Interview with Ashraf Kotb : A multi-talented photographer
Ashraf Kotb is an Egyptian nature, wildlife, and travel photographer. He is currently living in Qatar and working in Microsoft as a Service Delivery Manager. Photography is only passion for him.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Ashraf Kotb, I’m an Egyptian nature, wildlife, and travel photographer. Photography for me is a passion rather than a profession. In my professional life I work as a Service Delivery Manager.
2. Did you go to school to study photography?
No, I didn’t go to a regulated school. However, I have attended 100s of photography workshops. I was lucky enough that some of them were with top notch photographers such as Scott Kelby, Moose Peterson, Joe McNally, and Matt Kloskowski. From whom I learnt a lot indeed.
3. Can you please share the story about the start of your photographic journey?
I started photography since 1995 when my father gave me a Yashica film camera after I graduated from high school. Since then I was fascinated with the field of photography and how a photograph can tell much more than a 1000 word. I moved then to the digital era with the boom of digital cameras. My first digital camera was a small Canon Powershoot, then I got my bridge camera (Canon SX20 IS), and have been playing with Canon digital cameras since then.
4. How long have you been a photographer?
5. How would you describe your photographic vision? What kind of feel do you try and create in your photos?
My 1st interest in photography is the nature and wildlife field. I love to be out there in the wild, and I love nature. The message that I try to convey to my audience is the importance of preserving the nature and wildlife in an era at which people destroy nature everyday. I always try hard to move my audience from the closed office spaces, closed homes, to the open nature. I like to take my audience to places they’ve never seen before and to the lovely creatures in these places.
[Dolmabahçe Saray, Istanbul]
6. What are the characteristics that a good Travel Photographer needs to have?
I would say the number one characteristics is patience. Travel, nature, and wildlife photography needs a lot of patience to get that shot you need. A good shot is not just a capture of shapes and colors, it’s a capture of light, time, visual effects, emotions, and feelings. A successful photo that summarizes all these elements needs time, preparation, dedication, and in most cases money as well.
The second most important characteristic is continuous learning. This photographer who thinks that he’s a “master of photography” who knows everything would sooner or later fail. Photography is an art, and it’s very important for an artist to continue working on developing his vision day after day, and year after year.
[Fight at the Lake]
7. What type of camera and lenses do you use?
For cameras, I currently use Canon 7D Mark II, and Canon 7D cameras together with a number of lenses:
Tamron 150-600mm VC USD
Canon 24-105mm f/4.0L IS USM
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro
Tamron 10-22mm VC USD
8. How important is Photoshop in your final images?
It is very important. I consider Photoshop to be the digital age dark room. In the film age, photographers used the dark room for image enhancements such as correcting colors, noise, saturation, etc… I use Photoshop in the same way, to enhance the image characteristics and I rarely use it to manipulate images. If the image is good out of the camera, Photoshop can enhance it. However, I bad image would ever be a bad image. Photoshop can not correct a shaky or out of focus image, or worse, an image that does not have anything to say.
[King of Jungle]
9. What is the best compliment do you have ever? Could you please share Happiest Moment in your Photography Life?
I have a bad memory when it comes to remember compliments. The happiest moment in my photography life is when I see people praise God for all these beautiful creatures he created on this earth.
10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Achieving 7 honorable mention awards in the IPA (International Photography Awards) Competition 2015
11. What are some simple tips for taking great travel photos?
>>> Travel Light, don’t take all your gear with you when travelling, just take what you need
>>> Be patient, take your time, and avoid disturbing anyone or anything
>>> Plan your photography trip well enough before you travel, know the places worth visiting, and see some photos by other photographers of the same places to shape your own strategy of approaching them.
[London eye - Aerial View]
12. How do you make a living with your travel photography?
I do sell some photos every now and then but photography is not my 1st source of income
13. So whats Next in your list?
Travel more, get better gear, and keep enjoying photography
14. Any specific tips you have for newbie photographers?
Learn the basics, and don’t be shy to ask. Do not jump to conclusions, and take your time to develop your own vision. Most importantly, don’t start to think that you can educate other people about things you don’t yet fully know or capable of.
15. Words for your followers and why they should follow you?
Just follow me if you love nature like I do, just for the sake of enjoying nature, not for the sake of following me.
[Wildebeest Herd, Kenya]
16. If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home?
Masai Mara, Kenya
17. Words and suggestion about my website www.indiaataglance.com
It’s a very nice website, and full of very inspiring interviews and contents. Keep up the good job and thank you for having me