by Editor Yvette Depaepe
The landscape photographs of April Xie are full of feelings for the beauty and diversity of nature. She believes that photography is an universal language to express ourselves through our images. It changed her mindset and the way she approaches life. She constantly strives to increase her skills and finds a lot of inspiration in the gallery of our 1x community. Let's discover more about her charming personality today.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs, dear April.
I'm an amateur photographer working as a full time engineering program manager based in Silicon valley, California. I started photography 3 years ago and became fascinated with landscape and night photography. Photography is my passion, with my images I want to express the beauty and diversity of nature. I also love travelling, oil painting, playing piano and sports. I like to take you on a journey to let you see world through my eyes!
How did photography affected your life?
To me, my hobby as photographer provides lots of fun and an engaging activity. It also gives a meaning to express my creativity. But there's even more than that: in many ways, photography also positively influences my mindset and changes the way I approach life.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
The people who make up today’s thriving photographic community are our eyes to the world. There are many 1x photographers who have influenced and inspired me. I believe photography is the universal language speaking to the heart. Photographers are the dedicated, passionate and sometimes half-crazy individuals who are willing to give their lives, too often quite literally, to show us what needs to be seen and what needs to be known. The amazing individuals who create them and share them with us.
What first attracted you to photography?
Time should be wasted on good things, but those beautiful memories will stay.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
At this moment, I do not think about my photographic future. I try to keep learning to improve my photographic skills. I think it would be better to let everything flow according to the inspiration of the moment.
Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?
I love to travel and want to use my images to express the beauty and diversity of nature. I love to see images from other landscape photographers. Every time I discover different sceneries through their images. Landscape photography makes me feel more real and gives me so many different feelings. There is no longer road than the feet, no mountains higher than people, no world wider than the eyes.
What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?Photography enables me to appreciate the good in the bad.
Taking a good photo isn’t just about having the right camera equipment at your disposal (although this is a big factor). It’s also about having an eye to discover all kinds of beauty. Photography teaches me to look for beauty wherever I go, even in subjects that seem lacklustre or ordinary. And once I have trained myself to do so, I begin to apply the same principle in all aspects of my life. I’ll find myself being grateful for the things I used to take for granted, and finding and enjoying the good in situations that appear to be negative or hopeless.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
There must necessarily be some emotional engagement with the subject. Without such engagement I can’t shoot.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Every time a location is planned, the weather conditions are checked ahead of the shooting date for that location. These days, with internet/Webcam, one can check it instantly. Thanks mobile app “Planit! for Photographers”. I use all the time.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
Camera: Canon 5d Mark III, Sony a7rII
Lenses: Canon 16-35mm/f2.8, Canon 70-200mm/f2.8, Sigma 12-24mm/f4.0, and Sigma 20mm/f1.4
What software do you use to process your images?
Lightroom, NIK Collection
What is your most important advice to a beginner in landscape photography and how do you get started?
Passion and and also looking at the images of good landscape photographers.
Go out and practice, practice, practice!!!
Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
There are many great photographers. It helps a lot to see many photos from different photographers. It helped me to see all the possibilities within photography from which I didn’t even know their existence.
Is there any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a lot and why?
This photo was taken at Los Glaciares NP, Patagonia by Yan Zhang. It’s an amazing shot. I was inspired by its perfect composition, lighting and post processing.
Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This photo was taken during my recent New Zealand trip. Our plan was to take Milky Way arches over Mount Cook. We could not find any good composition in the valley, but we found the Plateau Hut would work. Due to a narrow feasible weather window, we only confirmed the trip on the last minute and took a Helicopter to get there. It was an amazing night and I witnessed the most beautiful starry sky I had saw.
Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
I first heard about 1x three years ago! I was amazed by the superb quality and diversity of the photos. 1x offers a stunning gallery of outstanding photos selected by professional curators. As a beginner at that time, it gave me a huge stimulant and lots of motivation when my first photo was published.
To end this interview, I would like to thank all the 1x photographers for their interest in my work and Yvette for this great opportunity.