Photography copyright © Di Fruscia. All rights reserved.
1. Tell us something about Patrick De Fruscia and what he was before getting into Photography and how He ended up with Landscape photography.
As a teenager I worked in a music store. At the age of 17 I started working in bars and nightclub. I then met a guy who got me in the fitness industry and started working also as a graphic/web designer for a sport supplement company in Montreal and later on became the Marketing Manager for that same company. During that time I also kept my job as a bartender and did this part time for close to 15 years. One day the owner of the supplement company came to me and ask me to undertake the task of learning photography. He grew tired of paying professionals photographers to take pictures of athletes and shots of his whole product line. At first, I thought this was an absurd request but decided to try it anyway. He purchased my first camera, which was the Minolta XTsi, and there I went, trying to learn this great tool. I literally started reading everything I could find about photography and quickly this task became a hobby. I was taking pictures of pretty much everything from lamppost to cars, flowers, insects..you name it. My hobby really turned into a passion the time I did a road trip across the charming province and Quebec and ended up on top of Mt Ernest Laforce in the Gaspe peninsula. I knew then that this was my calling. That day it hit my like some sort of divine intervention… I wanted to experience, see & fell the beauty of our beautiful planet and photography was the perfect medium to do so. Since then I have set my lifelong goal to always perfect my craft. I know that this will be an endless curve and I will only have myself to blame if I don’t live up to my full potential.
2. Everyone has seen that your work is filled with rich and vibrant scenes which adds impact to the emotional value of the image, but what according to you is your particular style of photography – what according to you is the most important before you trip the shutter/present an image to your viewer ?
The #1 goal is first and always to immerse myself in my surroundings. If possible I get on location beforehand and make sure I can really feel the energy and beauty each location has to offer. I personally think that only then, will I be able to evoke true feelings out of my craft. Feelings that will literally transport the viewer to the exact spot I was standing when capturing all my pieces.
3. What is “Nature is my Kingdom” all about – specially the story behind ?
Well this is pretty easy, whenever I am in Nature living out my passion I feel like a King. This feeling is so intense that it is very hard to describe with mere words. I am pretty sure that if you ask any nature lover they will say the same thing. One day as I was waiting for the magic light to happen, “Nature is my Kingdom” popped into my head and then decided to stick by it and made it my new slogan.
4. Having spoken about that, tell us something about Timecatcher and how it all started and what are the plans for Timecatcher in the months/years to come ?
Again I wanted to share the beauty of our beautiful planet with the world but I had one big problem, I wasn’t a millionaire and couldn’t travel around the world constantly. Funding was a big issue. I then came up with the idea and formed a team of landscape photographers that had the same vision and passion as me. We could all travel and share our art with the world. Timecatcher went live the 17July 2006….The day of my birthday
Presently Timecatcher is pretty much dead. Each of the members are very busy with personal projects and doing the best we can to make a great living out of it. For those who are unfamiliar with the Timecatcher Team I highly suggest you to view the work of each team members. These are all extremely talented photographers that literally raised the bar of excellence in the industry. Adam Burton, Ian Cameron, Jay Patel, Adam Gibbs, Darwin Wigget & Marc Adamus. I am keeping the name TimeCatcher.com for now and always have in the back of my mind to revamp the project. Maybe one day it will happen. Who knows?
5. You have travelled across many countries as a part of your work. How do you relate the challenges and relative wilderness factors and shooting conditions when in such places ?
Each place is very different from one another. You learn to deal with various shooting conditions over time but obstacles will always be present and personally I think it adds a lot to the experience. One thing I really have to learn is to be more careful. I take too many risks. One image is often not worth the dangers I can be faced with when trying the get the right viewpoint. Better be careful and have the chance to take many more.
6. Whats your favorite place which you have shot or that you plan to shoot ?
I do not have a favourite place..each place has so much to offer that when faced with that question I always answer…it will be the next Location I will be traveling to.
7. Landscape photography involves getting up early in morning and staying back late in evening or camping in remote & dangerous locations to get that dream image. In such circumstances how does your family respond/encourage/support you ?
My Girlfriend and family are always nervous whenever I travel to foreign countries or location but they have quickly learned that this truly the only thing that really makes me happy. Like I said, I like taking risks and on several occasions I had my girlfriend with me on trips but this averred to be a big challenge for several factors. When getting to remote location, if something bad happens and I am by myself, well I will deal with the consequences but could never forgive myself if something does happen and my girlfriend is with me. I now decided to travel alone most of the time apart from when I visit vacations resorts or go on little road trips.
8. Tell us about some of the best moments when you were out in the field
I have so many I cannot named one…it would be impossible…every moment in the field is a pure blessing.
9. What is Pat’s favorite Landscape image in his portfolio right now and what is the story behind the image ?
Again this is exactly like asking me which is my favourite location, I do not have one…My favorite shot will be the next one that will show up in my portfolio, you get so familiar with you work that the newest ones are always more appealing to me 😉
10. How much has the newer technology and advancement in post processing helped you in creating your imagery?
Very much, at first when I was shooting film, I found it very hard to make the transition from film to digital. I thought that the wow factor of a perfectly exposed slide was completely gone…Over the years I have learned to really appreciate the positive side of digital photography and the incredible power good post processing has in order to really bring out details in my images that were previously impossible. I have learnt to use all the tools I can get in order to perfect my craft. I often get the question:
How much Processing goes into your images?
How much Processing goes into your images? These are all real images from real locations. These images have not been created, partly created or generated by computer. By that I mean, I didn’t add clouds, mountains, waterfalls, where they were none of these elements, or added a sunset where they were no sunset. All images have been taken with high quality digital cameras, lenses & filters on location around the world using the techniques I have acquired within the past 10 years. Unfortunately, even with today’s technologies, the camera does not see the world as clearly as the human eye does. The dynamic range of today’s professional camera is still not capable of rendering details in both the High and Low Tones of some specific scenes. Due to this limitation, some of the images have been created using several exposures of the same scene (Some exposed for the high tones and others exposed for the low tones). These exposures are then combined carefully using a technique called Luminosity masking. This technique provides a dynamic range that is closer to what I witnessed with my own eyes while capturing the scene.
Being at the right place at the right time, having the right tools and knowing how to capture the scene as best as possible to have the latitude of working with the right RAW file is key here…After I see the post processing, exactly as applying makeup to a beautiful woman…. She already posses all the quality attributes & features she needs, the makeup will only accentuate these features in the best possible way… I really love to create a sense of fantasy in my images, both on and off the field using different techniques acquired over the years.. Create a vision that makes people dream and get in touch with their inner peace. If my work makes your day a bit brighter and helps you forget about your troubles if it’s only for the brief moment you look at it, then I have done my job well.
Some choose to use a true HDR approach, some decide to use the same approach as I do using luminosity blending and other post processing and some prefer to simply capture the scene and leave it untouched. All these are perfectly fine with me and will render incredible results when done right. It is up to the artist or viewer to decide which direction he or she prefers. As an artist, Do what you think is right for you and perfect your craft. There is no right or wrong here, we are all here to create in our own way…It’s a question of personal choice & artistic vision. Only YOU can decide what direction to take. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong. You will NEVER please everyone and if you try, I can assure you that you will be miserable and lost. There will always be some that will take a real pleasure of bringing you down, so what really counts here is pleasing yourself. If you do, and do it well with passion, people will see this in your work and appreciate you for who you truly are.
11. You recently published a compilation of your video work called “Looking for Purpose” – tell us something more about it and if you have plans of building it up video portfolio further.
I started this just for fun in order to record the places I visited. My First experience was recording my US Southwest road trip with my girlfriend. My skills as a videographer weren’t that good but really enjoyed making this video none the less. The only problem was, every time the light was very nice or dramatic, I completely forgot to record it on video, My focus was always on photography. I have now switched my way of thinking and always make sure I spend some time recording my travels. Looking for purpose was a starting point for me, I had an idea of what I wanted to do but wasn’t exactly sure how it would turn out..I can honestly say that I am happy with the result given my lack of experience in that field. I can definitely see that a lot can be done better but this just makes make more anxious on creating another one.
12. The other side of Patrick is a very philosophical(?), He is a person known to post inspirational/motivational quotes – tell us something about these external forces that drives you ?
At one point in my life I was going through some pretty rough times. Hitting rock bottom really helped me, It made me see life in a way I had never seen before. One day, it dawned on me…Life as to be more than that. There has to be a reason why I am here and it certainly not to be miserable over all the things that are happening to me that I have absolutely no control over.. I then decided to go on a quest to find out more about purpose. I took the exact same approach as when I started photography. I started reading everything I could find on the subject and became obsessed with the matter.
Trying to understand why most people, live their lives being unhappy with their situation, thinking they cannot do anything about it and there is no way out. Why do people blame everyone for the things that are going on in their lives? Why does most people live with excuses in order to justify the reason why they are not where they really want to be. I find it really sad that people prefer staying in their so-called comfort zone than making a move to a better life doing what they were born to do. Fear is our biggest enemy and most fears are simply exaggerated thoughts blown out of proportions. All that because this is the way we were brought up, being told what to do, what to like, what not to like, how to look, how to behave, what’s right and what’s wrong, and worst of all by people that never even followed their purpose and wished they had lived differently.
This is now a big part of my life and I have to admit I have not mastered the subject yet. I know that by posting all these positive/inspirational quotes, I am helping some of my followers make a change for a better life. I often receive very touching message by followers and you have no idea how these make me feel. I have had tears roll down my face reading some of their emotional statements. Knowing that I can make a positive impact on someone else’s life means the world to me. At the end it is all about, How much better have you made your life and the lives of the people around you.
13. What sort of ground work and preparation do you do before you head out to any of your shoot (apart from you being a fitness freak) ?
Besides making sure I have all the appropriate gear and clothing according to the location I will be visiting. Not that much. I like to fond out the key spots but prefer to have no itinerary. I like to “go with the flow “ and get inspired by the location rather than images from other photographers.
14. Whats in the bag on a typical day when you are out shooting Landscapes ?
As we speak this is the arsenal I carry in my F-Stop Tilopa and Guru Bags
Canon 5D Mk II
Nikon 14-24 with canon Adaptor
Canon 70-200 F4 IS
Canon 100-400 IS
Canon Tilt-Shift 24mmII
Lee Foundation Kit & Lee SW 150 Filter Holder
Lee ND Grad Filters 0.3 – 0.6 – 0.9 (Soft and Hard) for foundation Kit
Lee ND Grad Filters 0.6 – 0.9 (Soft and Hard) for SW150 Holder
3 Stop Daryl Benson – Singh-Ray Reverse Grad
105mm Heliopan Polarizer
6×6 Cavision Linear Polarizer
Gitzo Carbon Fibre Traveler Tripod
15. Finally, 3 most important pieces of advice you would like to give budding Landscape photographers ?
1. If that’s what you really want to do, do not pay attention to haters or dream bashers and do what you have to do to make it happen. Believe in yourself, everyday take a step in that direction however small it may seem while always keeping your goal in mind. Act as if you are already the photographer you want to become
2. Get your hands on all the knowledge you can get (books, internet, workshops, seminars etc) and practice, practice, practice, both on the field and with post processing.
3. Do it for you, not to get praises but for the feeling it procures. Do not try to copy but be inspired. Enjoy every moment even the rainy days..beauty lies everywhere.
Stay Strong & Live with Passion
He spent most of his childhood years away from the city, having been raised mostly in the Canadian countryside. From the time of his birth, his experiences in nature was to become a large influence in affecting his ultimate passion for the beauties of the natural world.
His love for the arts has grown throughout the years, and he attributes his devotion to interpreting nature in an artistic manner to his parents’ dedication to the arts. His father, Joseph, was a professional photographer during a period in his life and his mother, Michele, was gifted with artistic talents such as drawing, painting, and interior decorating. Her fine eye for details was a big influence on his perception of nature.
As he started reading everything he could get his hands on about photography, he quickly realized that this was an art form that would enable him to express his inner feelings about the world around him. This soon became an insatiable desire to record the beauty of nature. The camera soon became the perfect medium to express his true inner feelings.
We sincerely thank Patrick Di Fruscia for being very kind in answering our questions. Really appreciate his time and thoughts.