As chief executive of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), Andrew Baxter is not only dedicated to the preservation of nature, but he is also determined to share its beauty in extraordinary ways. His latest photographic project is a celebration of fynbos unlike any other.
‘There are so many ways to capture the beauty of the fynbos, and I was looking for a different way to highlight the incredible symmetry and structure of the flowers, particularly the Leucospermums (pincushions) and other proteas. I’ve been experimenting with low-light photography for a while. I couldn’t help but think that when the pincushions and proteas were gently illuminated with supplemental light, they resembled fireworks.
To capture these portraits (which are of actual flowers growing in situ, either in the mountains or in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden), I choose dull days or low-light conditions, and I select very dark backgrounds to enhance the contrast. I then apply supplemental light – this requires some experimentation – and further underexpose the background. I don’t use Photoshop, but Lightroom enables me to tease back some light and apply contrast. In this way, I’ve tried to showcase the spectacular natural beauty of the fynbos in a different light… and it really seems to have resonated.’ – Andrew Baxter
This article was adapted from a version that appeared in our February 2022 magazine issue.
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