Daniel Kordan, Paul Nicklen, Cath Simard.
Herring in all variations.
Any if clean.
Frank Zschieschang experienced life in different parts of the world. Born and raised in a small town on the idyllic coast of the Baltic Sea in East Germany, he grew up in a socialist environment. His childhood and adolescence were very safe and protected, however, he longed for freedom as citizens were not allowed to travel to non-socialist countries.
Frank suffered with the knowledge that he would never see the vast extent of the Grand Canyon, the colourful display of the Northern Lights or the setting sun over the majestic dunes of the Sahara. But then, very unexpectedly, things changed.
The German wall came down and a completely different world presented itself. All of a sudden, the whole world was open to being explored. This was when Frank Zschieschang first came into touch with photography. He borrowed two rolls of film and the family SLR to explore the world and discovered photography as his true passion.
In years of self-study, living in Italy, the UK, Spain and Hong Kong he developed his photography skills to a professional level. It was during his time in Spain when he also started working on time-lapse projects and studied web development. The wanderlust never released its grip on Frank and it has become an essential part of his art. He now lives and works as a photographer and web designer in Hong Kong.
-How did you first become interested in photography?
After finishing my apprenticeship as a boatbuilder in Germany, I was keen to top-up my skills with the Italian way of craftsmanship so I moved to Italy. To capture all the new impressions I borrowed an old 35 mm Praktica from my parents and started to learn the essentials of photography while reading photography books at night.
A few years later, I founded my own company back in Germany to build and repair yachts. That was the time when I switched from film to digital to create product pictures more easily. It was a whole new experience and photography quickly became a more and more important part of my life.
-What is your typical technical setup?
Most of my shots are taken on a tripod. Sometimes it hurts carrying a sturdy tripod for hours while finding the right spot but it is absolutely essential while shooting landscapes.
During the day you might normally get away shooting handheld but as I often use 8 – 10 Stop ND filters with long exposures the tripod is indispensable.
-What words best describe your style of photography?
I think my style is in constant flux. At the moment it is more minimalistic. I try to declutter my compositions to give the main subject more space to breathe. At the same time it gives the viewer more room to experience the scene.
-Is there a theme or concept that runs throughout all of your work?
For my landscape shots, it is oneness and tranquility, the perfection in nature.
-What is your post-production workflow like?
First, I download all files to a separate hard drive and immediately back them up to another drive. After the first browse over, I categorise all by rating and tagging them in Bridge.
Before opening any files in Photoshop, I usually check whether the monitor needs to be re-calibrated to avoid some disappointments down the line. If it is a single image, I open it straight in Photoshop, duplicate the background layer and convert it in to a smart object. If the image was taken with a wide angle lens I straighten the horizon and leading lines by applying the Adaptive Wide Angle filter. After these perspective corrections I apply the Camera Raw filter and in most cases the outcome is what I am looking for.
If I create a panorama, it is slightly different. First I open all images in Camera Raw to adjust the Lens Correction and Vignetting of all images at once. After opening all files in Photoshop I use Photomerge to stitch all images together to create a seamless panorama. From this point the workflow is the same as for a single image starting with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter.
-What is your dream project?
There are so many dream projects, e.g. Antarctica, Kamchatka, Namibia…
-In your opinion, what makes a truly great landscape?
A complementary balance between the foreground, the subject and the background. Captures taken at a time or from an angle which the viewer would not normally experience.
-What is your creative process like? What are you start, middle and end points?
In most cases it starts with an idea. Then I search for a location, visit the location as often as possible, then plan the shot and wait for the right weather conditions. I often use an app called PhotoPills to know exactly the position of the sun or the moon at a given time. I aim to arrive at the location half an hour before the actual shooting time to set everything up and take some test shoots. Here in Hong Kong I had to experience that half an hour is often not enough though. At some rare spots along the skyline for special events like the sea fog there is a big crowd and a lot of competition to get the best spot. Sometimes you have to be there 4-5 hours before.
-What is your top technical tip?
Know your kit inside out.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given?
Have great goals and even if they seem unachievable, see them through one step at a time. Believe in your art – you do not need other people’s approval.