As a wannabe photographer, I’m continually on the prowl for excellent photographers to copy learn from. Every so often, I discover a new site with shots to make me gasp with envy amazement. And when those shots are RED?
Well, that’s one definition of Red Nomad OZ heaven!
So when I discovered the amazing ladyfi, on whose gasp-inducing photos from her adopted homeland Sweden I am helplessly hooked, I wanted to find out more about her. Then one day she posted her Red Glory series on her blog LADY FI – and I just HAD to overcome my natural fear of rejection to ask her if she’d agree to an interview!
Perhaps unaware of the dangers of being interviewed by a fawning fan, she agreed to be my 7thRED Alert guest, share some of her incredible photography and answer my questions!
RED: I’m SO honoured to have you as my RED Alert guest! Where and when was the RED Glory series taken?
ladyfi: Walpurgis Eve is 30 April and every year a bonfire is lit about 3 minutes away from where we live. This year, it was lit by our local lake, so we walked down to see the procession of people with lit torches setting the bonfire alight.
RED: A pyromaniac’s delight – I must tell Pilchard! Of course RED sunsets are de rigueur downunder – but are they common in Sweden?
ladyfi: We’re quite lucky and get very colourful sunsets and sunrises during the summer as well as the winter.
RED: (displaying shocking ignorance) I would never have thought the sunsets would be RED that far north! What’s the back-story to Walpurgis Eve and your RED Glory photos?
ladyfi: The story behind the shots is one that is a thousand-years-old. It’s an old pagan ritual where people burn old wood – partly to kick out winter and welcome in the spring and the longer, warmer days; and partly, to keep away the evil spirits.
RED: I guess a thousand years is long enough to tell if the tradition works!! With which colour do you most identify?
ladyfi: Well, I do like RED! It’s the colour of passion and energy.
RED: Great answer! Readers: please note!! Any reader of this blog knows I love all things RED – but do you have a favourite RED thing?
ladyfi: I love RED flowers and of course, sizzling RED sunsets!
RED: As your photos attest! Does the colour RED stand out in Sweden?
ladyfi: Well, that depends. It’s a country of muted tones so yes, the RED stands out. But as many many houses are RED, you get used to seeing this colour.
RED: Your photos often feature water. Why is that?
ladyfi: Well, I live about 30 seconds away from Vallentuna Lake, so as soon as I see a lovely sunrise or sunset, I can run out and snap it in under a minute. I love the endless variation of sun and water and the reflections. A special kind of peace descends when I’m out there with nature.
RED: Your gorgeous dog Oscar often features in your photos and on your blog too. Is that deliberate?
ladyfi: He spends a lot of time swimming and he adds interest to the photos. Well, I think he’s photogenic!
RED: Of course he is – or, at least you make him so!!
ladyfi: Also, he has a lot of fans among my blog readers, so I include photos for them too.
RED: And I’m sure that’s no hardship! What’s your all-time favourite photographic subject?
ladyfi: I love photographing nature’s beauty and landscapes – and yes, pictures of my local lake and jetty.
RED: (note to self: re-think the Scenic Public Toilet shots …) Well to me, your macro flower shots are yet another sensational feature of your blog! Do you carry your camera everywhere?
RED: I’m yet to get that hi-tech! Australia is full of red, but I’ve never associated it with Europe. Is there much RED in Sweden?
ladyfi: Yes, the typical Swedish house is a RED wooden one.
RED: HHHMMMmmm… maybe I’ll become an honorary Swede!! What else have I got wrong about Sweden?
ladyfi: People don’t generally know where Sweden is. They often mistake it for Switzerland. There are no polar bears on the streets over here.
RED: No way!! Maybe I won’t come visit after all …
RED: And to think all I knew about Sweden before this was ABBA-related! As an expat, what is the most difficult thing about living in Sweden?
ladyfi: I guess it’s the darkness… You get used to the cold, but the days are very short in winter.
RED: Yes, us Aussies really don’t get the concept of ‘winter’, do we?
ladyfi: Also, the Swedes are very private and reserved so I miss the spontaneity of friends popping in for a cup of tea that I enjoyed so much in the UK.
RED: But now total strangers from all around the world virtually visit you every day! What made you start blogging?
ladyfi: I was inspired by a friend. And then I found I enjoyed it. I write content for digital media all day long so my blog is something creative I can do for myself.
RED: Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it’s gone beyond being just for you now!! Have you been inspired by other bloggers?
Brian (waystationone at http://www.waystationone.com/) is a fabulous poet.
Christine (Christine Create at http://christinecreate.com/) has the most gorgeous photos; and Hilary (The Smitten Image at http://thesmittenimage.blogspot.se/) is funny, wise and a great photographer too!
RED: I look forward to catching up with them!! For how long have you been a photographer?
ladyfi: Oh gosh, I got a DSLR camera three years ago and have been smitten ever since.
RED: ‘Oh gosh’ is right – if you’re THIS good after only 3 years, there’s NO hope for the rest of us! What are your 3 top photography tips?
ladyfi: Firstly, experiment and have fun. I’m not at all technical I’m afraid and don’t bother about the settings that much. For me, the emotion of a photograph is far more important.
Next, every photo has a story to tell – what story do you want to tell? And how do you tell that story in an interesting way? It might be through words, or via an interesting feature in the shot, or an unusual or creative framing.
And finally, rules are meant to be broken – yes, you can shoot into the sun and place your jetty or object in the middle of a shot. I love taking photos close-up and don’t mind cutting off parts of a body or object!
RED: Well, I’ll frame those words of advice because whatever you’re doing, it SO works!! What comes first in your blog posts – the words or the photos?
ladyfi: The photos – although I feel that on their own, they are not complete. They need the words too. I look at my photos and wait for the words to come.
RED: Your masterful use of those words is what elevates your blog to extraordinary status! But others’ words also inspire you, don’t they? Can you share a favourite quote?
ladyfi: ‘Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson
RED: Thank you so much for being a wonderful RED Alert guest! Do you have any final words to share with my readers?
ladyfi: On a more personal level, this quote by Wayne Dyer is something that I try to bear in mind during difficult times: ‘How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.’