things you're missing but concentrating on your shooting too soon. Taking in the atmoshpere of the surroundings helps you to realise what going on and then you can almost re-empt what going to happen. One thing to note here Les, because of his experiences of rifle shooting has the ability to use long lenses at slower speeds that the suggested rule to ensure sharpness of image. This rule that the shutter speed should at least match the focal length even with image stabilisation - which does help - is clearly broken by Les on numerous occasions.
The images that we discussed on the screen share were and are truly amazing, as I have said before, but one major factor to remember here, when the image has to edited (which of course has to be done from time to time) Les is colour blind! Taking this into consideration you just have to marvel at his supreme work! Les is not just a Wildlife and nature photographer he also turns his had to some sport photography he just loves the V8 motor sport events.
Les first joined The Arcanum when it was first advertised. He filled in the application and waited - it was a long wait as The Arcanum team took their time to set the learning experience up. He was pleased to be invited into the Cohort with Varina Patel. Les was 'the' first apprentice to qualify through to being a master. A great achievement. This is before Trey Ratcliff and his team set up the 'Path to the Protege', which is the route now for would be masters. He is an ideal person to be added as a master as he was a teacher and also his photographic ability. The protege path is so detailed and you have to be dedicated to it to follow it through to being a master. It's Les' intention to follow the course through to keep 'levelling' up so that he can continue to be a master at higher levels. It is the intention of The Arcanum to ensure that apprentices and masters continue to level up to improve on standards and technique. Les makes a good point not the best photographers make the best mentors. It's worth noting that this idea of the masters continuing to level up!
His favourite photographer is the Australian, Ken Duncan, who started with wide format cameras, as is widely renowned as one of the best Australian photographers. But Art Wolfe and Moose Peterson also come to mind.
His inspiration is his son Matthew who at 3 1/2, Les gets so much enjoyment from, watching him in his early stages of life, as he experiences all the things that around him, and asks why Dad? It sounds to me that Matthew might be the next Imgrund photographer time will tell. He is already taking a keen interest in Les' work and making sure he gets the 'pose' right.
It was a great show I really enjoyed talking to Les on my 50th show. Softly spoken but his images speak volumes and very loudly too.
Until next time - "Leave your camera bag at home."
The all important links
Les on Google+