16th June, 2006
Andrewawi Interviews the Wildeman
Perhaps a short backgrounder on the Wildeman. Hmm! not much to say, really, but pull out a Bike Magazine, and flip through the pages---as the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”-- you’ll be wishing that you’d be out and riding somewhere where the photo was taken, instead of doing the looking. Guys like Stephen takes us there through their photos. If interested here are some of the links to his creative talents: www.stephenwilde.com; and http://www.formosanfattire.com/feature/concrete_jungle.htm.
Andrewawi: Stephen, thanks for taking the time out to meet me! So you've already visited the fakawi web page, and you have an idea what the tribe is all about. The fakawis, including me, would like to know about the photographer behind the outstanding bike photos featured in the Bike Magazine.
Andrewawi: So what cameras and lenses do you have as your arsenal? Also what bike do you ride?
Wildeman: I use both Nikon F100, and a Nikon 28Ti. With the Ti, all you have to do is to point-and-shoot, and it’s certainly bomb-proof too. And only two lenses that goes with the F100--- a 20 mm, f/2.8; and a 105 mm, f/2.0 Nikon lenses. Both of these lenses allow me to shoot at wide apertures, and at a low-depth of field. For bike itself, I ride a HUKK 2005 model.
Andrewawi: Awesome…I was considering getting a HUKK too, so what do you think about the bike?
Wildeman: That bike can take a beating, and not crack.
Andrewawi: Hmm! I digress, so why 20 mm?
Wildeman: I like to interact with people. A 20 mm allows me to do just that-it gives me the interaction, the close-up perspective, that I seek, and it doesn’t distort when photographing people unlike fisheye lenses. Also, with a 20 mm, there are angles that I can work with to make the shot expressive, and interesting.
Andrewawi: What about films? Any preference?
Wildeman: For B&W, I typically use Tri-X or Agfa, and with both of these I can develop on my own. Here I am in control, using my own personal procedure and style to develop the photos. With slides, I prefer using the Kodak E100 VS, and for slides I take them to the photo lab.
Andrewawi: What about filters?
Wildeman: For B&W, I use a red filter, it gives contrast, and for the slides, I use a polarizer. However, depending on the location, for example, I avoid using the polarizer in places like the North Shore. But use the polarizer in the jungles of Taiwan.
Andrewawi: Where do you keep your cameras during a ride?
Wildeman: I keep them in a medium-sized fanny pack, LowePro. During the ride, when we come to either a rest, or when I ride by a particularly interesting spot, I'll just reach into the pack and pull out the camera. No hassle!
Andrewawi: Hey, that's what I should try. I keep my camera in my hydration pack, and I find it for some reason the intention of taking photos is lost when flying down a hill or flowing through a single-track.
Wildeman: It’s even better if you can store you camera in a pouch and attach it to the shoulder strap. The point-and-shoot camera is ideal for this.
Andrewawi: Do you ever bring a monopod or a tripod along on those rides?
Wildeman: Never. Motion equals emotion, and I try to document the ride and portray the emotions of the rider when he/she is riding, and want my pictures to tell a story.
Andrewawi: What do you find rewarding or things that you consider important when doing a photo project at a place?
Wildeman: I like to interact, get to know of the local culture. I’m just fascinated by the types of culture, and taking pictures, to me is the most important of them and mountain biking has fortunately allowed me to go to those places. The combination of culture, photography, and mountain biking is the beauty of the whole.
Andrewawi: So what kind of riding do you do?
Wildeman: Fast down trails, and technical but not those high-drops
Andrewawi: Any tips for those aspiring photographers?
Wildeman: Shoot lots of digital---a million frames. Shoot with a manual camera to get the concept of shutter speeds and f-stops.
Andrewawi: So what’s next? Where do you go?
Wildeman: I’ll be going to Taiwan again.
Andrewawi: So would you consider riding in Malaysia and hook-up with the Fakawis?
Wildeman: Sure, from what you’ve been telling me, and the website, it sounds like it would be an interesting project to ride with the Fakawi Tribe. I think it would be an interesting project and to come up with a project proposal that involves riding through aboriginal trails, and having to encounter their culture.
Andrewawi: That would be a good project, perhaps even interesting if some sort of photo project involving forest conservation, aboriginals, single-tracks, and mountain bikers.
Andrewawi: Thank you for taking the time, and certainly have to keep in touch on this interesting project. And for sure the Fakawis would be keen in working together on this project. I’ll keep you posted.
Wildeman: We’ll keep in touch, and sure keep me posted.