We’re always keen to catch up with professional photographers, even more so if they’ve been with us from the start, and Paul Steele certainly has been. Paul has been using CoinaPhoto since its inception, so we wanted to sit him down and find out a little more about him, and hopefully tease out a few photography dos and don’ts…
1. Great to finally meet you Paul, we’re loving the photos you share on CoinaPhoto. Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do?
A pleasure to meet you and also to use your platform. It is quite hard to define what I do. In a nutshell I travel and share the world I see through my social networks and blog. I also write for other outlets and present online videos. I think pictures are the greatest tool to telling stories.
2. How did you get in to photography, and what made you want to share your pictures with the world?
It all started not long after Twitter launched. It was about the same time that the first ever smartphones came out and suddenly there was this ability to share pictures live in real time. At first it was me showing photos of what I could see on the go as I climbed mountains high and trekked along valleys low, but since then my cameras have been getting bigger and bolder, I learn every day and my subjects are getting broader all the time.
3. You spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, would you say nature is your biggest inspiration from a Photography stand point? Why?
Hiking, climbing and trekking and generally getting out into nature is the thing I love doing. It brings me in touch with such variety every step of the way and there’s inspiration out there for everyone.
4. You travel A LOT, and I know you’ve been keeping an eye on our ‘Journey’ competition; do you have any particularly memorable journeys?
Oh my, I have never found it easy to pick a favourite journey. Many trips I’ve made have been memorable and great for different reasons in my mind. Trekking across the highlands of Iceland or the Milford Track in New Zealand I will never forget. Sunsets on beaches in Malta or meeting great people and learning the culture throughout Azerbaijan… I could go on but it’s too hard to choose. Yes I will share lots of pics.
5. With the advent of social media and mobile technology people are sharing more photographs than ever before. Why do you think this is?
As soon as smartphone cameras became mainstream and social media networks realised the potential power of pictures it was bound to take off. Pictures tell so much of a story. My blog is words led by pictures, my words are there to enhance what I see.
6. What’s your favourite feature about CoinaPhoto?
I love the control of Coinaphoto. I also like how all standards of photography can get involved and feel their worth. The thought that has gone into keeping the photo’s ownership with the photographer is a credit to the founders and something lacking in other networks.
7. If you were going to give 3 top tips to an aspiring landscape/nature photographer, what would they be?
I like to keep my tips simple yet effective. I’m self-taught and never say I am an expert as I learn something new every day. Initially I would say:
- Framing - Don’t just literally point and shoot. Imagine your viewfinder as a picture frame and look for the fine details within the picture.
- Sun - Midday landscapes can cause big shadows and washouts. When the sun is low at dawn or dusk the light and effect is at its prime. That’s meant a lot of very early morning climbs for me
- Take lots of pictures! I take hundreds and hundreds sometimes and use just a handful. Don’t trust the LCD screen on the back of the camera, they are designed to make a photo look great on a small screen. You will find hidden gems and your best angles by taking many pictures and reviewing them later.
8. And now your top 3 definitely don’ts?
- Don’t be put off by pros. Photography is like art and a personal taste. I myself could prefer a great smartphone picture to one that has a day’s Photoshop editing on it.
- Don’t wait for totally blue sky sunny day. Clouds of all levels can add so much depth and mood to a picture.
- Don’t take all your pictures from eye level. Get on your knees, stomach or way up above. The change in point of view and angles can make an impressive photo.
That’s all from Paul for now, but keep an eye out for some of Paul Steele’s snaps on CoinaPhoto – they’re truly stunning. We’ll be catching up with him again in a few weeks, and meeting a couple of other photographers to provide you with more ‘behind-the-lens’ insights.