24 February 2021
Mysterious, bleak and murky green landscapes sum up our next featured photographer, Thimo Ruppel, who takes us through how he creates his eerie moods.
I'm a 32 year old graphic designer from the northern part of Germany and I have a wonderful wife and 2 beautiful kids. My job as a designer involves working with a lot of photography, but in a more corporate way. Shooting for myself is a whole different approach. There are no strings attached. I shoot everything I want. And nothing does it more than an hour of loneliness in nature.
Before I even bought my first camera, I read a lot of books about how cameras work and tried to learn as much as possible from photographers around the world.
I bought my first camera in 2009 and was shooting here and there just for fun. In 2018, I invested in more expensive gear. That was the moment where I asked myself if this is even a thing for me. So I challenged myself to shoot everyday and have the camera on me every single second for a whole year. And now I'm more addicted than ever.
Music plays a big part. I listen a lot to classical and cinema scores. Dmitry Evgrafov is one of my favorites to set the right mood. In addition, cinema itself is also a huge inspiration. I love the work of the almighty Roger Deakins and the visionary craft of Andrei Tarkovsky. Or just simply how the light falls through the window. But mostly it's the pure moment when I'm outside for a shoot.
Nature and the silence of the world, is my subject of choice. In northern Germany, farming is a big thing and there are a lot of smaller forests. So I take what we have here and show it in a way that people may not see it. I like to create atmosphere through the light and let things fall into the shadow. For me, sometimes the thing that you don't see, is the thing that creates the interest of the frame. I'm looking for high contrast through fog and subtle textures in the dark parts. Ultimately, I want to make the viewer feel what I feel while creating it. I would like to work more with people and put them in the scene, but I'm too much of an introvert to ask anybody except my wife.
The only thing I do, is to check the weather before I head out. The badder, the better. The rest is more of a documentation of the moment while I wander through the landscape.
For the edit I use Photoshop Camera Raw because I miss the calibration tool In Lightroom CC and hate the UI in Lightroom Classic.
A lot of my look is dependent on the time of the day and weather conditions. Early in the morning, right before the sun goes up, and a ton of fog. I wander around nature for one or two hours and try to capture the mood of that day. Almost like a documentation. I shoot straight from the hip without any additional filters or tripods. But I would like to try a diffusion filter to add a bit of extra mood. I like to underexpose a bit so I have a lot of details in the highlights.
In the edit I try to recreate the feeling I had in that moment. Music takes me back to that moment. I use a preset I created as a base and then I push the whole image towards green to provoke a kind of eerie mood to it. It's a mix of white balance, color wheels and calibration. To get the textures back in I pull the highlights down and lift the shadows. I switch a lot back and forth to see how far I'm from the original shot. I want an artistic style while maintaining a believable moment.
As every artist said it before me. Gear doesn't matter. Knowledge does. Learning the functionality of a camera is easy and fast. It takes time to learn the hard stuff. Like rules of composition, storytelling or color theory. I'm still learning and probably never going to stop.
Secondly, it's OK to feel uncomfortable. I have huge doubts about myself and my work. Always thinking that what I'm doing is lacking something. But it is normal to feel that way. Everybody goes through that. Just keep going and pushing yourself forward.
Not at all. I'm always alone and I don't make any money with it. So I just keep going on.
There are some awesome artists that deeply inspire me on Instagram. The numbers and the likes don't really bother me. I mean, it is great to see that people like my work and resonate with it. But I wouldn't change my style or shoot a certain type of photo just to get more likes. Likes make you happy for a moment, whereas good memories last a lifetime.
Thank you for this Interview. I really appreciate the time you took for me and my work.
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