Published in issue no. 08/2013 of Photography Masterclass Magazine
We speak to renowned dutch photographer, Bas Meelker, whose clients include Brands like National Geographic, Canon as well as several conservation and advertising agencies.
[blockquote align=”center”]Having the right references is crucial, so study the work of the great masters. Surely they had to be doing something right?[/blockquote]
I’m a Dutch full time landscape and nature photographer. Born in Groningen, The Netherlands in 1972, I spent most of my life in the north of Holland. Living in this flat, open country, surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature reserves in the Netherlands, laid the foundation for my unbridled passion for nature and landscapes. I’m also a writer, workshop leader and speaker and my images and articles are regularly featured in national and international media.
Landscape and nature photography, mainly from the Netherlands. I think my style can best be described as bold, wide, and full of colour and balance. I’m greatly influenced by the famous Dutch light.
To keep doing what I love most, being out there exposing and enjoying nature and the outdoors. I’m also working on the release of a new book, and I would love to travel a bit more!
In 2002 I owned a small web design company next to my regular job as an internet marketer. A client asked me to make some simple images for his new website and that’s when it all started. I was an absolute newbie and had no prior photography skills whatsoever, but I said yes. How naive can a man get, right? But I was hooked and combined with my passion for nature and the outdoors, there was no turning back. In 2004 I decided to pursue a career in landscape and nature photography.
It comes from everywhere. Sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode. I went to Scotland last year and came to the conclusion I needed three lives to photograph every single good location I came across. I have a lifetime passion for wide open spaces, nature and natural light. But my inspiration also comes from ideas I get from seeing work from other photographers, workshop students, internet, television, music, books, or a simple walk in the park. Oh, and taking a long shower is always a good way to develop new ideas!
Turning full time pro in 2008 was a milestone. I’ve also won several awards ,but having Canon use several of my images to promote their photographic equipment was also a big moment for me. It gave me the confidence that I was able to perform at a certain level as a photographer. My first assignment for National Geographic was also a pretty special one!
I don’t really have a favourite, but there are some images I’ve grown pretty fond of. ‘Into the Forest and ‘Calm Morning’ were one of the first successful landscape images I made. They turned out to be stepping stones in launching my career as a landscape photographer. But as every photographer would say, ‘the best has yet to come!’
I use Canon Equipment. My main body at the moment is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I use several lenses such as the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II, the 24-70mm f/2.8 L II and my old and trusted 70-200mm f/2.8 L. But I also use tilt and shift lenses and I still use my 500mm f4 L IS for some landscape work. I use all kinds of accessories like Lee ND graduated filters, Lee polarizers and ND filters, remotes, panoramic heads and leveling bases and Gitzo tripods.
That’s a tough one. I have often thought about a digital medium format system but I am in love with the 35mm format, its portability and reliability. I would love to see a filter-holding 14- 24mm lens from Canon though. Or a 40-50 mp 5D without an anti alias filter.
I know it’s a cliché but it’s my car. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to get to my locations and do my job. It’s vital for my everyday work. Other than that, it has to be my filter set. It’s a tight first with my weather apps on my iPhone though. Having a constantly updated, pretty reliable and mobile weather forecast is a big help in everyday planning.
Be stubborn and persistent. Believe in your own creativity and make sure you’re out there exposing every single possible minute. Also make sure you know what makes a good image great. Know what a truly great landscape image is, understand what makes it great and master it. Having the right references is crucial, so study the work of the great masters. Surely they had to be doing something right. Find out what it is and use it to develop your own style. One last advice: always make sure your passion for your subject is bigger than your passion for photography.