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Članci Početna » Intervjui na engleskom » Interview with Chris Lukhaup
Interview with Chris Lukhaup

Could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences, where you come from, what is your occupation?

Hello everybody, my name is Chris Lukhaup. I was born in Romania (Transylvania ) as a member of the German minority. With 14 years we went to Germany. During my studies in the 90`s, I decided that I want to be a musician so I quit the university, changed my life and went on tour with my band. This continued until 2008. when I decided to quit music and get more involved into nature and the aquarium hobby. Meanwhile I write books about our hobby and work also as a consulter for the pet industry. I do expedition and nature photography.

How did you become involved into aquascaping?

I guess I grew inside this. In fact, I have never been happy with the way we arranged aquariums, in the past. Then one day I visited the gallery of ADA and I thought that this is how aquarium can look and I was impressed how the japan style worked. In that times I have still been busy promoting shrimps and push this trend. Later on I got more involved in this because I realized that it has the potential to be more big then just for a few people.

Recently, Oliver Knott and I released a book about Aquascaping. The book is not about the japan style of Aquascaping, it is more like something I would call „Popular Aquascaping“. We used materials that are available everywhere in the trade and tried to keep it a bit more simple so everybody can do it as well. In fact it is a book for beginners who would like to get involved in aquascaping.

How much time do you spend on aquascaping?

As I don’t have too much time I do it rarely. I spend more time in developing new ideas for the industry when it comes to this point. I support aquascaping from the side of the companies. Together with Dennerle we will have a complete line of Aquascaping out, including new tanks with special sizes and tools also etc.

You travel a lot and you do expeditions, could you tell us something about it?

Traveling is very important for me. I want to see nice places and photograph them, get inspired by nature and enjoy the habitats above and under water. I do every year 2–3 expeditions at least, and these took me to Cuba, Chili, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, USA, Panama, Singapore, Malasya, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Europe, Sri Lanka etc. This year I will go for the first time to Borneo to do a Plantahunter tour together with Stefan Hummel from Dennerle.

Perhaps you have an anecdote from one of these trips you could share with us?

I have plenty of stories to tell. Sometimes in my lectures and workshops I talk more about the adventures that happens on a trip then about shrimps or crayfish. People like to listen to these stories.

Your photographs of the underwater world are great. What came first, your interest for aquascaping or photography? How did you start to get interested in photography?

Of course Aquaristics was first. I started with the hobby when I was 5 years. Later, when I worked in crayfish and shrimps, I found out that there are just few pictures of these animals, so I got a good cam and a flash, and started to work in photography also. I would never consider myself as a photographer. In fact I have no idea about photography. I just know when to press button. That’s it. If I would work more in my skills I am sure I could make better photos. For the moment I am too busy working on different projects so I don’t have time to do it. Aquascaping is, for me, just a part of the aquaristics hobby and I am working in developing new trends and ideas for the hobby.

What equipment do you use for photography and recording?

At the moment I work with a Canon 5 D Mark II which I use for habitat photography and filming and of course with my Canon 7D, a really great cam. Naturally I also use a macro lens Sigma 105. To get very close I use some extension tubes. In addition, over the years I've found the best camera parameters ( z.B. white balance, shutter speed etc.) for photos of aquariums and aquatic animals.

However, I can only speak for myself and describe my way to do things. There are great aquarium photographers who work in a different way and their work is awesome. To work in the pics I use Photoshop or Lightroom. However, if I'm not done with a pic in 3 to 5 minutes I usually discard it. You can see in a photo when it has been overshopped. A little contrast, around 3 to 5%, and around 7 to 8% colour.

However, many photos are already good when I download them from the cam, and I almost do not have any work with them. If I minimize pics I sharpen them slightly afterwards. When the preparations have been good there's no need to repair much afterwards. One of the most important preparations is that I always change water a day before the photo shoot. This really makes a difference.

How did you get interested in shrimps?

As so often, everything started in my childhood. When I was about five or six years old my brother brought me some Guppies, Mollies and Bettas that I put into a tank where I used to spend hours just sitting and watching. That was back in the 70s, and there was not much aquarium technology and decoration around.

Several years later, when I was a teenager, I saw yellow Labidochromis caerulus in a local fish store and fell in love. I have then set up a 720l tank where I kept Malawi cichlids in. I spent many nights studying the literature in order to find out more about them, and pretty soon breeding started to be successful. However, the hobby gained even more momentum when I saw some electric blue crayfish in a fish store where I used to work as a side job during my studies in philosophy. I was totally fascinated by these curious animals. This opened the door to the invertebrates. Meanwhile, I am working with crayfish, shrimps, crabs and other freshwater inverts. The first shrimps that took my attention have been the red and white Crystal Red. This was more than 13 years ago.

How many shrimp sorts are you breeding at the moment?

I consider myself not a breeder anymore. These times are over. I did that when I started with shrimps. To be honest I never was very successful with breeding because I was too much on the road with my band Atrocity and Leaves Eyes and also then when not touring I was on expeditions to find new species, photograph and label them. At the moment I have just 3 tanks in total. Two of them are in Germany, one is a photo tank and the other one is a 60 Liter Cube from Dennerle with some nano fish and shrimps that I need for my work. In Chile I have a tank with some Cherrys and Nano Fish. To breed successfully you need time and patience. I don`t have time at all and also I am not very patient. I prefer to go on field trips to find new species. I do get a lot of shrimps from breeders to photograph them but I auction them for a good cause. We have a place in Chile for orphans that we support with this money.

Have you given a try in aquascaping yet?

I do aquascaping but just very rarely I am nearly spending all my time in creating new books, trends, ideas for the hobby. I have trips also, that need to be organized and prepared and of course I have family. At the moment I am working in 8 different projects so there is not too much time to spend on scaping.

What is your opinion about aquascaping contests on the Internet?

I think it is good that there are so many contests coming up now. It helps the hobby to grow and reach new fans. I can see that not just in the Internet, in fact on most of the fairs and events you have aquascaping contest meanwhile.

Have you ever participated in one?

I have never participated with a scape just as judge. I think it will stay that way. I prefer to be judge more.

What is your favorite plant, fish, shrimp?

In fact I have no species that I like most. I have a lot of species I am working on and these are probably the ones I like best for the moment. I have discovered a very nice freshwater species in Lake Poso in Sulawesi in a depth of 10–15 meters, therefore at the moment this keep me busy and Werner Klotz and me are working on the description of the crystal red shrimp.

As an aquascaper, who had the most impact on you?


If you had unlimited funds, how would you equip your aquarium and what kind of style would you use?

Interesting question! Never thought about it because if I would have unlimited funds I will probably invest it in my expeditions. For an Aquarium I would choose one hand made from Emmel (a company in Germany that produced also aquariums for T. Amano), a filter from Ehiem (support your local dealer–they are just a few km from my place and they do quality filters, that’s what they can do best), the light will come from Giesemann (I like how they work and also I love the quality), the plants, the food for my fish, the tools and fertilizers from Dennerle because they have the best quality in this things. The Hardscape will be from Aqua Deco Mayer because I know what real aquascapers need.

In the end I would ask my friend Oliver Knott to help me with the layout of the scape. It would look very natural. I don’t like to have trees and landscapes that remind me too much of a forest or a mountain range. I prefer the Japanese Style like T.Amano is doing. He has many scapes that I like.

You are known for working with Oliver Knott. How did you meet?

I know Oliver for many years now. We met when I worked in one of the biggest pet shops in Europe. In that time was in Stuttgart (Germany) a place called Kölle Zoo. I worked there to make some money for my studies of Philosophy. Oliver also started his career at Kölle Zoo. Always when we met on fairs or shows we had a good time so I proposed him to do some books together. We found out that we can work very well together. Sometimes we spend hours of working together not talking too much. Not because we don’t like to talk, it is just that I think that we think similar and things go well between us.

I don’t think Oliver will learn some aquascaping from me. This is more when it comes to promo or the way to present things. If we inspire each other that is already a good start. Always when we sit together we develop some new ideas. The only problem we have is that both of us are very busy and we need to find the time to do things together. Ideas we have enough. Sometimes it’s just money and time that is missing.

You aquarium photography is great. Could you tell us something about your techniques?

Well, I've been sitting in front of aquariums for years, observing and studying the inhabitants. If you consider the photos I've taken over the years you'll see that they continuously get better. This is not only because my equipment is constantly improved. Of course, the equipment is important, but without a trained eye, patience, the necessary knowledge and the ambition to keep getting better, even the best of equipment is not really going to get you good photos. Of course you can photograph shrimp then, but I like to search for pictures that are out of the ordinary.

I have decided to keep my equipment up to date, also the light technology. I consider the light the most important aspect of aquarium photography. I've found my optimum solution with a softbox when it comes to photograph animals in the aquarium. It is totally different with photographing scape. There I use a light that was manufactured by a company from Italy – Anubias. I hang this light on top and take the shot without flash but with high ISO and of course use always a tripod.

A couple of ''off-topic'' questions…

Your hobby is photography and underwater world exploration, but you are also a musician. How do you manage to combine those two things?

Well, in fact I started both things at the age of 5. Sometimes the aquarium hobby overtook the music and sometimes it was the other way around. When I was like 20–30 the music was more important because you know how it is, the young guys always want to be rock stars. I decided to leave university to be a musician, tour the world and have fun. I saw the world, played in nearly 50 countries worldwide and had a lot of fun. Meanwhile I am out of the music business because it was a bit too much to travel with the 2 bands. Then do expeditions with the shrimps, crayfish and other aquatic animals and also having wife and child in Chile. I lived in an airplane. After doing it for one year I decided to leave the bands and get more involved in nature and family. The Bands was always stress, every day a different place when we have been on tour and then studio for some weeks, tour again etc. Now everything is much more relaxed and I have time to write books and do nature photography.

You have traveled all around the world as a musician, which instrument do you play and what kind of music do you perform and when?

I was a bass player but most of the songs that I wrote I composed on the piano in our own studio. We played some death metal with Atrocity but also we did some experimental stuff with that band and our album cover of the 80s was a great success. With Leaves Eyes it was more the gothic metal stuff with a female singer from Norway. If you go on Youtube you will find plenty of videos from shows and also some video clips that we shot for the albums. I was a Band member from 1995 -2007.

Would you like to change something in your life concerning your busy schedule?

In fact the only thing that I would need is that the planes speed up and I don’t waste so much time in a plane. Maybe one day in the next future we can start to beam people. That would help me a lot.

Do you have any message or advice for the members of our site?

Well, I am not good for giving advices. Everybody knows what is best for them. I wish them all the best in whatever they like to do. Aquascaping is a new trend in the hobby so I hope people go on to be creative and develop good and interesting ideas.

Mr. Lukhaup, thank you for your time. We wish you a lot of success in your future work.

Author: HAS Administration

Objavio lp u 03.09.2013 10:55