Exposed Planet - Extraordinary Photos from Around the World
Here at Wandering Educators, we are always on the lookout for businesses that both educate and act responsibly as global citizens. One such business person is Harry Kikstra, a climber/expedition leader/ photographer/ filmmaker/ producer/ writer/ public speaker/ cycler and many other things that have to do with sharing the beauty of the outdoors. We've interviewed Harry about his incredible bike journey, World on a Bike. Harry is passionate about mountain climbing and arranges extraordinary trips for his clients. He has climbed all 7 summits himself, and has a business for ethical and responsible climbing, 7summits.com. He has also written many guidebooks about these summits. He also has an incredible photo site, called ExposedPlanet.com. On Exposedplanet.com, Harry shares the beauty of the natural world with us - and talks about it, in-depth. No plain photos here - just incredible glimpses of nature and humanity, with commentary.
Every time I visit ExposedPlanet.com, I wonder anew at his eye - his ability to SHARE what he sees, visually and internally. Harry's got such a natural talent with the camera that each photo is a joy to behold. From Mt Everest to Tibetan Chicken soup, I am happy whenever I view his photos.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Harry and talk about ExposedPlanet.com, photography, culture, and more. Here's what he had to say...
WE: Please tell us about your site, ExposedPlanet.com...
HK: ExposedPlanet.com is a so-called photoblog, which is the visual variation of a blog.
I have started ExposedPlanet.com not only as a way to show my portfolio, but also to share the beauty of our planet. Nowadays negative press & media might make people scared of everything foreign or different: culture, religion, people and the places themselves. This xenophobia is taking over our lives and prevents us from seeing the real world as it is: a wonderful place with beautiful people. There are no bad or evil countries, religions or people. There is bad and good people in every culture, including your own.
I hope I can share a bit of the amazement I have enjoyed while travelling the 7 continents. The more I see, the more I know I still have to see and I will. Life is too short to focus on not-existing enemies & fears.
My other site, 7summits.com, is focused on the mountains, ExposedPlanet will also show more of the culture and other nature that is to be found on our 7 continents.
I hope that it will sparkle your imagination, make you curious or even just educate you a bit, being maybe the 3 most important aspects of society in my view.
A picture can say more than a 1000 wars and can maybe help understand the world around us. It's a small place, so maybe we can make the best of it together.
WE: What was the genesis of Exposed Planet?
HK: I am a photographer as much as I am a climber; maybe I am more a traveller. I have always taken many photos of the local people as well as of the landscapes. I noticed that when showing these to friends, most positive comments were about the portraits and the culture, while the general audience never saw those images.
At the same time the world was starting to get ruled by fear for strange cultures, so I thought that I should combine all of this and share some knowledge and sparkle some positive interest in the planet which we share as well as promote my photography.
WE: You have incredible commentary with your photos - each entry (word?) is like reading a short, well-written travel essay. What informs your photos (and words)?
HK: Thanks, I appreciate that as I try to offer more than just imagery. The commentaries range from just a sentence to several 'pages' and are usually either a description of the scene, cultural and historical backgrounds that might be unknown or thoughts & experiences I had when taking the shots, but mostly a mix of all of these.
A photo explains more than a 1000 words, but sometimes some extra words can frame the image better than any wood or matte can..
It is my site, so I take the liberty to share my views. I try to be as honest as possible, even though this might mean that some people who might like my images enough to buy them, might turn away because of the stories. On the other hand, I know that many viewers enjoy some basic photos because of the story behind them.
WE: Can you please tell us about your photo processes - how you create panoramic shots like these?
HK: I have not done many Panoramas and every time the technology changes. My older ones were simply combined in PhotoShop, but I was not always happy with the limitations of PS.
The last few I have done went as follows:
- Measuring light & focus using my camera; change to manual and shoot RAW with my Canon 5D Mark II, overlapping about 30%. I did not use any tripod.
- Import into Adobe LightRoom and export as 16-bit ProPhoto Tif files with basic or no editing
- Import in Hugin (GPL freeware), and create a panorama
- Re-import in LightRoom and/or Photoshop, edit where needed and export as sRGB JPG for the web. (I rather keep it ProPhoto, but currently only Safari will show the real colours.)
WE: What do you look for, when you take photos? What is your favourite place/subject to photograph?
HK: Anything, from cities to portraits to nature. I like to portray daily life that is different as we know it. I like the innocence of kids and the vastness of the mountains. That said, I really like Nepal & Tibet, the perfect mix of all of the above and gentle people.
WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
HK: Get out there! Don't be afraid of the world, it is a nice place. Collect and share stories with your friends and family. Our generation has to make the difference, promoting friendship and respect instead of aggression and fear.
And for the times you have no opportunity to travel, please buy one of my posters in the gearshop ;-)
WE: Thanks so much, Harry, for sharing your photographic journey with us!
For more information, please see:
All photos courtesy and copyright Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com