In this showcase series we feature the Florida Everglades photography of Jonathan Gewirtz.
Jonathan, how did you get started in photography?
I am a self-taught photographer who began photographing as a child with the encouragement of my parents. I was fascinated by the idea of using a camera to record street scenes and found beauty, but I lacked the resources to do much about it and moved on to other interests as young people do.
Much later in life I resumed photographing to record people and things I wanted to remember. I began posting my images on a blog and offering some of them on microstock sites. A few years ago I decided to get serious and since then have been very actively pursuing mostly nature and landscape photography. Doing this suits my personality and interests as I live in a beautiful part of the world and enjoy outdoor activities.
I have also recently started to do more street photography as I dreamed of in my youth. I am essentially a photographic opportunist who thinks that most places are interesting enough if you have a sense of humor or of history and any kind of eye for light and color.
Can you tell us more about this Florida Everglades series?
I made these images over a couple of years by watching the weather and driving to Everglades National Park before sunrise or sunset when conditions looked favourable. The exact locations were on popular trails (Anhinga, Shark Valley) or near the main park road. I try to guess where the best light will be and then set up nearby to capture the landscape.
Online weather forecasts make it easy to identify the mornings when fog is most likely, and the Photographer’s Ephemeris app is a great help in determining the best vantages for sunrises, sunsets and moonrises. My macro and wildlife images result mainly from my finding targets of opportunity on the way to and from my main photo location of the day. The Everglades are so visually rich that it is rarely a problem to find good photo subjects.
What equipment do you use for your photography?
Mostly a Canon 5D Mark II, wide zoom, 70-200, tripods. This equipment is more than good enough and the 5D’s custom menus save time and errors. In processing I try to keep scenes looking as I saw them, which is rarely how the camera saw them. I usually add basic colour and contrast adjustments, and sometimes blend bracketed images for a grad ND effect to make landscapes appear natural.
I use Lightroom, Photoshop for composites and panos, occasionally Photomatix. Sometimes I crop. I rarely clone objects out of images. I am looking to share aspects of reality that I find attractive as opposed to photographing set pieces or otherwise trying to create from imagination.
Do you have any new series planned for the near future?
More Everglades. You could spend a lifetime photographing there. I am going to put some Everglades work out in ebook format. I have a back-burner plan to photograph some of the older, more colourful and now rapidly changing commercial areas of South Florida, particularly the strip malls and small shops along Route 441 in Hollywood before that area is completely renovated and sterilised. I also want to put together a street photography ebook.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and Jonathan Gewirtz retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.