- You’ve had the opportunity to shoot such beautiful landscapes in Iceland and the United States. What is your secret?
Taking photography trips over the years, trying different techniques, creating thousands of missed and bad pictures, reading books and articles from the Internet, taking photography classes, getting inspiration from other landscape photographers whose work I like and, sometimes, just pure luck. The sum of all those parameters, I guess. In the end, the eyes get trained at seeing things better wherever you are. And still it demands so much concentration for composition, looking for the right elements, and so on. It’s always a challenge. The harder it is to capture the frame, the more I love it.
- What is photography for you?
Catching the light photons with my camera in a less chaotic way (haha just kidding)! I think it’s the whole journey up to the moment you click, capture the frame and then continue the journey afterwards.
- Why did you choose Iceland and the USA?
The USA is very beautiful, gorgeous even, with fantastic and unique natural landscapes. I also happen to have close relatives living there, whom I visit them from time to time. But I would always go back anyway. At the same time, I have to say that I am also very drawn to arctic nature. There Iceland is my #1 choice. Once you’ve got the bug, you can never stop going back.
- It is often said that to take pictures you must first take a big trip. Do you agree?
For landscape photography, absolutely. Unless you happen to live in a fantastic area, in which case the trip would be different, shorter, smaller. To be honest, I am always a bit jealous of those who live close to beautiful natural landscapes. For the trip itself, I document myself a lot on the area where I will travel, and I always have several itineraries depending on weather conditions. For the rest, I don’t prepare much. I know exactly what I need. Before setting off, I just ensure that I have all my photography gear, hiking clothing, a good sleeping bag, a tent, loads of protein bars, peanut butter (haha it’s essential) and that’s pretty much it. I like to photograph just before sunrise and just after, a bit less around sunset, and on overcast days. Fog is my favorite! I spend the rest of the time scouting the area. So there is no real downtime.
- What is your preferred photography technique?
I tried many techniques and in the end I’ve gone back to the basics for landscapes. However, I sometimes use filters in certain situations. You simply have to, because cameras don’t have the full dynamic range. Hopefully that will happen in the future. As for the photograph itself, I try to do everything in the camera before taking it to the computer for post processing. At the moment I use Lightroom or Phocus software, but never Photoshop. I only use one frame, no high dynamic range (HDR) or bracketing technique. In addition, I would say that I believe that the quality of the photo always comes first. First I aim for a technically perfect photograph (focus, sharpness, depth of field); then I go for an artistically perfect one (lighting, composition, timing).
- This particular photo has a special story, right?
It took me three years of travelling to Iceland to capture it right! The first year, the weather was very bad when I was in the area. The second trip to the cliff, I spent one entire “night” (June is the time of the midnight sun, so there is light at night) without sleeping, waiting for the wind to calm down so I could use the tripod. No luck. And the third trip was at end of September. It rained the day I got there and continued throughout the night. But just before sunrise I hiked the mountain anyway, the rains stopped… and boom! I had several minutes to take a few shots. I was so thrilled!
- You used to travel alone, didn’t you? Was that to reconnect with nature?
I used to and still do travel alone. I love the solitude, the serenity. To be honest, it’s hard for me to travel with people, especially for photographic purposes. If I do, I lose the bond with nature. Most of the time I stay pretty far out of the comfort zone. It’s important to face nature alone.
- The colors in your images are impressive. What is your recipe for creating such tones? How do you manage to find the optimum settings? Do you use filters to adjust the amount of light reaching your sensor?
I always try to get the best light (depending on the type of nature) and the best exposure. And yes, I do use filters. I do everything in the camera for one picture only, no cropping. But I don’t do bracketing, HDR, focus stacking or multiple exposures. I don’t stack them on top of each other like pancakes in Photoshop or the like in order to impress the Internet crowd with colors and high dynamic range. For me that’s not photography, but photographic design.
- Your work is mainly characterized by landscape photography. How do you do to let the landscape talk?
Oh, I’m happy just to get people to talk about them (haha seriously). Well, I always try to look for beautiful, unspoiled places. So that I can show nature as it is, without human alteration. However, there are so many changes on our planet that it’s harder and farther to find that pure, raw nature. One day I might have to switch to industrial landscapes (haha I am kidding here)! Who knows? With time, those images with some human touches may speak to us even more.