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Yanik Chauvin


Joined DPC: Oct 7, 2002
Giving Thanks
... to drinkable water whenever I want it...
Things That Go Together
And the plot thickens...
Design & Engineering
Architectual curves 1
Nature's Spirals
Fairy Tales
Wood Elf
Macro Without Bugs or Flowers
Tear Drop Blues
Symbol of...
Free Study XII
Making Waves
Honey! I can explain!!!
To spike a drink
Awaiting Enlightenment
After Dark
Guiding Light
Road Signs Re-revisited
Straight & Curved
Never go to bed mad
Stupid, Stupid!
Underwater Drinking Apparatus
Interview Details
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Interview Listing
A DPChallenge Interview with Yanik Chauvin

by Dan Hare (dhare)
Mar 9 2005


Where do you live?

I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario but I work in Gatineau, Quebec (some might call it a different country!! :-))

Tell us about your family/friends. Have you met anyone from DPC?

I’m an only child born and raised in Ottawa. Like Jacko, I’m a rare breed: a native French speaker born outside Quebec. :-)

I haven’t had the pleasure to “meet” people from DPC yet but I do know Parentx (my girlfriend) and DrJOnes, a treasured friend and photography mentor. I introduced them both to DPC a few years back. I almost made it to a Montreal GT… hopefully another GT in Ottawa or Montreal will pop up soon.

What is your occupation?

I’m a massage therapy school director. Like photography, massage is a passion for me. Before being a school director, I had an active practice in Montreal as well as being a massage therapy instructor.

Photography is the essence of who I truly am. I live the moment as much as I can and, camera in hand, I don't have a choice but to be focussed on the moment to capture its simple truth.

How long have you been involved in photography?

Wow, that’s a toughy. My mom would say that from the day I could walk I was stealing her camera and “wasting” her film. :-) She called me “kid Kodak”. My passions switched over the years but when DrJones bought his first digital camera (the Nikon D1X), I had the opportunity to play with it and that rekindled my love for photography. Not long after, I had my Nikon CoolPix 4500 and not long after that, I was on DPC!

Have you won any photographic competitions outside of DPC?

No. I was registered on a few other websites but I lost interest very quickly. They couldn’t offer me what DPC was offering me as a learning experience.

What's your favourite movie?

Now that’s an easy one! HERO with Jet Lee. Blissful art!

What music do you listen to? Do you listen to music while post processing?

My taste in music varies. I like pretty much everything except Country and Rap (tough some Emenem songs are lyrically awesome!). I prefer silence when I post process but not all the time. I enjoy Classical, Blues and 80s rock when I do listen while post processing.

What is your favourite food?

Another easy one! Ice cream!! Some sort of “chocolate fudge brownie explosion” goes really well in my tummy! Mmmmmmmmmmmm…. :-)

Do you have a main source of caffeine? If so, is it Tea, Coffee or Chocolate?

I’m not a coffee or tea drinker. I’m not a caffeine addict at all. I’m a sugar addict though so chocolate falls into that.

Where does the nick "kosmikkreeper" come from?

Yup, I actually give a brief description of my user name on my profile page.

Do you have your own website, if so can I list it here?

I actually have 2. www.touchphotography.com which focuses strictly on my fine art massage photos. I found this niche a few years back and now I have distributors all over selling my 11x14 prints. My personal website is www.yanikchauvin.com and is in the process of being revamped to make it more commercially viable and less of a “here are my photos” website.

If you aren't feeling particularly motivated to take photographs, is there anything you do to give yourself a better frame of mind?

Rarely am I not motivated to take photographs but when it happens I just have a glass of Bailey’s and everything just seems to fall into place. J And if that doesn’t work, I don’t push it further and leave the camera in its bag… tomorrow is another day.

What's your favourite alcoholic drink (if any)?

Bailey’s… from the fridge, straight!


Take us through a history of your camera purchases, both film and digital.

The only film camera I’ve ever owned was some cheap $40 Kodak 35mm fixed lens. I travelled the 5 continents with it and the more it got knocked around the crappier the photos became… so the less photos I took.

I bought my Nikon CoolPix 4500 in August 2002. It was a tough choice between the Canon G3 and this one but I opted for the Coolpix because of its macro capabilities. I still use it once in a while where my D70 can’t fit. My D70 was purchased this summer not too long after it came out.

You currently use a Nikon D70, are you happy with this camera?

Yes I am! It’s a great body and I think it’ll suit my purpose for a couple of years. The colours are so close to reality! I even did some test shots this summer with the D1X and with the same settings and lenses, the picture quality was practically identical. The only thing I sometimes dislike is the ISO 200. Even though the grain isn’t too visible, it’s not as smooth as ISO 100. I see myself using NeatImage for a lot of my stock photos.

Since you own a DSLR, it would be great if you would list the lenses you own, what you think of each lens, and how often each one gets used.

It seems to scream the right composition at me.

I own 3 lenses:

18-70mm kit lens - which is a good walkaround lens. Of course I would love to get the 17-55mm DX but at a $2000.00 CND price tag, I’ll wait just a bit! :-)

Sigma 105mm macro. - Now that’s a crisp and fun lens! Mostly used for macros but sometimes for indoor portraits in low light conditions.

Nikkor 80-400mm VR. - talk about reach! The photos aren’t as crisp as the 70-200mm VR but the reach and range are well worth it.

I actually use all 3 lenses on a regular basis. I don’t really have one that I use more than the others.

Are you considering another camera purchase in the near future? If so, what?

Well, the D2X is coming out…. But J Not for me. I’ve looked at the specs and for my current needs the D70 suits me just fine. If Nikon would produce something in between the D70 and the D2X (like a Canon 20D equivalent) I might consider it.

What annoys you most about your current camera?

What size memory cards do you have?

2GB, 512MB, 256MB

Do you shoot in JPG or RAW mode?

For my personal photography I shoot in JPG. For commercial projects I shoot in RAW.

Have you ever lost any images on memory cards?


What does your home studio consist of, in terms of lighting, backgrounds, etc.

Funny you should ask. Just before Christmas, I purchased 2 Genesis Aurora G400 flashes with softboxes and wireless remote. A few weeks back, I got myself a backdrop portable support from amvona.com as well as a black and a white muslin. I also have an SB-800 speedlight that I can use as a 3rd light source.


Do you use any software for organising your digital pictures?

Nah…. Most seem to organise by date. I organise by theme. For example, I have a “nature” folder with many subfolders like “animals”, “flowers”. And each subfolder has folders as well… ect.. I find it easier to find specific photos since my concept of dates and time is a bit screwed up. :-)

Do you use Photoshop or an alternative? If so what version?

I use PS CS

What Photoshop skills do you consider to be essential to digital photography?

First off, levels and curves. Once you master that, you photos will never look the same. Mastering USM is also important in digital photography since most cameras have a natural “softness” to them. I don’t use the camera’s sharpness option because I want total control of my post processing.

"and the plot thickens..."

Out of your own entries on DPC, what photo had the most digital editing?

Hmmmm…. I would have to say "and the plot thickens…". I did lots of selective post processing to arrive to the final image.

Of course my "before and after… Hulk in therapy" photo is the one that looks the most post processed. :-)

Do you use any other software in relation to digital photos? If so, what?

NeatImage is one that I use regularly. A part from that, on the rare occasion I’ll use Mystical Lighting for some lighting effect or fog.

On the whole, do you prefer a minimalist approach to post editing, a no rules approach, or somewhere in between?

For me anything goes. It all depends what the intention is… what your vision is and what you want to convey. I don’t believe in "photographic integrity". An image is what you make of it; how you dream or imagine it.


"Wood Elf" is your highest scoring image on DPC. Can you take us through the initial conception of this image, and describe any techniques that you used to achieve your vision.

"Wood Elf"

Well, the minute I saw the challenge theme I wanted to shoot something in the woods at the cottage. There’s a nice clearing with mushrooms (not magic unfortunately) so then the idea of an elf came into mind. I was hoping for a bright sunny day put it rained all weekend. For about 30 mins the rain died down a bit and we rushed out and took about a dozen shots. The ear is cut out of cardboard and she’s wearing a cheap Halloween wig.

In post processing, I wanted to create a “magical woods” setting so an orangey diffuse glow on a separate layer was used then played with opacity to get it right. I also wanted it so the elf seemed to be radiating light. I did this by burning around the edges of the photo.

My personal favourite of all your images is "To spike a drink". I like the subtle humour which gives a gentle nudge rather than a slap in the face. I also love the toning and colourisation that you applied to the image. How was this done? The image clarity is superb, how many shots did it take to get this right?

"To spike a drink"

This was shot with my trusty coolpix 4500 in macro mode. I didn’t really do much to it. It looks a lot like the original. I just gave it a sepia tone (greyscale then color balance). The rest of the steps are described on the photo. I took about 60 shots and about 10 of them were good…. This one being the best :-)

One of the types of shots that I often find difficult is the architecture style shot. You have some great images of architecture, including "Architectural curves 1" and "Straight & Curved". What is your setup for these types of shots? What time of day do you usually aim for? How do you decide on the composition?

"Architectural curves 1"

"Straight & Curved"

Well, I can’t take much credit for those 2 shots cuz the building (museum) is VERY photogenic. I usually wait till late afternoon to get good strong shadows. The rest is a joy. Composition? I’ve never really had to think much about composition with this building. It seems to scream the right composition at me. :-) I still haven’t taken any shot of this museum with my D70. Soon…

Some of your best work is with macro captures. What are aspects of macro photography that beginners should be aware of? When you are doing close-ups of eyes, how important are catch lights?

"Tear drop blues"

"Nature's Spirals"

Like other types of photography, light plays a key factor in your macro work. After that… composition. I’ve shot so many “ok” macros but thinking things through and experimenting is the key to successful macro shots.

What has been the hardest image to photograph, out of all of your entries on DPC? Why?

"and the plot thickens…"

Hahahaha… that’s my Cat and fish shot "and the plot thickens…" To get those two to look at each other was hell!!! I got just the one shot after almost an hour of impatience.

"Preserving Champlain Park: which side are you on?" is an interesting photo not just in the execution, but in the conception. What gave you the idea of shooting a shot in daylight and turning it into night time in post-process? Can you give some more detail on this technique?

"Preserving Champlain Park: which side are you on?"

It’s actually quite simple to do. Aiming directly at the sun (metering on the sun), everything around will be dark. All I did after that was to adjust curves and some selective burning and dodging. I then added a slight blue tint for that winter feeling.

"Awaiting Enlightenment" has some magical colours with such a smooth fade it is very pleasing to the eye. How long did you know about this location before you decided to shoot it? A small amount of controversy surrounded this shot, with another similar image taken from the same spot on a different day also doing quite well. I thought it was an interesting idea to see different captures and styles with essentially the same canvas. What are your thoughts on the image?

"Awaiting Enlightenment"

Both shots were taken at our cottage. We have this lovely rock a few feet away from shore. She (parentx) had the idea of the fisherman and I had the idea of meditation. We actually hesitated in submitting both shots because we knew people would notice that is was the same location (even with my photo flipped). There aren’t any rules saying we couldn’t submit a photo from the same location and we both liked our photos so we submitted. And it paid off! :-)

If I could choose one of your images and give it a ribbon, I would select "Father & Son". I think there is an emotional message from this image, something that I find rare and captivating, especially when capturing something so subtle. Can you give any background to this image? Were there any technical difficulties with this shot, as taking silhouettes can be a tricky technique to master.

"Father & Son"

Thank you for the compliment! Actually, not to disappoint you but… I was just playing with my camera settings and took a few shots of my brother-in-law and his son fishing. I wasn’t even thinking of it for the June free study. It’s only after I started post processing it that I saw its true potential as an emotive photo depicting strong family values.

Your first entry was "Apple Skin". If you could critique that now, what would you say? Would you change anything?

"Apple Skin"

Actually, I wouldn’t change a thing. With the equipment I had at the time, I don’t think I would be able to take a better photo today. I would probably change the composition a bit though and put the whole skinned apple on the model with the apple skin to give a better visual interpretation.

Out of the 13 images you have ribboned on, what surprised you the most?

You know how we all hope our images will make the ribbons. :-) Some you know that won’t and others you hope they will. My “Never go to bed mad” shot was one that I thought wouldn’t even come close to ribbon. It was a last minute idea and colors were awful so I submitted it in B&W. Boy was I surprised!

If you would like to explain any more of your images in more depth, please feel free.

If anyone would like detailed explanations on a particular shot, fell free to PM me. :-)


Are there any type of photographic styles/techniques that you don't like?

Not really. Each style has its purpose in the eye of the artist/photographer and that’s what counts.

What is your preferred style of photo? (i.e. macro, landscape, etc)

I have to admit that I do love macro shots! I hope to have the “macro Jacko” settup (inverted 50mm lens) by next summer. I also like wildlife photography. I’m lucky to live so close to Omega Park (www.parc-omega.com). I’m like a kid in a candy store when I go there!!!

Name 5 photos on DPC that inspire you, in order of preference.

I knew this question was coming and it’s a toughy… ok here I go!

"StandinginLine(Big Print)"
by Jeremy West

"This way to granny’s house"
by Gordon Whyte

"Touched by the Evening Light"
by Manuel Librodo Jr.

"Seeking Forgiveness"
by David Sidwell

by Peter Marlin

Name 5 outstanding portfolios of photographers you admire from DPC.

"Jean-Jacques Béguin"

He has a way of seeing things that’s difficult to explain. He truly sees through to eyes of an artist. He understands light and how it affects an image. He’s just a genius!

"Gary K"

Gary (kiwiness) has also strong visual impact in his images. His style is more stock oriented and I must say that his portrait work is also great!

"Peter Marlin"

Peter (Pedro) had some cool stuff in his portfolio! His morning mist series is just awesome as well as many of hi NYC candids.

"Árni Torfason"

Ok, Anri (arnit) is just too funny! :-) His band shots are out of this world and I’ll always be a fan of his “Got Toast?” shot. He has some great sports shots as well.

"Hans Rosemond"

Hans (hanlomba) has some fascinating model work in his portfolio. I really enjoy his setups. His models almost always seem at ease in front of the camera. He’s a big inspiration cuz I’m planning on doing more and more “people” shoots. I’ll be referencing his work for sure!

What are the 5 favourite shots that you have taken, and why?


Probable the best wildlife shot I’ve ever taken. Wolves totally fascinate me.

"Liquid Beauty"

Every time someone looks at it I get a reaction, which is exactly what I wanted to do with this shot. It represents a part of our culture that we try to ignore.


This self portrait has a minimalist approach and I love the emotions it coveys in me.

"Dreams of a photographer..."

I like the ethereal feel of the photo. It has an abstract concept that I enjoyed working with.


This is a pure representation of who I really am.

What do you consider to be important aspects of photography?

As mentioned before, light is what creates a photo so it’s at the top of my list. Then there’s your post processing skills. Thanks to DPC, my post processing skills have improved 100 fold! It gives you the liberty to mould the image to your vision.

Some critics still don't think photography is a form of art. What is your response to this?

Art is very subjective… to each its own.

How many prints do you sell on DPC Prints in a month, on average? What's your best selling image?

Well I have 3 photos that have sold 3 times:

"Preserving Champlain Park: which side are you on?"

"Nature's Spirals"

"Nature's Masterpiece"

My average is about 3 photos a month… it basically gives me enough money to buy some personal prints for free. It’s a great concept. :-)

Are you planning any photo trips in the future? If so, where?

Well, Liette and I are gonna spend 2 weeks in southern France in early June. Trust me, this will be a photo trip!!!! :-P

Who is your favourite photographer outside of DPC? (both film and digital, if you like)

Again, I have a few....

My top would be Tim Flach (www.timflach.com). When I saw his shots my jaw fell to the floor!!

There also Howard Schatz (www.howardschatz.com)… just brilliant stuff.

Do you have any photographic projects outside of DPC?

Yes I do. I’ve been hired by a big US publishing house to shoot the photos for their latest edition of a massage therapy book. 5 full days of shooting. I’m very excited!!

What do you feel is your most underrated shot?

"leaf in Sepia"

That would be my "leaf in Sepia". This is one of my favourite macros and I was sure to make the top 10. :-)


If you could change one thing about DPChallenge, what would it be?

I just can’t think of anything right now. The site is just perfect as is for my needs.

You've been a member since Oct. 7th, 2002. How did you find out about DPC?

I did an internet search on Google looking for photography competitions.

What was your motivation for joining DPC back then?, Is your motivation for continuing to participate any different today?

My main motivation was to learn how to use a camera. Heck, when I joined, I didn’t even know what an f-stop was not to mention DOF…. :-)

And now I stick around mostly to keep my creative juices going and learn from the wonderful photos that pop up. There are some awesome photogs here!!!

If you could offer some advice to somebody who is new to DPC and submitting to DPC challenges, what would it be?

Be creative and don’t be afraid to test your camera to its fullest potential. Oh, and read all of the “tutorials” and “how’d they do that?” sections of the site.

Since challenge entries are pretty much a part of your "permanent record", in retrospect, are there any pictures you wish you hadn't submitted to a challenge?

Sure a couple… I didn’t like them at the time but submitted them anyways. "Stoned Blue", and the "Just Chew It!","Bug on Banana"

How do you decide which challenges you are going to enter and which ones you'll skip?

At the moment its, easy. When I have the time! :-)

Do you regularly seek assistance outside of the DPC community in trying to determine which of your photos you should submit?

Rarely, but once in a while when indecision sets in, I ask DrJones’ advice. And of course, parentx is always there to give her 2 cents worth. :-)

If you could personally ask Drew & Langdon for one new site feature or enhancement, what would it be?

To increase the number of the top favourite photogs. Right now we can only see 15 but I’d like to know where I rank. Maybe include it on our profile page.

Final Question

Why do you enjoy photography?

Here’s a quote from my future website:

Photography is the essence of who I truly am. I live the moment as much as I can and, camera in hand, I don't have a choice but to be focussed on the moment to capture its simple truth.

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