Photo Bits

Photo Bits

Already 2016 is shaping up to be a very exciting year. We have just come back from a great trip to the Canadian Rockies and now we are heading to one of our favourite North American destinations – the Palouse. In fact, this is not the only trip we plan this year to this land of superb visuals.

Thanks to the hard work of Patrick of fujirumors.com we already know almost everything about the upcoming Fuji X-Pro2. I don’t want to go “off track” by putting too much emphasis on gear but the original Fuji X-Pro1 was a very important camera for us. Not only was this our first interchangeable camera from Fujifilm but it also changed the way we approach photography. We will be shooting with the Fuji X-Pro2 as soon as we can get our hands on it.

We are working on several exciting projects including our first e-book aimed at novice photographers. From our experience, the right start in photography is so important. And that’s not the only project on the horizon. There is a very exciting multi-year project in the works that’s close to my heart. Stay tuned for more info.

Last but certainly not least, I had the privilege of being interviewed by a great photographer/educator, Ian Macdonald. I found Ian’s questions to be very interesting and well-thought out. You can find the full interview here.

Below, please find more of our imagery from the Canadian Rockies.

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next time…

2016 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

 

When you see it, shoot it!

When you see it, shoot it!

Years ago Kasia and I drove along a rural road in a remote part of the United States. We were on the way to our pre-planned shooting location and were already running late to catch the first morning light.

We noticed an old man with a cane walking along with his herd of sheep. Even though I got just a glance while we were passing, his gentle but wrinkled face immediately caught our attention. His herd of sheep surrounded him but all stayed a safe distance from their caretaker. The entire scene was blanketed in soft fog, intense enough to separate the man and his animals from the surroundings. It was the perfect opportunity for an interesting human encounter and an unusual visual reportage.

Unfortunately, because I was fixated on my plan I decided not to stop. We eventually arrived at our destination and…it was a total failure. Not only did the place disappoint but the weather conditions turned against us. I will never forget the old man with his sheep walking on the side of the road. Even today I regret that I didn’t stop and connect with this man.

This situation, along with a few others, taught me one of the most important lessons on travel photography. Even if you have plans, don’t get stuck on them. Opportunities for seeing are everywhere and when you see something, connect and capture an image!

Since then, we have made plans but have no problem changing them on the fly. If we see a scene worth interacting with, we stop and engage. In fact, this approach has allowed us to get many of our favourite images.

It was the case on our recent trip to the Canadian Rockies.

We spent one night in a motel near Lake Louise. Our plan was to wake up early and photograph the sunrise at this stunning location. However, when we arrived, clouds and fog blanketed the mountains so we decided to walk around and explore the frozen lake. After a few minutes we noticed a young man and his mother arrive at the ice rink. The young man started practising hockey. With the huge snow-covered mountain and frozen lake as a backdrop his red uniform stood out, creating an amazing scene. We approached them and struck up a conversation, which led us to the images below. If the weather had been different we would be sharing with you yet another photograph of a sunrise over Lake Louise. We are glad it didn’t so we could have this encounter.

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The next day while driving north on the stunning road from Lake Louise to Jasper we met a Japanese man, Nori. He was taking part in the 2015 Expedition – Americas’ Vertical Challenge – Alaska to Argentina. We were travelling in a warm car in -25˚C temperatures and Nori was walking alone carrying everything he needed with him. We don’t know what you think, but we were impressed. The backdrop of the Canadian Rockies created amazing visuals in the story of man of such strong will and character.

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All images were captured with the Fuji X-T1 paired with the XF 50-140mm F2.8, XF 14mm F2.8 and Fuji X100S.

 

 

2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

Industrial Landscapes – Part I

Industrial Landscapes – Part I

When you specialize in one genre of photography it is easy to get comfortable, box yourself in and become lazy about seeing. Contentment and self-assurance are one of the greatest enemies of a creative photographer.

It is especially important for those who specialize in travel and landscape photography. Too often we see the same visuals, themes, places or even exactly the same compositions. An antidote to this frame of mind is to try new things even though they may pose a challenge or cause discomfort.

Propelled by this aggressive attitude we decided to explore a different type of landscape – one that would not naturally lure the photographer but might provide a great visual reward.

I found working with industrial landscapes a difficult but fascinating challenge. I started by scoping out the visuals and finding the right lighting. I’ve found it may take weeks of exploration before settling on a location suitable for this type of work. Then, the lighting conditions must match the mood you want to convey. Finally, and most importantly, you must frame the shot with the utmost care.

The process of eliminating elements from the frame was especially enjoyable. You evaluate every element of the frame in terms of the whole composition. Does it add anything or distract from the goal? Should it be eliminated or just placed somewhere else? You need to answer a series of questions before all the elements fit the puzzle and before you press the shutter button.

Although such a deliberate and calculated effort doesn’t always guarantee a great photograph, it certainly leaves the photographer feeling fulfilled and more visually aware, which eventually leads to great imagery. 

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next time…

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All images were captured with the X100T, Fuji X-T1 paired with the XF 50-140mm F2.8 and XF 14mm F2.8. In our previous post we applied the Classic Chrome film simulation to our winter imagery and we really liked the results. This emulsion works even better with this series.   

 

2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.