Nature Guide and Photographer Makoto Ando Explains Why he Chooses Lumix
A nature guide-cum-photographer, and a compact digital camera.
I’m a nature guide and photographer, born in Japan and based in both Alaska and eastern Hokkaido.
I first started using LUMIX more then ten years ago with the LX1 and as my photography improved I transitioned to the LX2, LX3, LX5, LX7, and LX100. Today I like using the GH4 too, especially for its 4K video capabilities.
There are many reasons I chose to go with LUMIX over other popular brands, but in the better part of a year that I’ve been working in the wild, the Leica lens and its extraordinary performance has been a very important part of my success in the field. It has both the depictive and expressive power that makes me excited to take photographs, be they of flora or fauna, insects, scenery, or people in the wilderness. What I mean to say is, there’s a sense of excitement that comes with instantly capturing the moment I am experiencing. And then there’s the question of whether that soul-shaking instant may be recreated once the digital image appears on my computer monitor.
I became a professional photographer in the first place because I felt that words alone weren’t enough to express the connection I felt to the wildlife of Alaska and Hokkaido when I guided people on tours to these locations. It made sense to me because I had been interested in cameras since I was 13 years-old, but I only seriously began to look into camera performance and direction once I decided to integrate photography into my touring work.
I began to use the LX 1 and now regularly use the LX100 because they’re easy to operate without switching out lenses and I can carry them around in my pocket. Its functionality with descriptive and expressive power were both major perks, but speed was another factor – if I see a shot I want, all I have to do is pull out my camera and make the image without having to scroll through a more extensive menu screen. The LX100 is like a modern analog camera — complete with dial layout, finder, and everything. Just another reason the LUMIX compact digital camera works well with my photographic style and direction.
The bulky single-lens reflex camera is vital to my work too, of course, but you simply can’t afford to haul it around and fiddle with the settings before every shot. In contrast, the LUMIWX camera I have simply slides out of my pocket when I catch the perfect shot of the staff at work, guests on tour, nature in action, anything like that, which is important to me as a nature guide.
I wanted a camera capable of taking advantage of those perfect shots; one that allowed me use my images to interpret my intended sense and creativity through the images I took with it. And the LUMIX’s compact body houses diverse filters, multi-exposure functionality, plus on board storage for RAW images.
Further, not to be outdone by the other trendsetters in high-definition, the LX1 to LX100 features the consistently vivid F family of Leica lenses to provide a realistic, high-resolution image. The video support and the brand’s attention to quality are another reason I’ve stuck with the Lumix brand for so long.
As a professional nature guide and photographer, I am frequently asked by both coworkers and guests alike, how I select the equipment I use, and as I share my successes and mistakes in the field I continue to point them toward Panasonic Lumix gear. Having guests come to me later and hearing them tell me how they purchased a camera for themselves and how happy they were with it truly makes me feel as though I’ve carried out a vital aspect of a guide’s work.
People come not only from Japan but from all over the world to experience the natural beauty and wonder that Alaska and Hokkaido both have to offer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional photographer, an amateur, or someone who likes snapping pictures with their mobile phone, bringing home memories of an outdoor experience and sharing them with friends and family is so important for public awareness and enjoyment of nature. Creativity at its best, photography truly provides an avenue to treating nature, and the rest of your subjects, “Politely.”
Makoto Ando is a Nature’s Best Photography Asia Lumix Ambassador based in Hokkaido, Japan. Visit online at hickorywind.jp. Learn more about Lumix cameras at www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/index.html