After every Strummin’ concert memoirs such as photographs are a must to be able to go back to them and re-live the magic of that year. Today we meet Siemenjov Galdes, a budding photographer who was one of the photographers for Strummin’ Chroma X. Let’s get to know him a bit better…
How did you get started in the field of photography?
Ever since I was a kid, my uncle had an old film camera which I used to play around with. He was not too keen on it so he would let me take a few shots here and there. As I grew up, like many people, I bought myself a compact camera and I would carry it around everywhere. I would take pictures of any event, friends, family and all the occasions I would be invited to. Of course it was a pocket, point and shoot camera. Though what made me really pursue photography is a software program made for Windows called Webshots. It is a program specially designed to download wallpapers. It inclined me heavily towards learning the skill, and it triggered the desire to learn the trade and document it through travelling the world.
What is your favourite subject?
If I had to choose I would say sports (action) and scenic photography, though it is such a beautiful art that once you have your equipment on, you just want to amuse yourself by taking the right click and document something extraordinary. Put simple, I have no favourite subject; it takes a skill to be able to take photos of different subjects and being able to compose well in different lights. I still have a lifelong learning process ahead of me!
What is the achievement you are proudest of to date?
Last summer I was asked to take photos of a 1 year old kid named Jake, a feisty kid who couldn’t stay quiet for more than a second. The shoot was planned at Ta Qali’s family park and it was in the midst of July. Little did I know it would be that hard to get a few good shots of this adorable kid. As sweet and cute as he was, he couldn’t bare the heat and was crying all along the way. At one point, 2 hours in the shoot his mother undressed him, and put little angle wings tied by a string to his back. She let the kid crawl on his hands and while she was a few meters away called the kid to crawl towards her. That’s were out of nothing the heavens opened and this little angle struck a smile I will never forget. I documented it perfectly and little Jake will have a 1 year old picture that will last him forever.
What equipment do you use?
I currently use a Canon 550D with a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L Lens, a Canon Ultrasonic 50mm f1.4 and a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L Lens
What is the piece of equipment you cannot do without when taking photos?
Hard question to answer as I rotate around my equipment depending on the need. Though as funny as this might sound my LowerPro bag. It’s a GO bag in the sense that all my equipment is stored within. Whatever the occasion, day or night, come rain or shine it’s always ready for action.
What in your opinion are the elements that make a good photo?
A good combination of light composition, together with patience for the right moment, all scrambled with a good dose of skill that comes through experience
From shooting a photo to publishing it… What does the process entail?
During a shoot, whatever the subject, a photographer takes a large number of photos. Some are rubbish, others are decent while another set is of quality. Yet from the better part come a few clicks that you know right there and then that are as good as they can be. Then comes the post processing part were through computer software we enhance the photos and touch up where needed, such as revitalizing colours to the give the image more tonality. The final touches would be saving the photo with publishing requirements such as sizes, whether this is up for a competition or perhaps print or web. The most important thing is knowing what you want the viewer to understand when they are viewing your photo.
Last year was your first experience of taking photos at Strummin’, tell us about the experience?
Still new to the scene of photography, I had never been invited to document such an event and I had a blast. The fact that I could roam around and take pictures wherever I wanted gave me the possibility to get a few angles which made good pictures. On the day I used the Canon Ultrasonic 50mm f1.4 lens and having such a lens allowed me to capture the theatre lights without the need of any flash and by using a slow shutter speed. I was able to take over 300 hundred photos and the fusion of colours on stage, mingled with great music and exquisite lighting made this none other but a truly memorable experience.
What did you think of the concert?
The concert produced a very good quality of music together with a possibility for young artists to prove their talent. A fantastic event, good music and great talent put up for a noble cause. I wish it got further exposure and would escalate to a larger scene.
What is your favourite shot from the concert?
A guitarist playing the strings with a depth of field showing a fusion of colors.
What do you look for when taking photos of such concerts?
Being able to document the artists while they perform and are concentrated on their act. If the stage has colourful lights and a smoke machine fogs the stage, a photographer can play with the colours being able to compose a great quality of shots. Photos are all about light, and such a moment is as good as it gets.
What do you look forward to when shooting Strummin’?
The ability to do my job with professionals and be part of an event that is setup to help.
What are your plans and dreams for your photography work?
My dream is to travel the world and document different cultures throughout the globe. Perhaps be able to work for the press and go places I have only dreamed of. I want to be able to be part of events that shape our world and be there to document them. If only I could choose where I could have been with my Canon in the last 30 years, I would have been opposite the Berlin wall when it was stripped down, or at the last concert of colossal Pink Floyd. Perhaps walk the lengths of the Great Wall of China, or take photos of the famous Mexican cliff divers on their traditional life threatening dives. Experience one of the last Corridas in Spain or a nation that revolts against its government such as Egypt or Libya last year. Documenting these events is for me what dreams are made of… and if throughout my lifetime I take a million photos, only a few will make the difference.
Where can we see more of your work or contact you?
Siemenjov’s last comment was… “Photography is a hobby, but it is also a way to treasure a memory forever!” And his images from Strummin’ Chroma X are one wonderful treasure of that memory… Click here to check them out! We look forward to see his work in this year’s edition of Strummin’!