Young photographer, Lorenz Schimonsky loves to explore and document the more natural parts of Central Texas through his photography. By looking at his work, you'd think Lorenz was well into his journey in photography, but the self-taught 13 year old photographer has been shooting for just a few years. I got the chance learn more about what it's like to be a budding photographer in Austin via email as follows.
How did you get started in photography?
Lorenz Schimonsky: A few years back, I started noticing the colors of the sky at sunset. At that time, I used my cheap cell phone or my parents' cameras to take pictures of what I saw. I also started experimenting with free phone apps to edit my pictures. First I was taking pictures once a week, and eventually that turned into an everyday project. At that point, I was hooked and I started looking at expanding my knowledge of photography and editing as well as researching equipment options—and working hard to convince my parents to help me acquire the equipment.
At just 13 years old, your work already holds so much promise! Do you plan to continue to pursue photography as you get older in terms of making a career out of it or is it more of a hobby for now?
LS: I am not sure if I will be able to make it into a profession, but it would certainly be nice if I could incorporate some aspects of photography in a profession. I can see some direct or indirect applications that would be useful in other areas such as marketing. It has certainly encouraged me to learn all about social media marketing, creating my own website, and selling my pictures online. Regardless, photography will probably always be a lifelong hobby.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered as a young photographer?
LS: Having to convince my parents to drive places with me. Actually they are cool about that and have taken me to many places for my “weekly exploration.” Being self taught, I do encounter some challenges once in a while when learning new techniques or concepts related to equipment, computers, editing, social media and website creation. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there and many fellow photographers are willing to help.
It’s clear you have a love of nature and a knack for nature photography. What came first: your love of nature or photography? Do you see yourself branching out into other types of photography?
LS: I guess I was attracted to the colors of nature first before learning that I could capture and enhance that with photography and post editing. I want to explore other areas of photography such as urban photography, night sky photography, candid photography of people, pet photography, etc.
What do you like best about taking photos in Central Texas?
LS: The fact that in Central Texas there are so many different places to explore such as parks, trails, landmarks, and buildings. The Texas sky also has dramatic and unpredictable sunset colors which I like to use as the background for my photography.
I understand you’re pretty active on Instagram and seem to be engaged with the Austin photography community there. Tell more about how you use Instagram as a tool to further your photography.
LS: I post most of my pictures in my @Lorenz.ATX profile which is dedicated to the majority of my photography work. By trial and error, I learned some tricks on how to expand the number of followers and to engage with other photographers in the area. I was also able to take some of what I learned about how Instagram works and help my father in some Instagram projects for his company (@tableauxgrilles) which manufactures custom decorative grilles for interior design projects.
You’re known to get experimental with your editing style, as seen in your color splash series. What was the inspiration behind this series? Do you tend to go heavy-handed with editing or do you prefer to keep it simple?
LS: With the color spIash pictures, I was trying to find a new way of highlighting colors and objects and came across this technique. I also experimented using some of the decorative grille designs in my father's company as the “frame” for the color splash to add one more characteristic to the shot.
Usually, I prefer not going too heavy handed in editing by limiting to some color adjustments in Lightroom. However, I do experiment a bit with photoshop in some pictures adding and subtracting objects in a picture such as in some of my “moon phases” photos. Sometimes I also remove unsightly objects from a picture such as power lines.
What are your go-to pieces of equipment?
LS: I use a Canon M50 camera with a 18-150mm lens. I have also got a Sigma 16mm lens for wider angle shots. These are not very fancy, but they do the job for right now. I also made some adaptations to my Canon M50 by adding a U bracket I built with my father that keeps the shutter button down, since the Canon M50 does not have an option for an intervalometer. In this way, I am able to create cool timelapses especially of clouds and stars.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
LS: I hope I can explore additional State Parks around Texas and also National Parks. I would like to start practicing and improving techniques for taking pictures of people and dogs. I would also like to experiment further with creating videos and synchronizing them to music. There is plenty to explore!
You can find more of Lorenz's work on his website and Instagram.