Neil de Boer of St. Jacobs is rarely found without his camera, and is always on the lookout for an unusual object or a unique perspective to photograph. “I often go out looking for patterns, interesting lines or things that catch my eye,” he says. “I use software to track the sun, to tell me when the sunset will line up with an interesting location and I make sure I’m there, camera in hand.”
Landscapes, architecture and artifacts are the things that capture his attention. “A landscape with an interesting foreground, buildings with bold lines or in disrepair or an object that tells a story of a forgotten time, combined with a rust or peeling paint, will get my attention every time,” says Neil.
Neil is a passionate photographer who uses technology to his creative advantage. He is quick to point out he uses a mid-range DSLR and that a fancy camera is not required to make beautiful art. Capturing an object in the right light is critical but he uses software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to help him create what he saw in his mind’s eye when he took the photo.
These tools help him change the tone of a photo, add textures and apply filters to intensify the image. “The combination of these software tools really feed the creative process for me,” he says. “But I always prefer to be there when the colours in a sunset peak, or when the sun has just set and a long exposure brings out a deep blue in the sky. It’s the balance between technology and nature that keeps me in awe of this beautiful world we live in.”
Neil can spend up to several hours playing with an image, depending how far he wants to push his creativity. But he usually loses track of the time, eager to try new techniques, just enjoying the process.
Most artists do what they do as a form of self expression. The same goes for Neil but he also hopes that his photographs will trigger a memory, shed light on a detail that strikes the viewer or create a sense of awe from the vibrant colours that surround us.
P.S. Neil’s favourite topic of conversation: photography (surprise!)