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I am Nikonians

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) Interview

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)


Keywords: wildlife, macro, street, portrait, travel, photography, sevendayimages

Tom rejoined Nikonians after several years with a busy family and professional commitments.  He remembers receiving his first camera from his parents when he was about 12 years old, a Praktica MTL50 with 50 and 135mm Pentacon lenses, and Tom reports, “I was hooked from that moment on. After reading a lot of books (and testing all kinds of Ilford, Kodak or Fuji film) I stumbled on the works of Philip Jones-Griffiths, Ernst Haas and Werner Bischof, and then when I saw the work of Steve McCurry I decided I had to buy myself a Nikon (started with a Nikon FM10 on to a F90x on to a F4)

01

Two Boys. Africa.
Nikon D2X, 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S @ f/5.6, ISO 125
Click for an enlargement

 

I went on to study filmmaking (social documentaries) but always held a passion for photography because it’s such a strong medium to bring emotions to people. After my studies I moved to Spain, where I still live after over 20 years, right on the coast at the Costa Brava where the climate is much better all year through than in my home country. I live at only 5 minutes from a big Nature Reserve so that gives me plenty of opportunity to get some macro photography done when I cannot travel.”

02

Three Girls. Delhi
Nikon D2X, 24-70mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6, ISO 100
Click for an enlargement

 

Of his preferences for photography Tom states that he loves travel, street photography/portraits, and macro work.  He shares: “I love human emotions in my photography, because I feel it tells a story directly to the viewer. I am not a good landscape photographer, I try sometimes and I can really appreciate it, but I miss the human factor. I have seen some beautiful scenery in the world, but I try to include some human detail... I guess it’s my way of ‘seeing’ the world. I love to travel and to get into a country and soak up as much as I can.” Tom finds that he loves to travel with his wife and 2 daughters enjoying their adventurous spirit. “When on a trip I get up early for some photography before they are awake and then during the day whenever the moment arises. I just recently started with macro photography just because I am fascinated with those super macro shots (2:1 and above) and love to share them with my children and let them see ‘the little world’.”

03

Angkor Wat Boys
Nikon D2X, 50mm f/1.4 @ f/4.5, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

Of Nikonians, Tom writes, “I think I found out about Nikonians around the year 2005, just before my first daughter was born while looking the net about some photo travel information. I immediately saw that it was a great site with a lot of really useful information and people from all over the world sharing their thoughts and help with the Nikon gear I was using. I think at that time membership was free still, but I have no problem with paying a fee for something I know is going to help me grow in my hobby. I mean, paying a Silver Membership for a year will only cost as much as 20 coffees and you get a lot in return.”

04

Chiara
Nikon D2X, 24mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6, ISO 160, SB-800
Click for an enlargement

 

Tom reports that when reading on the various forums at Nikonians.org he has found information that he has been looking for, stating that he gained a lot of knowledge that would have been impossible to find in books with the fast changing world of photography.  He also found that “…the ‘way’ indicated in your trusted book is not the best or easiest and there are people out there doing the same work with different approaches and posting superb images.” As an example Tom refers to Philippe Clement Photophil)’s posts in the Wildlife Forum  appreciating the adventures and some of the useful tips that one wouldn’t find in a handbook.

05

Girl. Senegal. Best of Nikonians 2016 Winner
Nikon D2X, 50mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6, ISO 160
Click for an enlargement

 

Since Tom has a particular love of travel and social photography he reports that he can travel light with respect to gear. He shares some preferences as to lenses that would be helpful for others setting out to do this kind of photography, “If I have to choose one lens it would probably be the 24-70mm because it gives me all the room necessary to do people or portrait photography and include a bit of background. That said, I love my 50mm f/1.4 and 24mm f/2.8 because it makes me move myself and look for the best angle.” 

He also shares some great thoughts in working with people. “The best way I found out to do my street & people photography is to have a small talk with them, maybe showing some pictures of my family (this works good in Asia I find) and then ‘snap’ away some first shots – most people are a bit intimidated when you start shooting with a big DSLR – and when they think it’s done, then it’s the moment the make those relaxed, natural but posed shots which I like. Sometimes people so much want to be photographed they run off, dress quickly their best (or their children) to look good in the picture and it makes it difficult for me to tell them I just want to photograph them as they are. I think having respect, knowledge of cultures and being ok with a ‘no’ are the most important assets to this kind of photography.”

06

India Train
Nikon D2X, 24mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
Click for an enlargement

 

Of memorable moments, “When I was younger and in that ‘irresponsible age’ … I found myself at the back of a 50cc motorcycle with a complete stranger bumping up some hill in Bali to see some Moon Festival ...I slowed that down a bit now since having children and try to think twice about if it’s worth it. I had a lot of terrific moments after taking pictures people invited me to their houses and gave me some of the little food they had and wanted to know so many things. Probably my best memorable moments were doing some work through India and Sri Lanka with street kids, seeing a wild tiger in the Ranthambore National Park coming out of the bush at 2 meters’ distance from my jeep, having a male Asian elephant coming to check out our open car to see if I was any threat to the group (he gave me a push with his trunk) or having dolphins jump right next to my little wooden canoe in Africa.” 

07

Jumping Spider
D2X, reversed EL50mm with 49mm extension tubes, @ f/11, ISO 160 SB28 + diffuser
Click for an enlargement

 

Recently Tom has been posting some of his macro images on the Wildlife and Macro forums and he plans to continue exploring the world of macro photography, “As you can read in the forums I am using a Nikon EL50mm (enlarger lens) reverse mounted on extension tubes to get a higher than 1:1 magnification. Sometimes making a lot of shots for 1 picture with the reverse lens can get frustrating (wind, very small DOF, limited visibility through the viewfinder.   Soon I will buy a 105mm f/2.8 Nikkor to get some shots more easily.” 

08

Fly Head Up Close
D2X, Reversed EL50mm, 49mm ext. tubes @ f/11, ISO 160 SB-28 + diffuser
Click for an enlargement

 

Tom encouraged and invited new members to post their images and questions putting any hesitation out of their mind.  He states, “It is a great opportunity to learn from people who share your own Nikon passion.  Who would be better in giving you positive advice and help you to take shots you dream of taking?”

09

Taj Mahal Gardener
Nikon D2X, 24mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6, ISO 200
Click for an enlargement

 

Tom clearly reveals the heart of an adventurer, an innovator and a world citizen.  He spent time in the wee hours of the night to complete this interview and we thank him for the effort and all that he has shared.

 

 

(15 Votes )

Originally written on July 5, 2017

Last updated on November 3, 2017

Marsha Edmunds Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2)

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Lethbridge, Canada
Moderator, 6039 posts

More articles by Marsha Edmunds

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18 comments

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on August 19, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Hola amigo :) I was about to write you (concerning the past events) but you beat me now. Thank you very much for your kind words, and yes, we have to make time past the Summer and catch up. I am sure the wifes would love to shop and we can have the beer ;) Dale, if you read this, book a flight and join us! Cheers,

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on August 19, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Thanks Mark :) I have a feeling you are getting fast up to speed here at Nikonians and good underway with your macro shots. It's a great hobby and we all can inspire and learn here! Cheers

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on August 19, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Thank you Tadeus, glad you enjoyed the interview :) I just scribbled some words down and send the pictures of to Marsha, who did all the hard work. Happy shooting!

Jordi Viñas Bascompte (jordivb) on August 18, 2017

Great interview, as usual with Marsha. I always find your travel and street shots lovely. Was really interesting ti know more about Tom too. Despite we only live 2 hours apart, we still never found time to have tat cup of cofee. I'm sure we'll find it some time after summer holidays. Dale, you know now that Tom's right: there are a ton of interesting things and places to see in between Manresa and the upper end of the Costa Brava, where Tom lives. We need to better schedule Our meeting next time..... Kind regards

Jordi Viñas Bascompte (jordivb) on August 18, 2017

Great interview, as usual with Marsha. I always find your travel and street shots lovely. Was really interesting ti know more about Tom too. Despite we only live 2 hours apart, we still never found time to have tat cup of cofee. I'm sure we'll find it some time after summer holidays. Dale, you know now that Tom's right: there are a ton of interesting things and places to see in between Manresa and the upper end of the Costa Brava, where Tom lives. We need to better schedule Our meeting next time..... Kind regards

Mark Roberts (mrob) on August 17, 2017

Great interview Tom, I enjoyed your story as well as your photo's. Your street, people and macro photography is just amazing. You have much talent and I thank you for sharing it with us. Mark

Tadeus Rafael Kubraniec (zita003) on August 16, 2017

Nice review. Great images. Enjoyed to have some of them here summarized.

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on July 15, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Thanks Dan :) You are always helpful with comments too in the forums, which is very nice. Would love to see some more Street photography from you soon, ok? :) Cheers

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on July 15, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Thank you so much for that friendship comment Dale. I picked something up from Jordi that you visited, but indeed Time is Always Short. Although he lives only about 2 hours away, there are sooo many nice places to see in between. We (my family) are starting to think about our holiday in December -my wife wants to go to the US too now- and of course when we come near I will let you know…I so would like to see those amazing Mustangs (and wear a cowboy hat while shooting pictures) :) You are most kind with your words my friend. Part of it all is Nikonians being such a wonderful community of course. Cheers and greetings to Jackie!

Dan Mitchell (danmitch) on July 13, 2017

Great to see your beautiful work showcased and hear some more of your story Tom. Thank you Marsha for your work in putting this together.

Dale Maas (marnigirl) on July 13, 2017

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Hi Tom, I knew you were a world traveler after seeing many of your wonderful posts. I had the good fortune to visit Spain this last Spring and stay with the wonderful family of fellow Nikonian (Jordi). My wife and I were so impressed by the friendly people and the amount of time that Jordi and family devoted to us in order to see 'their' Spain. We did get to Costa Brava for a few hours but I believe it was quite a bit south of where you live. However, as you know, when you are visiting there is never enough time for everything. Therefore we did not get to try and find you. Sorry, maybe next time. I have always admired your enthusiasm in your posts and you have a way of making other Nikonians feel good about the image they have uploaded. I, like you, have lived in quite a few places. Seven areas outside the U. S. and over ten different states within the U.S.. That does not include countries and states just visited. I hope you know that you have an open invitation to come to AZ. Jackie and I will show you the "Wild West" and get some Mustang images. Keep up your enthusiasm Tom, you certainly have a winning spirit and great photographic expertise. Your Friend and Fellow Nikonian, Dale

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on July 11, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Marsha, you are too kind :) I spend some hour(s) writing up this article, but I am sure you are into wee hours more days a week for Nikonians. Credit to you for getting this all done. I would love to be able to join an ANPAT one time and ‘see’ some of you, which I am sure above all is good fun. I do have a picture from me and the Taj mahal gardener..I should maybe post it one day ;) Thanks again..

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on July 9, 2017

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Tom, Your people oriented shots reveal something about you that we already know on Nikonians from interacting with you but without seeing you. These images reveal a charming and pleasant fellow from the expressions of your subjects and their willingness to have you photograph them. Your ingenuity with your macro shots is extraordinary and your skill with engaging others and snapping a shot at a wonderful moment is unmatched. I really enjoyed coordinating this with you.

Tom Jacob (sevendayimages) on July 7, 2017

Awarded for his continuous knowledge and images sharing with community members Awarded for his win at the Best of Nikonians 2016 Photo Contest

Thank you Sarah, Birdie, Dave and Donna for your kind comments. In a way it’s nice to know a person behind the name you always see or reply to. As told to Marsha (and a big thanks again my friend) a lot of nice things have happened to me over the past year since coming back to Nikonians, one of them finding such great people. Thank you all :)

Donna Knodle (dgknodle) on July 7, 2017

I really enjoyed reading more about you, Tom. I love your macro photography, but your real talent lies in capturing the human emotions in your shots. Each one of your "people" captures makes one stop and think about that special moment when you clicked the shutter. Again, you expressed yourself so well in this article and Marsha did a wonderful job in posting it.

David Summers (dm1dave) on July 7, 2017

Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Another great edition of 'I am Nikonians.' .... Thank you Tom, keep up the great work!

Roberta Davidson (birdied) on July 7, 2017

Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest

What a pleasure to read your thoughts and insights Tom. I have only know your macro work and it is so nice to see where your other photographic talents are. Wonderful people photos. Birdie

Sarah Boser (Sarah9) on July 6, 2017

Tom, the heart of an adventurer, indeed! Thanks for sharing your philosophy and your photos. I appreciate both. I especially love your last photo, Taj Mahal Gardener, with it's grand background and the gentleman carefully tending to it's path with just a small hand tool. Beautiful!

G