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Explorer

Ulla Lohmann

mar25

Helping Vanuatu and top tips for photographing cultures

By Ulla Lohmann, mercoledì marzo 25, 2015
Children playing on Vanuatu. Ulla Lohmann explains: “I followed the movement to get a nice background blur”. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/50sec at f/11, ISO 100.

Children playing on Vanuatu. Ulla Lohmann explains: “I followed the movement to get a nice background blur”. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/50sec at f/11, ISO 100. © Ulla Lohmann

Since my first visit to Vanuatu, in 1997, I have been in love with this beautiful country in the South Pacific and I return at least once every year. The people are like family to me. From them, I have learnt how little it takes to be happy; not how much.

Now, my friends have lost the little bit they owned in one of the worst cyclones ever. I have to ask myself what I contribute in our industrialised world to make our climate change like this and what I can do as a photographer to help them.

So far, by sharing pictures and their stories, we have collected a significant amount of money, which I will personally bring to Vanuatu soon. If you want to know more please go to: www.pacific-people.com

Today, I want to share some images from my last trip to Vanuatu with you and give you a few tips on how to get close to people in another culture:

1) Be ‘light’! Don't carry too much equipment. I often walk through villages with just my EOS 5D Mark III and the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. I love the flexibility of the zoom lens; its brilliant sharpness; the nice background blur and the fast focusing.

2) Don't just ‘point and shoot’. Take some time to get to know the people and work with them.

3) Give them something back... at least share your meal or a muesli bar with them, but try not to pay for photographs.

4) I often employ people, for example as a guide, cook, animal tracker or to help me carry things. Then, I can photograph them. :)

5) Learn the language... at least knowing some words will open doors. Often, children are great teachers.

6) When you first arrive somewhere, get people involved in your photographs. Show them your results, make them hold lights or reflectors, or let them take the pictures themselves. This makes for great picture opportunities and, after a while, when their curiosity is settled, you will be able to take pictures unnoticed.

7) Send them the pictures you have promised.

8) Most importantly: be yourself and have fun with the people - who knows? They might become your new friends!

A local woman working with palm leaves on Vanuatu. Ulla Lohmann reveals: “I love to get right in to the action with my camera”. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/3.5, ISO 100.

A local woman working with palm leaves on Vanuatu. Ulla Lohmann reveals: “I love to get right in to the action with my camera”. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/3.5, ISO 100. © Ulla Lohmann