I am an assistant professor in ecology and an enthusiastic photographer who lives in Utrecht, The Netherlands, together with my wife and two children. As a teenager, I was already photographing the countryside around my parental home with an analogue Minolta SLR I got for my birthday. During my studies in environmental sciences, I gradually gave up on photography because of a lack of money and time.
Later, when I was working as a researcher, it was my colleague and freelance nature photographer Krijn Trimbos who encouraged me to pick up my old hobby again and buy my first serious digital camera. I choose for a Panasonic DMC-FZ18 superzoom bridge camera for its versatility and low weight. Using a range of screw-on lenses, I had the equivalent of everything from a macro lens to a 850mm telelens.
Krijn also encouraged me to start posting images on the nature photography forum Birdphotographers.net. It was because of participating in this forum and receiving excellent critiques on my images that I had a very steep learning curve in digital photography. Soon I ran into the limitations of the bridge camera, which made me switch to my current Nikon D7000 DSLR in 2011.
Being professionally involved in nature conservation, I have personally experienced that showing people the beauty and intricacies of nature in their surroundings really helps to get them interested in the natural world and get them involved in its conservation. This is a strong motivation for me as a photographer, since a good photograph says more than a thousand words.
As an ecologist, I’ve been trained in observation and I have access to a lot of background knowledge about the natural world, such as where to find my subjects and knowing their behaviour. Sometimes, I also have the privilege to go places which are not accessible to the general public. All these things help me to see things that normally remain hidden for others. Photography is my way of sharing this world with you.
PUBLICATIONS AND AWARDS
My photos have been published in Landschap, a Dutch journal for landscape research, and various professional publications regarding nature conservation. One of my photos was nominated in the photo contest of the Dutch TV show “Voyage of the Beagle”.
- Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX
- Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF
- Nikkor 200mm f/4D ED-IF AF Micro
Me photographing in the dunes (photo E. Dijksma)