Brian Kerr is an outstanding Scottish landscape photographer I’ve connected with on Flickr whose work I have come to greatly admire over the last while. Thank you, Brian, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to share a little about your passion and processes!
1. Are you a full time/professional photographer, or do you have a regular day job?
I am what you would call an amateur photographer with a passion, who would love to be a full time landscape photographer. I have a full time job within the construction industry, so my time is limited to when i can get out taking photographs. The summer months give more opportunities for shots with the longer hours, but I try and fit in as much as I can.
2. Judging from your Flickr stream, is it safe to classify you as a scenic photographer? What has drawn you to focus in this genre versus some others?
I am a landscape photographer, it is what attracts me to photography, the way the landscape changes from minute to minute, day to day, you always find something different to photograph. I am Scottish and I am especially attracted to the west coast of Scotland, which must surely be one of the most photogenic parts of the world.
3. Do you ever branch out into other types of photography just for fun?
I tend not to try other types of photography purely because my time is limited and would rather enjoy my landscapes.
4. How did you get your start in photography? What led you to it?
I only started in photography 5 years ago after I met my partner Suzanne Forster who introduced me to the world of prehistoric rock art carvings, which man made carved rocks dating back to 3-5,000 years old. I found I had a passion for looking and finding these ancient carvings, which led to photographing them, and showing them to the world in my own way. This led to doing work for English Heritage and having books using my images for front covers and contents, allowing me to make my name within the archaeological world. The carvings are situated within the landscapes of britain, this then led to my interest in landscapes in a whole and so my further interest with landscape photography.
5. Who are some of your greatest artistic influences?
In the landscape world i enjoy many photographers, but Joe Cornish is the one who i feel a connection with.
6. Are you one of these people who turns on an iPod and shoves buds in his ears, or do you prefer to listen to your surroundings and possibly draw inspiration from that? Where do you derive your inspiration from when out shooting?
I prefer to shoot on my own, within the landscape, sitting and relaxing, absorbing the surroundings, listening to nature. The streams and burns, the wind blowing through the trees, the birds singing, various such things. I try and make a shot that gives my images a big impact, the wow factor i suppose, i try and allow people to enjoy my images almost as if they are standing where i was and they can almost feel and sense the landscape within the image.
7. Before you press the shutter, what is your creative process in setting up, visualizing the shot, etc.? What specific techniques do you use to capture the images in the way that you do?
I try and get the compostion as good as I can, this is the most important thing, I need to find a composition where the lighting conditions meet and suit my needs.
8. I’ve noticed that most (if not all) of your images involve a delayed shutter, often in bright daylight. Any advice you can pass along?
I was never very technically minded not being a trained photographer, so it was a matter of learning as I go, trial and error. I discovered the use of filters, be it neutral density or graduated filters, which give the effects of controlling the exposure, balancing out the foreground to sky details, or controlling the shutter speed to allow the capture of motion within my shots. I also find the the use of filters gives more control of details, colours, contrast etc…producing a more realistic result.
9. What is your standard equipment? Is there a particular piece (a lens, filter) that is a particular favorite of yours?
I use a Sony A700 camera, I have 2 lenses I use — a Sigma 10-20mm, and a Tamron 17-50mm, those two lenses meet at present all my needs. I also use filters from Lee, B+W, Hitech, Heliopan and Kood.
10. Actually capturing the image is only part (granted, a large one) of the equation. Could you give us an overview of your post-processing workflow? Do you use Lightroom or Aperture…or do you prefer another type of software? Any tips or advice in regards to workflow that you would like to pass along?
I always shoot in RAW, which I call the modern day negative image. I like to edit my RAW file in Lightroom, and the image is then edited in [Photoshop] Elements. I try to get the image as correct as possible in camera, and finish it off with processing.
11. What advice, hints, or guidance might you offer to other aspiring outdoor photographers?
Get out there, visit places — places you know and don’t know. Get used to different conditions, whether it be sunrise, sunset or light or dark, have fun and keep trying different things. You will gradually get to know more about what works and what doesn’t. Flickr or other such websites are good places for getting constructive comments and hopefully will help you to improve.
12. If you could pick one image from your Flickr stream, which one would be your favorite?
I have lots of images I like, but the ones I have taken over the past couple of months at Buachaillie Etive Mor in Glencoe with different weather conditions, are my fave.
13. Do you sell any of your photography? If so, where could people go to purchase it?
I do sell my images, I have had a few exhibitions etc… I have my website which I am still working on, www.briankerrphotography.com and I am allowing people to buy my images through my website on a link to Redbubble. Soon all the images on my website will have the purchase link on them, allowing people to buy prints, calendars etc. If there are any images people would like to buy but can’t find the right place to go, they can email me with their requests at email@example.com.