Photographer Spotlight: Interview with Christopher Schlaf

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  By Julian Rad
Photographer Spotlight: Interview with Christopher Schlaf

It’s time for another Photographer Spotlight Episode, this time I had the great honor to talk to Christopher Schlaf, who is a fantastic wildlife photographer from the USA. Read the Interview to learn more about Christopher, his camera equipment, techniques and wildlife photography in general.

1) Tell us about yourself, where are you from? How, when and why did you get into photography?

I am 54 years old and a father of 3 young girls, I live in Michigan and began my adventure into photography in 2001.

2) How much time do you spend on photography on average?

My time varies depending on the time of year, for me, the spring is when I spend the most time, this is also dependent on the weather, I’m always looking for days that there is little or no wind. But if you were to average everything out I’m around 15 hours a week.

3) Which gear do you mainly use / What is typically in your camera bag? 

This year I am using a Canon 1Dx and a Canon 600mm II for my birding and a Canon 5Dsr for everything else. My lenses include Canon 70-200 2.8 Sigma 85 1.4 Sigma 135 1.8 and Sigma 24-35 2.0 and a Sigma 150 Macro.

4) How important is post-processing for you? Can you tell us what kind of postprocessing you typically do?

I try to get it right in the camera, post-processing is pretty simple I sharpen and the use Nik brilliance and warmth then crop and put a slight vignette around the edges.

5) What’s the favorite photo you took and why?

One of my favorite images I try and get is waterfowl taking off in the water, I like to include the splash on one end and the birds head at the other. A lot of the time composition is a feeling for me.

6) What’s the most challenging part of being a wildlife photographer?

The most challenging is waiting, sometimes I can go out and sit and wait for hours, you just never know.

7) Do you have general advice and tips for other wildlife photographers?

For me, its perspective, light and I prefer a clean background.

8) What was your biggest accomplishment? (Awards, Publications, Exhibitions, Cooperations, etc.)

In 2013 I won Trierenberg Super Circuit ( I was runner-up in the B&H Wilderness contest 3 years ago ( Also runner-up in the 2017 Audubon Photo Contest ( I have also been a few magazines.

9) Is there a wild animal you would love to photograph?

Interesting question, I have never thought of an animal I would like to photograph.

10) What are your future photography goals?

The only goal I really have is to have a little income from this to help me afford this LOL.

11) Who or what inspires you to do what you do and why?

I don’t think I have any person that inspires me, but I will come across an image that will give me inspiration or an idea.

12) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Light, so many times I would read about good light and I would think that’s silly well I was wrong.

13) Where can we find your images?





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Julian Rad is a self-taught award-winning wildlife photographer, who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1991. When he bought his first camera at the age of 20, he found an expression for the fascination he had about nature & wildlife. He already had many publications in national and internation magazines and newspapers (New York Post, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Times, GEO, Digital Photographer Magazine...). He has won several photo competitions such as the comedy wildlife photography awards in 2015.

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