Editorial

Interview with Kari Post, a NatureScapes Landscapes Forum Moderator and Editor

by Kari Post | April 3, 2012

© Kari PostKari Post may be NatureScape.Net’s youngest forum moderator but she’s certainly no newbie to the nature photography scene. A lifelong lover of both nature and photography, she stumbled across NatureScapes more than six years ago, and has since become a well respected member of the staff, contributing behind the scenes as an editor in addition to moderating the Landscapes Forum since 2009. For this feature, we caught up with Kari to learn a bit more about how she got into nature photography and what she hopes to accomplish with it in her promising years ahead.

What’s your favorite walk around lens?

When I’m out exploring and shooting nothing in particular, I usually have the 17-40mm f/4 attached to my 5D Mark II. It’s a bit wide for a walk around lens, but the wide angle allows me to get sharp shots while on the move and shooting in variable lighting conditions. The wide-angle is also great for tight group situations and unique perspectives when hiking with a group. The 17-40 is really more of a specialty lens, but since I don’t have a mid-range zoom, I end up using the wide-angle as my walk around. I’m hoping to get a mid-range zoom in the future (I’m thinking the 24-105) to open up more possibilities for portraits, macro, and close-ups while on the go.

When did you first become interested in photography?

I’ve liked taking pictures for as long as I can remember. When I was a little kid, my mom had a cheap 35mm fixed-focal length Kodak point-and-shoot that she used to take photos of me, and I would borrow it to photograph the animals at the zoo or ducks at the duck pond. I always had her camera for class trips or weekend vacations. In high school, I signed up for a couple photography classes, and my mom bought me an SLR as a birthday/Christmas gift when I turned 16. I began shooting high school sports and other things for the school paper, and thats when I really started to get into photography. I got my first DSLR, a Nikon D70, my first year in college, and that allowed me to spend even more time shooting and learning. The switch to digital allowed me to experiment a lot more with my photography, and it wasn’t until I began shooting digital that I started to shoot more nature subjects because I could afford to mess up and waste frames on faraway birds and the like. On my 20th birthday I stumbled across NatureScapes, and began to talk to people who really knew how to photograph wildlife – how to get close to wild subjects, where to find them, and what equipment to use. NatureScapes was kind of the push that got me focus my work more on my true passion, nature and wildlife photography.

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?

I want my photographs to inspire people. I really care about my subjects; I’m passionate about the environment and I want my images to be used to aid conservation efforts and to help in teaching people about nature and the world we live in. I want someone to look at my photographs and think “wow that’s incredible” and feel connected to the subject, to value it and want to protect it. It’s important to me that my photographs have a purpose; I don’t want them to just be pretty pictures on the wall.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would it be?

Gosh, how do you answer a question like that? There are so many places I’d love to go and explore, and so many beautiful and interesting subjects to photograph. If I had to pick just one place, I think Norway might be at the top of my list. I really would like to photograph musk ox and I love the rawness of the Norway landscape. In general, I love landscapes with mountains and lakes, waterfalls and lush green vegetation, and the four seasons, plus I’m a sucker for charismatic megafauna and big mammals. Norway just seems incredible overall, and I don’t think its as exploited as some of the other places, so I’d love to go there.

Can you describe that “moment” when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?

I think the “moment” for me is actually a lot of little moments. Because I became interested in photography during my formative years, I can look back and easily see how photography has shaped my life. Through photography, I’ve traveled to and discovered new places, had many wonderful experiences and encounters with nature, and met so many incredible and inspiring people. My favorite moments are those where I’ve just been amazed by the beauty and wonder of the life around me, and those experiences have little to do with the camera in my hands or the act of taking a picture. Yet many of those moments happened to me because photography brought me to them, and that is why I don’t think I could be without photography. All of the frustrations of sitting in front of a computer, editing and processing images for days on end, or the times when I go through a long shooting slump really seem insignificant when I am immersed completely in those moments. So there is no one single moment for me, but a collection of them, that makes photography a part of who I am.

Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?

I’m largely self taught, but I’ve spent so much time reading forums and chatting about photography and shooting with others that my knowledge and skills are really a conglomeration of advice from a lot of different people. I learned the most basic principals of photography – about apertures, shutter speeds, ISOs, and exposure – from teachers in my high school, but after that I pretty much shot and experimented, trying things suggested by people online who critiqued my work and also emulating what I liked that others did. I’m still learning all the time; there is so much that still I don’t know or don’t understand well enough. That is part of the beauty of photographing nature; no matter how good you are or how long you’ve been at it, there is always more to learn, more to discover, and ways to improve.

About the Author

Kari is a self-described adventurer, photographer, outdoor enthusiast, conservationist, and nature lover. She loves being outside in nature, exploring the world around her, and doing just about anything that keeps her on the move. Kari picked up photography as a young girl and developed a serious passion for the still picture in high school. In college, she combined her photography hobby and love of nature and began photographing wildlife and outdoor subjects, which now make up the bulk of her work. Kari views photography as a way to share the beauty she sees in the natural world with others. She hopes her images can be used help educate and inspire others to appreciate, preserve, and protect wild places and creatures, and aspires to one day work as a photojournalist for National Geographic documenting conservation issues. Visit Kari's website at: www.karipost.com and her blog at: www.karipost.com/blog.

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