Become a founding member

Become a founding member

After months of preparation and planning I would like to invite you to join us on this new adventure in landscape photography. We have just begun the sign-up process for the ELEMENTS Magazine and are releasing a limited number of FOUNDING MEMBER SUBSCRIPTIONS with a special, one-time introductory price of $US79 per year ($6.58 per issue). Once the subscriptions have been taken, we will return to our regular price of US$99 per year.

In addition to this one-time special offer, you will receive updates about our design process, a sneak-peek into upcoming articles and features, and much more.  

Starting March 1, 2021, you will receive the first issue of ELEMENTS, the digital magazine dedicated to elegant landscape photography, containing insightful editorials and set in fluid, clean design. ELEMENTS is carefully curated by the same team that brings you the Medium Format Magazine. 

In the first issues you will find some truly amazing names in landscape photography such as Hans Strand, Bruce Barnbaum, Christopher Burkett, Christian Fletcher, Erin Babnik, William Neill, to name just a few.

Our team’s objective is to convey an experience allowing you to stand alongside a photographer in the field as they see and craft the image. This learning experience is at the core of ELEMENTS Magazine and we cordially invite you to join us on this adventure.

2020 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

ELEMENTS Magazine

ELEMENTS Magazine

There have been many announcements on this blog lately and I promise I will soon return to my usual photographic ramblings. In the meantime, I would like to share one more piece of news. 

Steven Friedman, as co-editor, and I are launching a brand-new photography magazine called ELEMENTS. This new monthly magazine is dedicated to elegant landscape photography, insightful editorials and clean design, of course carefully curated like the Medium Format Magazine with one difference – it is not related to any technical format. You will find exclusive interviews, editorials and pieces from the best landscape photographers in the world. You can get more information on our landing page www.elementsphotomag.com

While the word “landscape” implies a typical beautiful vista, our magazine will go well beyond that. The best way would be to see it yourself. I will share more information with you shortly. 

In the meantime, I would like to ask for your help:

In mid-December we will launch an extended sign-up website. Of course, I will share the link with you. 

I am very excited about this new publication and I hope you share this excitement with Steven and me. 

2020 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

Australia

Australia

When going through my imagery I realized that I am seriously behind in sharing my work with you. It is especially true for photographs from our recent trip to Australia where I led the Visual Poet Workshop.

When I travel to teach it is usually very satisfying but a difficult ordeal. There is not much time to rest or visit the place properly as you would do on a typical vacation. I take photography and teaching very seriously and most of my time is dedicated to preparation, administrative work and visual customisation with the place.

Having said that, our trip to Australia was different. We wanted to make it different. After the workshop, Kasia and I rented a car and just drove across part of this vast and beautiful country. It reminded us of our road trips across North America which we enjoyed so much and dearly miss (we’ll be hitting the road again soon). There is something about the idea of the open road and being alone in the vastness of the land. As the countryside slowly passes by the window, you breathe deeply and absorb every inch of it. Unlike travelling by plane, you feel connected to the land, you see how the landscape changes, you feel free and alive. It is difficult to describe such feelings but this road trip proved to be something very special.

Ironically, I don’t have many pictures from the road trip as the atmosphere and allure of this land put us in an unusual and contemplative mood. Regardless, let me share with you a few images from the trip. 

Next time I will continue with my coverage of our Australian adventure from an urban perspective in Melbourne and Sydney where I shot most of my work. 

Check out my latest videos from Melbourne and Toronto and make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. There’s lots of new content coming up in the next few weeks. 

2019 © OLI Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

There is something about mountains…

There is something about mountains…

This post was supposed to include more imagery shot on the street. But hey, who wants to do things as planned? I was going through our imagery this morning performing my favourite editing activity – that is, deleting – and I was attracted to some photos shot in the mountains.

It struck me there is something about mountains! They have such different DNA from the sea. Towering peaks are blanketed by fast-moving clouds, the light fighting hard to get through. The roughness of the terrain, the roaring wind, the cold, heat … it’s all beauty and struggle together! This is a place where human masks are ripped away. This is a place where my senses calm down, my inner compass re-calibrates and new feelings emanate.

Somehow I always see mountains in black and white, even when I am not taking photos. Sure, I sometimes go for popular, colourful, low-hanging fruit but a visual hangover always follows. Too often I end up with a headache when I follow this route.

Below please find some new imagery and some you have seen before – so have I!

There is something about mountains…

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All images shot with the X-series cameras and lenses.

 

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

The Majestic Rockies – Connecting with the Landscape (Part 2)

The Majestic Rockies – Connecting with the Landscape (Part 2)

There is no doubt that the Canadian Rockies are one of the most stunning landscapes in the world. Blue lakes, lush green forests and gigantic mountain peaks invite travellers in the summer months to enjoy an unlimited number of activities. Indeed, it is a joyful and laissez-faire relationship.  

In winter, however, the true character of the mountains is revealed. Temperatures remain well below zero, often reaching extremes. The snow cover simplifies the scenery, exposing only the essential lines. White powder also guards the access to many locations and roads become a hazard for those who are unprepared. The toughness of this land is manifest. It is no longer a carefree wilderness. This is exactly what we found appealing, beautiful and even strangely desirable.

Photographing the Canadian Rockies poses a challenge of its own. How do you go beyond the usual postcard “beautiful”? How do you show a landscape of such grandeur, avoiding the common snow-peaked, sun-bathed scenery? How do you look into your viewfinder and draw with light your own particular lines? It’s nearly impossible! But it is worth trying. Always.

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Next time…  

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Captured with the X100T, Fuji X-T1, the XF 50-140mm F2.8 and XF 14mm F2.8.

 

 

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

 

The Majestic Rockies – Connecting with the Landscape (Part 1)

The Majestic Rockies – Connecting with the Landscape (Part 1)

There is no place like it. Kasia and I first drove through the Canadian Rockies twenty years ago. I will never forget the impact of these incredible mountain ranges. The sheer size, beauty and toughness of this land gained my respect, absorbed all my senses and provoked a deeply spiritual experience in my inner being.

Almost every year since then, Kasia and I have made a pilgrimage to this land of giants. But there is more.

We were living in two Canadian cities, Vancouver and Calgary, and the trip through the Rockies became a rite of passage for our family. It has become a road of joy, sorrow and redemption. This road led me to Calgary where I nearly lost my life. Then I travelled through the mountains to a lengthy recovery process here in Vancouver. Through all these years and experiences, Kasia and I connected with this landscape as with no other.      

We have been in the Rockies in every season of the year. Most people visit the area in summer when it is warm, travel is easy and the lakes turn blue. Indeed, a great choice. However, for me the true beauty of the mountains reveals itself in winter. Snow simplifies the vista, underlines the contours and reveals the mountains’ splendour. Cold protects this beauty from invaders and the slanted winter light accentuates the snowscape.

We visited most of our favourite locations and captured them with the X100T, Fuji X-T1 paired with the XF 50-140mm F2.8 and XF 14mm F2.8. In the next few posts we will be sharing with you our personal experiences, stories and imagery. What a great theme to begin the New Year. Stay tuned.

Here are a few samples of what’s to come. 

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We met an incredible Japanese man travelling the Canadian Rockies on foot.

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…and a young man from Russia practicing hockey at Lake Louise.

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We had such an amazing time at Emerald Lake. 

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Stay tuned for much more… 

 

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.

 

Photo Bits II: New section, Fuji X-T1 and five minutes of light

We added a new section to our website titled “gear we use and recommend.” Many of you ask for camera recommendations, so you should find some answers here.  

It appears that the interest in the new Fuji X-T1 is sky high and for good reason. One of our readers, Stephen, was kind enough to share with us his initial impression of this new camera.

Hi Olaf,

“At a Fuji event in Toronto I spent some time playing with the X-T1.The VF really is in a class of its own. An extraordinary view. It is also the first EVF I have used where it didn’t feel so much like an EVF. I am not a huge EVF user, but this one really did make me see things differently…

As for the camera, well, it’s certainly a modern Fuji. No compromises on the controls, and lots of small improvements in layout that add up to a very nice setup. Everything falls to hand. I find that my X-Pro 1 is a great size for me, whereas the XE range is a bit small. The new camera is pretty much the size of the XEs but doesn’t feel small or cramped.

I liked the flip out screen too – nice for tripod/landscape work, or for creative angles.

I don’t think I will get one, but that is because I don’t need it. It is an extraordinarily well-designed camera that makes you forget about it and place your attention on the composition and light. I’m looking forward to your experiences with the one you have on order.”

Interesting! We cannot wait to shoot with the X-T1.

For all those interested in this camera, Fuji has a promotion (in Canada only) – if you pre-order the X-T1 before March 31st, you get a battery grip as a bonus (listed price $250). Not bad.

All right, enough of this camera talk. This morning my father-in-law (also X-Pro1 shooter) and I went for a short trip to Harrison Hot Springs, BC. On the way, we encountered a patch of beautiful light, which lasted maybe five minutes. It turned out it was the only time during our drive when the sun found its way through very cloudy skies. Here are a few photographs.

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Also, my favourite, some B&Ws…

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Finally, we met a very nice gentleman from Germany and after chatting for a little while I took his portrait.

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All images were shot with the Fuji X-Pro1, XF 21mm F2.8, XF 60mm F2.4 and Fuji X100S, processed in Iridient Developer & Lightroom 5.

 

© Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

Westminster Abbey with the Fuji X100S & X-Pro1

In our last blog entry, “Photography is easy. Really?” we wrote about the importance of concentrating on the art of crafting an image. Nowadays it doesn’t come easily because the constant need (and in some cases addiction) to be connected doesn’t allow our minds to calm down and settle on ONE task.

However, there are some places where quietness comes naturally, concentration comes easily and your artistic inner self can show itself without any outside disruptions. For me, Westminster Abbey in Mission, BC is one such place.

I find that a stunning location and beautiful grounds always calm me down. They allow me to put aside all the noise and just wander around with my camera. There’s no pressure, no purpose, no distractions! I have visited this place many times and each time I encountered stunning views and different conditions which created a magnificent mood.

All images were shot with the Fuji X100S and Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 14mm F2.8 and XF 60mm F2.4. Processed in Iridient Developer and NIK Silver Pro.

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… and truly yours at work

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2014 © Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.