Kei Nomiyama won the 2016 Open competition, with his image ‘Enchanted Bamboo Forest.’ Kei takes nature and wildlife photos all over the world whilst studying environmental pollution. He is an environmental Scientist by profession and has been exhibited by many news, media companies, and websites of all over the world.
Hi Kei, congratulations on winning Open Photographer of the Year in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards. In terms of the practicalities, how did you capture these Fireflies?
In recent years, I keep taking photos with the same theme of the firefly. In Japan, the firefly season comes at the beginning of rainy season. These photos were captured on mountains in the Shikoku Island, the smallest of Japan's four main islands.
These firefly photos were taken after extensive preparation. I spent over 4 years finding the right areas to shoot in. Once I found the area, I went to back and investigated an exact shooting location for several days. That was necessary to find the perfect location and shooting time. The perfect exposure and settings were derived by shooting several images and reviewing them. I took some photos by using composite technique and high ISO speed under the weak moonlight, exposure time totaled over 30 minutes.
How do you feel your scientific background influences your image making?
I'm a scientist and not a professional photographer. However, these activities lead me in the same direction. My basic way of thinking is as one who loves nature and animals. I became a scientist to protect nature, and I have an interest in photography to record nature. I am looking for the chance to emphasize the importance of conserving beautiful nature and wildlife. Maybe that’s the same feeling of other scientists. The importance of our subjects can be told by some contests, my HP, news and SNS media.
Will you be entering the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards? What first made you enter the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards?
Of course! 2016 was the first time I entered the Sony World Photography Awards competition. I’m looking for the chance to emphasize the importance of conserving beautiful nature and wildlife. Maybe that’s the same feeling of other scientists. The importance of our subjects can be told by wonderful contests such as Sony World Photography Awards. I think that many environmental photographers will value such contests.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
I think that's a difficult question, but when taking a photograph of nature, I don't forget to respect nature and look upon it in awe.
Where in the world are you and what’s next for you?
That isn't decided yet. But I may go to the polar regions.