From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Ignacio Palacios

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Over the next week I want to share with you some interviews with photographers who are friends with me on Facebook.

Rather than constantly seeing their photos and bombarding them with likes, I thought it would be a great idea to showcase some of their work and find out a little more about the photographer and person behind the images that constantly show on my Facebook feed.

As I publish more interviews be sure to check other interviews out, I’ll link to them at the bottom of this article.

Who is Ignacio Palacios?

Ignacio Palacios

 

I am a travel and landscape photographer from Spain and when I am not traveling, I am based in Dee Why Beach, Sydney.

I met my wife Lucy in a train when I was traveling from Mumbai to Aurangabad in India and I now have two kids, both born in Sydney. Although I studied electrical engineering, renewable energies and management in Spain, the UK and Germany respectively, I belong to a family of three generations of photographers and artists so painting and photography have always been in my veins.

After working in the wind energy industry for 12 years in Europe and Australia I decided to go into full time photography about 4 years ago after a trip I did to Karijini National Park in Western Australia.

I have been traveling intensively since 1998 and worked as a semi-professional photographer for about 15 years selling stock images in exclusivity for Lonely Planet Images (now Getty Images). After discovering the amazing Australian landscapes, the power of Photoshop and some medium format cameras (thanks Peter Eastway!) I am producing more creative and fine art landscape work but as well as photographing landscapes I continue taking travel shots for stock and that includes people, wildlife, food, architecture, festivals, markets etc.

I have now completed two degrees in Photography, published a couple of books and organised a few exhibitions.  It is being an interesting journey so far but most of all it is being a lot of fun!

As a travel photographer do you have a favourite location to shoot at, or are you still uncovering the wonders of the world?

I get this question often and it is a tricky one because I have many favourite locations and it is very difficult to choose only one…. but I always say that if I had to choose one country it would be India as it is a very interesting country to photograph and the diversity of subjects is amazing… My favourite location however would depend on what type of subject I want to to photograph but I think that some places in South East Asia and South America have it all.

Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier

For Landscape Photography

 

  • In Asia, my favourite are The Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim and Laddak in India). Indonesia is another great place with incredible landscapes, volcanos, islands and jungles.
  • In South America without any doubt the mountains and glaciers of Patagonia, the Atacama Desert and the Bolivian Altiplano (Salar de Uyuni).
  • In North America, Alaska, and the American West including Utah, Arizona, Colorado as well as Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Death Valley).
  • In Europe, my favourite country for landscape photography is Iceland but Lofoten and the Alps are also incredible locations as well. Iceland and Lofoten in winter are also great places to photograph the Northern Lights.
  • In Africa, my favourite place for landscape photography are the deserts of Egypt (the desert near Siwa, and the white and black desert are incredible locations that many people miss when they travel to Egypt). Another favourite in Africa for landscape photography is Namibia although I have heard that Ethiopia and Madagascar are great places too.
  • And finally Australia and New Zealand…. what can I say about these two. The diversity of the Australian landscapes is remarkable and it is always delightful to photograph and walk the Great Walks of New Zeland, my favourites being the Milford and Routburn tracks.

There is a lot to see and photograph, and all depends on the detail you want to see it. In any of these locations you could spend months or even years!

But there are still places I have not visited and I am dying to visit and photograph. This is my top ten list of places to visit in the next few years: Antarctica, Bhutan, Tibet, Laddak (in India), Alaska (Denali National Park), Svalbard/Greenland, Madagascar, South Africa, Mongolia, Peru and the Amazon.

 

But the list goes on and on…

 

For people/street photography

 

My favourite place is India/Nepal followed by Myanmar (Burma) although the whole of South East Asia is great and people love to be photographed. Some countries in Africa and South America have great places to photograph people and festivals too but I find that people are not that keen to be photographed.

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For Wildlife

 

Africa is the place to go, and in Africa I love Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

 

Antartica, and Galapagos are two great spots for sure but over there you will find other type of animals and wildlife (both inland and underwater). For underwater photography the best places to dive without any doubt are Galapagos, Sipadan in Malaysia, Tonga (for whales), the Great Barrier Reef, Ningalu Reef and the Red Sea in Egypt.

Two lions (panthera leo) fight for a buffalo in Moremi National Park, Botswana
Two lions (panthera leo) fight for a buffalo in Moremi National Park, Botswana

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Baby gorillas in the Virungas National Park, Rwanda
Baby gorillas in the Virungas National Park, Rwanda
Lioness (panthera leo) with cubs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Lioness (panthera leo) with cubs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Leopard (Panthera pardus) on tree in Namibia
Leopard (Panthera pardus) on tree in Namibia

I saw on Facebook you’ve recently launched a book, can you tell us a bit about the project?

I have two books published. The first one Red Hot West: Karijini was published after a short visit to the park in 2012 and the Sydney Rock Pools book was published in June 2014.

CULTURE_326

 

The idea of the Sydney Rock Pools book started because of my twin love for both swimming and photography. I live by the sea and began to photograph the rock pools around the Northern Beaches. I then continued with the ones along the Eastern Suburbs and decided to publish a book about them as they are absolutely beautiful and I think many take them for granted. There is nothing like this anywhere else in the world!. I thought it was an interesting project as I also learnt some anecdotes and historical facts about the pools. There were many professional and enthusiasts photographing the pools at sunrise every day but to publish book about them is something that hadn’t been done before and I think that photographing them from the air, provided a new perspective. It took me a year from the start of the project to the publication of the book with about three or four months of intense shooting both at sunrise and sunset times.

 

I am working on a few more books at the moment: an expansion of the rock pools book project which will include the rock pools of Cronulla and the Harbour pools and Red Hot West: The Kimberley. I am also working on the RGB: Australia book/project with the Light Collective (Luke Austin, Paul Hoelen, Ricardo Da Cunha and Adam Williams).

Can you take us through what a typical working day for you would look like?

At the moment there are three different types of typical working days for me.

The first one is when I travel and guide a photography workshop. We wake up early for sunrise, travel to different spots during the day, perhaps a bit of post-processing and then again a sunset shot to finish the day. During these trips I always use my tripod and my medium format camera.

Mt Fitz Roy at sunrise, Parque Nacional los Glaciares
Mt Fitz Roy at sunrise, Parque Nacional los Glaciares

Another typical “working” day is when I travel with my family. During these types of trips, (such as the one I am currently doing around Europe and the Americas) I can’t focus so much on fine art photography and I hardly ever wake up for sunrise or wait for sunset unless I am in a really amazing location. We are traveling with young kids so I have to organise the day differently. I normally take stock images that can be used by Getty Images. This means images with blue skies, action shots and landscapes with people will get me more chances to sell the images to magazines and travel guides. I hardly use the tripod and I normally use my Fuji X-T1 for this purpose and leave the heavy equipment in my bag.

My third typical working day is when I go back to the office. After a long trip there is a lot of stuff to organise, emails to respond and images to select and process. I have to manage bookings for my photography tours, deal with travel agents, research and produce new itineraries etc.

After a few years doing this I think I have a pretty efficient workflow and when I finish backing up my images, I prepare a selection and edit them. About 10-15% of my images are selected for stock purposes and they might require minor post-processing. They all go to Getty Images for consideration. As well as editing them, I also have to prepared them for submission (captions, copyrights, releases, keywords, resizing, sharpening, naming and uploading).

Out of those images selected for Getty, I might choose a few that I think have potential to be a great image and they are worth retouching further. Those ones might go into my website, my catalogue and to the Competitions folders.

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If I am happy with the end result of an image, I might create an article explaining the steps undertaken. Sometimes magazines contact me to submit a portfolio of images and an article about a particular location so writing articles for magazines and social media is also part of the workflow. If one of my images is selected by 1x I might write a short article that I then might use in other magazines, social media, my blog and Newsletters.

I might also produce an audiovisual of the trip for promotional purposes or if I feel that and Image has potential to significantly improve with post-processing, I might capture the whole creative process on my computer screen and produce a video showing the process for promotional and educational purposes.

And believe it or not, when I am traveling I write notes about interesting facts that I find, ideas, and notes for my diaries. Yes, I do write travel diaries and when I am back home I always write about the trips.

Back at home I also try to keep active in social media but in the last year or so it has become very difficult to respond every message and comment while I check my newsfeed. I have been quite active on Facebook in the last couple of years or so but a few months ago I started to get into 500px and Instagram, which I consider the main three social media networks to be active in photography. All these networks have helped me gain a name for myself in the industry and also generated quite a lot of business.

You’ve written quite a few articles on post processing. In a few sentences can you tell us why you think it’s important to edit your photos the way you do?

I do think that all images require some kind of post-processing depending on the use that you want to give to the image. I don’t do a lot of post-processing on my stock images but as I have previously mentioned, sometimes I like to go a bit further and experiment. I do this with a very small percentage of my images and I love it as I can fulfil my creative desires.

Torres and Cuernos del Paine at sunrise, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Torres and Cuernos del Paine at sunrise, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

When you go traveling, I’m sure you meet some interesting people. Is there someone you’ve met along your journey who you can tell us about? Did they leave you with any good advice?

Since I started traveling in 1998, I have visited about 80 countries in three long round the world trips and other shorter trips and of course I have met very interesting travellers, photographers and also my wife!

Perhaps a person who gave me very good advice was my friend Pep Roig. I met him in Mandalay (Burma) about 7 years ago and travelled together for a while. At that time I was finishing my second trip around the world and although I had been working as a photographer for a while he gave me very valuable advice. Since then I have travelled with him to a few places including Patagonia and the Atacama desert. He is always on the road and I don’t know anyone who has travelled as much as him so it is always a pleasure to travel and photograph with Pep.

What’s your favourite piece of gear/kit to use either photography related or non photography related?

I love my iphone. I can quickly connect to the Internet from anywhere, respond to emails, keep up with social media, and publish images on Instagram. I also have some really cool photography applications (for example to find aurora activity at a particular location, and the position of the sun/moon at sunrise and sunset times).  I never get lost in a city, so a smart phone for me is a very important tool.

Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and yellow billed oxpeckers in the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya
Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and yellow billed oxpeckers in the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya

Could you share the story behind your favourite photograph you’ve ever taken?

My favourite photograph ever taken is the one of El Salar de Uyuni in the Bolivian Altiplano and not because it won the most important prize of my career as a photographer but because I had always wanted to go to this location and I had visualized this image even before being there.

It is a composite image. The foreground taken at sunset and the background taken at sunrise and I used Photoshop to merge both captures. The reason why I did that is because I wasn’t happy with the composition of the hexagons in the foreground that I had taken during sunrise and so I had to drive back at sunset time on my own to find better ones to create the image that I had in mind.

When I photographed the image at sunrise my driver drove our 4WD in the middle of the image and I was a bit annoyed because I don’t like human elements in my fine art landscape work. When I opened the image at home I decided not to clone it because the 4WD was providing perspective and depth to the image which was exactly one of the reasons why the judges decided to give me the award.

Salar de Uyuni hexagons at sunset
Salar de Uyuni hexagons at sunset

Thank you very much for the interview Ignacio, it was great to hear more about the man behind the photos! Stay tuned for the next From My Facebook Feed Interview tomorrow :)
To see some of Ignacio’s images check out his website, 500px account, Instagram or Facebook Page.

Other interviews from this series (so far) include:

From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Peta Anne North

From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Shannon Wild

From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Mike Shaw

From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Nicola Davison Reed

From My Facebook Feed: An Interview with Chris Gampat