Andreas Hohl - Fine Artist

Andreas Hohl

Tucson, AZ - United States

 
 
 

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Andreas Hohl

Tucson, AZ - United States

Andreas Hohl - Fine Artist

Member Since:

May 3rd, 2012

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About Andreas Hohl

A little about 'Andreas the Shooter' - owner of VaderVideo.com - 'a small, but personable video production company and stock footage provider.'

Originally from Switzerland, I immigrated and of course lived with my parents in the early sixties and settled in Vermont. At around the age of 7, I learned about photography with the help of my father. I remember when he first lent and showed me how to use his 'Edixa' 35mm camera. We worked (in a very small bathroom) on developing and processing our own black and white photos.

I lived in Vermont until I turned 16 which also happened to be the day that I flew back to Switzerland to start my mechanical engineering schooling. I was always fascinated by mechanical things from trains to gears, and of course cameras. Every once in a while, I would grab the camera and take shots of inanimate objects, particularly mechanical things. Of course while traveling on school trips into the alps, the subject matter would change to landscapes, but that was not as interesting at the time. In retrospect, perhaps I was a bit naive.

1979 - Back in the USA, Tucson, Arizona to be exact...
After graduating, I returned to the US only to find myself fascinated by computers. After all, I had seen these big CNC machines at the Swiss company I worked at act as robots and wanted to learn how to make them do that. Again, mechanical intrigue. So I learned computer programming and did that for several years. I was literally involved in the PC industry when the very first PC came of the line at IBM. But even then, it just left me wanting and my creativity was stagnant. I worked for one of the very first computer dealers in Tucson, then after finishing up at Pima College, left for California in '83.

Forced into my own business in '85
Still programming, I ended up doing some freelance work and writing some custom software for a little company called General Electric. It was their appliance sales division. Sure it was creative as far as programming goes, but I never really saw anything tangible that I could point at. It was this job that put me into my own business. Shortly thereafter I ended up taking over my clients from the computer dealership I was working for at the time. The dealership was going bankrupt. I now had and was working my clients through my bedroom. Unheard of at the time as any dealer required a real store front. At the same time I was traveling as a subcontractor on the trade show circuit and realizing that creativity was a winning model. I had now also started an import company specializing in low voltage lighting systems from Switzerland and needed to photograph the products, of course! One day I get a call that invites me to 'light up' the Polaroid booth for a large photo trade show in Las Vegas. Perhaps a coincidence or a sign?

A new camera with autofocus and modern lenses...
Along comes this sales contest from Intel. The grand prize? A full and complete 35mm camera setup from Pentax. Here we go again. I won. Perhaps yet another sign? Of course this was all while still dreaming of the day when we could process images with a computer, it just wasn't there yet. Flatbed scanners were just coming to life. So were the 35mm negative scanners. But unfortunately way out of my price range. I shot very little, as processing and time would still stagnate perception of time. But I did start experimenting again. Of course the Polaroid thing kept me going with their 'Instamatics'. Wow, immediate gratification and results!
'Fast Forward' to a new digital era...

One of my rigs today.
It was the late 2000's when I first picked up on this new digital sensor happening. There was this client of mine called Silicon Film. They tried to develop a digital sensor that would actually fit inside a 35mm camera. A novel idea. But getting to market was another thing. It was very soon thereafter that the first digital cameras started appearing on the shelves. My first one was an Olympus. Silicon Film went out of business virtually overnight. But again, I wondered, dealing with this company.... was it a sign?


Still cameras are fine. But, what about motion picture?
I was now intrigued with technology. Particularly since I was knowledgeable about computers. I now also jumped into the world of digital video. I purchased a Sony DVCam and learned about FireWire, not to mention non-linear editing. Now this was really cool. I started shooting all kinds of things. Experimenting. Shooting. Editing. Shooting. But all without a clue of why or what I would use this footage for. It was just a lot of fun. I even entered a video contest with LG Electronics. It was for a short commercial type of video. I achieved 4th place out of about 4700 entries. I won a new Chocolate cell phone. Heck, even cell phones now started to have camera capability! As it read in one of the reviews; The LG Chocolate has a sharp design; satisfying overall performance; and a multimedia-rich feature set that includes Bluetooth, a digital music player, and a megapixel camera with admirable photo quality. I wondered what admirable photo quality meant? I never did find out as I sold it on eBay due to my carrier at that time not being able to activate it. Having been a stand-up comedian as well, I ended up being the guy that would film all the other's performances as well. But that was, well, not so funny. Comedians in general don't have lots of money to pay for their recordings. I tried various outlets regarding the arts. Even painted some wonderful, and humorous pictures that still hang on my walls today. I knew I had a knack for art in general, but still was discovering and working out how to combine it all.

Probably the smartest shooting I ever did...
I had acquired a Sony DSC F717 still shot camera. This was quite the camera in its time. This was also the camera I used to photograph in detail the house I was about to sell as I saw the economy start to falter. I took many pictures and created a website to sell my house. I really focused on getting all the proper angles to show the space properly. Even lighting up the place was a task but well worth it. My real estate agent loved it. After all, I did all the work. I promoted it with images. The house actually sold pretty quickly with multiple offers. My photography did the job. We got out of California just before the end of 2006. Good thing too. The housing market collapsed a couple months thereafter.

My First Lightning Shot - Ever!
Time on my hands and the first monsoon season made me rethink my future...
Being back in Tucson after so many years was a trip to say the least. Not much had changed really other than maybe a bit more traffic. But economics were still about the same. The difference this time was I had a bit of financial freedom to pursue my more creative side. Along comes the monsoon season. Lightning! I shot my very first lightning event with that old Sony DSC F717. Not an easy thing to do, trust me. This camera virtually had no manual controls worth mentioning. But I got hooked. I needed a more controllable camera. I now entered the world of Canon. I also entered the world of storm chasing, not to mention other subjects as well. I even started to do headshots for actors as well as footage compilations. Basically I started a production company. But most of all, I started focusing (pardon the pun) on acquiring stock footage for the television and film industry. I deliver all of my goods via an agency called Pond5 (http://www.pond5.com/artist/vadervideo?ref=vadervideo).
I 'shoot' everything from the monsoon storms and other weather extremes to the kitchen sink for the purpose of 'b-roll' or stock footage. However, after returning to the southwest, I now 'play around' mostly in the Sonora Desert when not working on commercial productions where I am on set behind the camera or even as the Director of Photography (DP).

My specialty, or better yet, my passion!
I have somewhat become world renown for my years of capturing monsoon lightning storms (amongst other things). Much of my footage has been used in many productions for television (HBO, Showtime, Discovery, History, Science etc..) as well as in major motion pictures. One of my storm pieces was even used as the storyline opening scene in a horror flick called 'Triangle'. It was interesting to see just how a storm over the Rincon Mountains was sped up and re-composed as a storm over the Bermuda Triangle with a cruise ship coming out of it. Very cool.

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