Interview with Sylvia Knittel Drone and Landscape Photographer by Katherine Nielsen

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I was into photography when I was twenty but quit when digital photography came up. Why?  Because the quality was too bad and the camera’s were too expensive. In my job in communications I often work with photographers, so never lost the connection. I didn’t return to photography until 2015 when I bought my first DSLR. Then things went fast. Now I mostly capture landscape and nature  with my DSLRs and drone. 

I live and work in Stuttgart in southern Germany. Photography is more than a hobby for me, because it takes me outside at the oddest times of the day to experience the most beautiful light that enchants everything. I love landscape photography, but I also do portraits of plants and of gardens.

Sylvia Knittel interview

What led you to drone photography?

I love seeing the world from above but get awfully seasick while flying with very small planes. After the last experience I decided that I will have a drone.

What inspires your creative vision?

Ever-changing nature. You can go to the same place several times and you will never take the same picture. Everything moves, grows, changes, the light never is the same, you only have to watch.

Sylvia Knittel interview

Can you talk me through your editing process as well as some of your favourite editing apps?

I do nearly everything in Lightroom. I first sort out the bad ones. The flagged pictures I develop first, adjusting whites and blacks, lights and shadows. Maybe I add a GND filter or remove occasional sensor spots. That’s it for most. For me, the picture gets born in the camera, not in editing software.

Sylvia Knittel interview

Are there any places you wish you could photograph from the air?

Oh, there are many, I‘d love to do the structures of desert from above.

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What equipment are you currently flying with and any must have accessories?

Mavic 2 Pro. The must have accessories are the ND and polarizer filters. I’m thinking of buying the console as my mobile always run out of battery and the screen is much better in sunny conditions.

What image are you currently most proud of?

The frosted trees that disappear in a sea of fog. It’s so simple but special with the contrasting warmth of the soil full of fallen leaves.

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What has been your most memorable travel experience?

In 2017 I traveled seven weeks alone in the Northwest of US. To be completely on my own in this diverse landscapes of desert, mountains, jungle and sea was an experience I will never forget. At this time I didn’t do drone photography yet.

Do you have a favourite perspective you like to capture?

No, I always let my Mavic inspire me.

Sylvia Knittel Interview With the Creative Series

Which drone/aerial photographers inspire you right now and why?

Stefan Forster. He‘s a swiss photographer and filmer, he flies drones since the first days, even built them. I love his awesome perspectives, his adventurous and smooth flights and the natural colours.

Do you have any epic drone failures or crash stories?

Not yet - fingers crossed! Flying in Greenland next summer will be difficult because of the GPS failures and Fly aways that happen there very often but I hope my drone will survive.

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Do you have an exciting projects you are currently working on? I‘m going to Greenland in summer for the second time, now with my drone. I never get bored of icebergs and I want to capture some of those beauties from above. The landscape is simply breathtaking!

Finally do you have any advice for aspiring aerial photographers?

Learn to fly. Hours and hours of training will make you a good drone pilot and photographer. Try to find a style and perspectives that are your own. Be inspired by others and try to figure out, how they do it, but never imitate. And remember: The best things are right in front of you, you only have to open your eyes.

My website: www.sylviaknittel.com

Instagram @sylviekah

Sylvia Knittel Interview