Last updated: 20/01/2017 [Design & Pictures by Simons Nature]
Profil

Profil

Visited countries

Travel, my big hobby and the inspiration for my life. Overall, I've been in over 70 countries, sometimes just for a few days, another time for several weeks. Relatively unknown once are among them such as Ethiopia or Suriname, but also hot spots like Kenya or South Africa, as well as classical city states like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Personal

Name
Simon Blättler
place of Residence
Stallikon, Switzerland
Birthday
29th of August 1977
Occupation
Project Manager
Education
Bachelor of Engineering, degree course in Computer Science
Executive Master of Business Administration UAS
IPMA Level C

Adventure

The first time ... indescribable. Three ... two ... one ... jumping ...
Before the bungee jumping a bit of a washing machine feeling. The hardest raft I've ever done ... including "flipping out of the boat", "enjoying African river water", "being rescued"...
With the Land Rover Defender over stone ... or through the mud, anyway. A few impressions from Scandinavia and Germany on the road. It was an absolutely fantastic adventure.

Interview - 2012

Question:
Simon, how did you get into photography?
Simon:
Actually, everything has started as I got my first SLR camera, of course an analogue model (Minolta), on my 20th birthday from my mother. I took this camera with me on my first big trip, this time to Australia. I used more than 30 film rolls, each with 36 pictures, and was very delighted by the result. But it was more or less just simply taking pictures and not really creating atmosphere and content.
Question:
You combine your travels with photography, not. What excites you to travel in fairly rough areas? What motivates you?
Simon:
As I already said, I travelled in my early twenties to Australia, more precise to Cairns in Queensland. There, I visited more or less intense an English class to improve my language skills. Cairns is a great spot to do some adventures in the surroundings and with the great barrier reef just outside the door a perfect place to do some scuba diving. Nature has always fascinated me perhaps due to the fact that I grow up in an old farmhouse a bit away from the village centre. We had sheep, chickens, rabbits, cats, a dog, tortoises and guinea pigs. With my siblings, I have three; we have been often out in the forest and have experienced some great adventures. I am very grateful to my parents that they have made this childhood possible. I think this is the main reason why I love nature and adventure. To be on the road in Switzerland is also very appealing, but the exotic places calls me much often during the year; the noise in the rain forest early in the morning, hiking in unspoiled nature, far away from civilization; the silence in the desert, living on a beach on a deserted island. I could go on forever with examples. In the meanwhile I have visited fifty different countries, some places only a few days, some for weeks. It excites me just to go anywhere where it is safely possible, especially countries which are not overrun by tourism. I have no problems to be alone in a cottage in the forest, but it stresses me to be in cities with millions of tourists on the road.
Question:
WWhat then was the loneliest thing what you have ever done?
Simon:
Special and a bit weird was my stay in Belize. I had heard that the chance to see jaguars in the wild shall be relatively large in the Cocksomb basin in the Maya Mountains (unfortunately I have not seen one). To be able to stay in this area, I organized a bed in a research station inside the National Park. There was just one ranger who got drunk every single night and went to bed early so I had the feeling to be alone in this place. I lived in a hut without electricity or running water, sharing the cabin with cockroaches and mice, sharing food with ant and other insects. I brought some tortillas, beans and corn with me and eat these things be the shine of my flashlight. As soon as some food package was open I had to hang it up on a wire to prevent it getting eaten by animals. This worked out very well but still I had to check the food carefully before I could eat it not to have some additional protein in the shape of ants inside the tortilla. Something similar happens to me when I visited the Kubah National Park in Malaysia. Again, I was there be myself living in a cabin (more luxury than the one in Belize) and had to defend my food against ants. Luckily, there was a fridge where I could store my food… but after three days only with crackers and tuna I was happy the get real food on the airport in Borneo.
Question:
You're traveling a lot. Have you already had problems in your travels?
Simon:
Sure, this happens regularly. Once, I was just a week in Nepal and wanted to go to India, I had to wait three full days in Kathmandu to be able to catch the flight to Delhi. Due to fog and other circumstances no plane left the airport. It was quite nerve-wracking, every morning at the airport, waiting until dawn, then back again into a hotel. Luckily for me, the airline and on the first day, my local guide supported me partly good, but the situation was still chaotic. In my passport I have three exit stamps from Nepal, but only one entry due this adventure. The troubles went further in India. When I arrived in Delhi, it was actually agreed that I would get picked up by somebody at the airport to assist me bringing me together with the group I was supposed to meet in Delhi, but of course, they had already left. Unfortunately this did not work out; there was no one at the airport. The only way not to go completely lost was to seek out the address of the hotel where the group had spent the night before leaving. So I have arranged a taxi (cabs in India are more held together by a coat of paint than by metal) which brought me, after a long search, to the joining hotel. Luckily, the owner knew who he had to contact to get help. Finally, by train, I catch up the group somewhere in Rajasthan, one minute before midnight, 31 December 09.
Common problems are uncountable during such a trip. Is it food, a cold, problems with flights, taxi drivers who smell the big business and so on and so on. To fly to some airstrips in the middle of the jungle with a small plane is always quite exiting. Once I had a pilot who has read newspaper during the flight. Or another one wants to show me how a brave man he is and flew only a few meters about ground over the Savannah.
Question:
If you are telling one can see your eyes light up. I think you could much longer about your travels. But let's talk about photography. What kind of equipment do you use?
Simon:
Yes, I feel again the fire in me; the travel bug grabs me again even when just telling. I could go on for hours, buffalo and zebras next to our tent, Jaguar roar in Brazil, encounters with snakes and spiders, voices in India without seeing people, etc. But yes you want to know something about photography. So, my equipment is entirely by Nikon. The cameras are just better in my hand than the one from the competitors. The picture quality is phenomenal and the lenses fit perfectly to the bodies, Quality from A to Z. I need a camera that works well in rain and cold without compromise. All my lenses are made by Nikon. Before a trip, in each case I have to decide which one I would like to carry around with me. Even so the case with the equipment is as heavy as the rest of the luggage. Example, if I plan to make pictures of animals, my 200-400mm f/4G zoom NIKKOR lens is always part of my luggage. I love this lens, although it alone already weighs more than 3 kg. It is simply feels good in the hand and the image quality is excellent. Due to the different focal length, it is also flexible. I remember Costa Rica. With this big lens, I was the attraction in the National Park, sometimes this annoys me. It just does not discreet. Otherwise, for traveling or trekking, I use the AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G. The focal range is optimal and it weighs not so much. Next I have wide angle, a macro and some standard lenses, each of which ends in the luggage depending on the situation. Then of course a flash and some small parts such as batteries and filters.
Question:
Keyword filter: What kind of filters do you use?
Simon:
Actually, I use filters not very often. I recently re-bought a polarizing filter, which was no longer to be used due to lack of quality. It has formed fissures. Otherwise, I've bought a set of neutral density filter to be able to take pictures with long exposures even in bright light conditions. It comes mostly in use with object containing water like waterfalls or waves on the shore of the sea.
Question:
Have you already destroyed cameras or lenses?
Simon:
The equipment has to be resistant to rough conditions, I do not conserve it. It has to work in rain, snow, ice, deserts and so on; most of the parts are still intact. Signs of wear such as loose rubber parts and similar things happen of course. But as mentioned above, the equipment from Nikon is very robust. Once, however, a lapse has happened to me. I wanted to take pictures from Kathmandu by night out of my hotel room as I drop the camera out of the window. Just like that and tilted away, I think it was around four meter below, pitched somewhere. When I got at the reception to describe my misfortune, the concierge has all taken with humor. Quickly, I was surrounded by many young men who would help me to find the camera. And indeed, they brought me my fallen piece a few minutes later back, a little worse for wear, but still usable. The lens is broken since then, but I've used it for many shots in Nepal and India. And, now I have a unique picture of a falling camera in Kathmandu...
Question:
Do you have your own favorite photos?
Simon:
Oh, there are many I like. Highlights certainly are the pictures of tigers from India. I’m proud of them, and these cats fascinating me even more since I saw them in the wild; Powerful, big, proud and incredibly impressive. In addition, of course, the lion images from Uganda are great as well. I laid on the roof top of the truck, the camera ready, and maybe five meter away, the lion on the tree. He had just to jump to grab me. But luckily he had his stomac already full :-). Actually, I like all the pictures depicted in action, a particularly beautiful bird or other rare animals. I am critical of images from cities. But that probably has to do with my preference for nature. Ah, and do not forget pictures of people. Especially the pictures from Lao come to my mind which I took on a two-day boat trip on the Mekong River; gold seekers, fishermen and children playing. In the section "Selection", it has a few pictures of people as well as in the galleries of course.
Question:
Do you have plans for the future regarding the website, photography and travel?
Simon:
For the homepage I would further streamline the content and sort out images. Otherwise, it is just too much. I would like to improve the ability to order some pictures. The rest happens usually spontaneously. About planned trips; I do not have booked something but I would like to travel back to Africa. Currently, I have a bit enough of Asia. This year I was in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. Regarding photography, I've looked at the new Nikon, but I will still wait to buy a new body. The D700 is a great camera and I don't see a reason to spend much money on the D800. For images and motifs I have always ideas but I have quite a demanding job on not much time for such a time consuming hobby.
Question:
What do you think about the countries that you have seen so far? What about the people?
Simon:
I think something of the most important things for now and the future is the tolerance towards foreigners. Every culture has grown and is no worse than another. We in Europe are definitely privileged. Regarding welfare, education and safety, we cannot complain. I also think that there are enough people on the planet. I just came back from China a few weeks ago. It is unbelievable how many people share the rare space in the cities. We are definitely enough; nature is pushed to the margins more and more. I understand when people use natural resources in an inappropriate way to increase their personal income very well. If one has nothing to eat, why shall the one take care of the nature? I also have some sympathy for it. But trade of wild animals, wild animal products and natural treasures out of pure profit I condemn in the strongest terms. For me, this kind of people shall be removed from this planet. I'm sorry to say it so hard, but it makes me unbelievable angry and sad. All the money in the world cannot replace an extinct species.
I hope that we can live peacefully with nature, appreciate and protect nature, we are part of it. Without nature, we will be gone from this planet very soon.
Question:
Thanks for your detailed answers. We're looking forward to new pictures and stories of you. All the best for your further adventures!
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