UP MAGAZINE Vol 7.07 Photography Issue - Page 18

PHOTOGRAPHY profile JAHAWI BERTOLLI what does the photography mean to you? I always say that I kind of fell into photography, as I didn’t make a conscious choice to take photos. I actually moved to Thailand and started filming underwater as I wanted a change from writing music for documentaries — I wanted to be out in the field filming not in my studio in Nairobi. From there I also started taking pictures underwater and when I moved back to Kenya my focus moved onto the land. Photography allows me to spend time in the places I love, be it out in the Mara where I am now or underwater diving in the Galapagos Islands! What or who are your favourite photographic subjects? It has to be sharks — the bigger the better! — they’re such a misunderstood animal and heavily overfished, yet they are so vital in maintaining healthy oceans. In reality they’re so far away from the blood thirsty killers they’re made out to be and can be incredibly shy and hard to photograph. Who are your role models and why? I get asked this a lot and it’s a tricky one as I tend to get my inspiration from many different sources, experiences, and not necessarily a person. Of course there are people who have been integral to who I am now, most importantly my parents who have supported me through all my crazy and at times risky ideas, but I also like to walk my own path, make my own mistakes and learn from them. I think that really helps in allowing you to find your own photographic style without the influence of other photographers. Could you define what it is that motivates you to press the shutter at a certain moment in time? I get my motivation from capturing a specific moment in time and trying to have a frame that evokes emotion in the person who’s looking at it. A big motivator of mine is also trying to bring people, who may not otherwise be able to go into really wild places or underwater, a glimpse of another world that may spark an interest. Please tell us a little about what kind of equipment you use and why? On land my go to gear is pro Canon cameras, ergonomically they just work and have very reliable autofocus and tracking which is vital for wildlife. Their build quality is also second to none something I require as I do a lot of travelling and they take quite a beating, especially out in the bush! Underwater I shoot panasonic lumix cameras as they also record brilliant 4k broadcast standard footage and, as I do a lot of underwater filming, being able to shoot stills and video in a www.upnairobi.com 18 August 2016 small package is really useful. Is there a particular kind of lens you like to use and why? What makes it special? In the bush it has to be my Canon 400mm f2.8 II Lens. For wildlife you really need the reach as sometimes you cannot get close to your subject and, as most action happens either early morning or late afternoon, having that large aperture lets you shoot when the light gets low. Plus subject isolation with this lens is great. Underwater it’s my 7-14mm wide angle lens which is great for sharks, dolphins and big marine animals. Do you set a series of rules that you must follow as sort of regulation for yourself? When I do photography workshops I often do teach some of the basic rules of composition, lighting, etc. but I also believe that nothing is set in stone and it’s good to not limit yourself to rules as that can inhibit creativity! Why did you choose to be a photographer and How do you compare digital photography to film photography? With film you had a limited amount of frames you could take and therefore you really had to think things through to get the best shot and not waste film. Digital photography takes away that limitation but also opens up the possibility of overshooting, so being disciplined about when you click is important. With wildlife things can happen very quickly so having a high burst rate and big buffer to handle all the images really helps in getting the right shot. What is your all time favourite photograph? I don’t really have one all time favourite as each photo that I really like has a unique aspect to it, and the circumstances around how I got the picture are part of what makes it special to me. Two I can think of, if I had to choose, would be one I took in Thailand of a whale shark and also a picture I took in Rwanda of a mountain gorilla staring at me with such expressive eyes. Is luck essential for you in the making of good photographs? There is definitely an element of luck to getting a shot but being able to get to that point where you can be lucky requires a lot of hard work before hand, especially with wildlife. Understanding