Alberta Photographer Intensifies Landscape Images by Adding the Human Element


All photographs by and used with expressed permission from Paul Zizka.

Award-winning photographer and cinematographer Paul Zizka of Banff, Alberta has a knack for turning landscape scenes into epic paintings of light. His creations, specifically the nighttime ones, are full of dynamism and color. He expertly captures the blues, greens, yellows, and even purples of light, both natural and manmade; and the gloriousness of the landscapes themselves, dressed in crawling fog, sweeping clouds, star trails, or the occasional lone boulder, making his images possibly even more inviting than the actually scenes.

Other times, Zizka, who just released his first book, Summits and Starlight, would intensify his impressive shots simply by adding a human aspect to them, strategically putting in a silhouette of a person (most of the time, Zizka himself) in the foreground with a headlight on his head, either perched atop a rock or standing waist-deep in a lake, looking at the scene before him as if in awe. And the cyber world, albeit unwittingly presenting them as elaborate or redefined “selfies”, has zeroed in on those images particularly. And for good reason. But it wasn’t at all premeditated, mind you. As he explains,

“I did not set out with the intention to create a cohesive set of images. I just find that sometimes including a person in a night scene adds to the photograph. Sometimes the images are visualized before heading out – I know what I want to do and it is a matter of waiting for the proper conditions to make the photograph happen. Most though are thought of upon arrival, when I am able to see what the night sky will give me to work with at a given location. I decided then if the image might benefit from the inclusion of a human element. Sometimes the person (me since I’m nearly always alone) ends up in the image to convey a sense of vulnerability, or a sense of belonging, or to make the image more relatable. Sometimes I only end up in the shot to solve compositional issues.”

Whatever his original intention was, there’s no denying that it’s a genius move. Somehow, the silhouettes not only provide an element of polarity, a contrast between man and nature, but also a feeling of triumph in the photos, as if the anonymous person in the foreground has just conquered nature and now he’s reaping his rewards.

See Zizka’s awesome collection after the jump.

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Explore New Zealand Through Landscape Photographer’s New Video, “The Waters of Greenstone”

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Nathan Kaso of Melbourne has been an avid landscape photographer for a few years now, traveling around and exploring Australia and New Zealand to photograph their vast and proud landscapes. Often, he would capture them in a natural (never overproduced) glorious way, sometimes surrounded in early morning fog, sometimes basking in the golden rays of the sun, enticing those who look at his photos to come and discover those lands for themselves.

As amazing as his images are, however, Nathan hasn’t always been a photographer. He planted his roots in the art of capturing light working in video production in Melbourne. Taking advantage of this background, he has been making remarkable timelapse videos using his trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark II for about a year now. His short tilt-shift video, Miniature Melbourne, even won the APA Short Video Contest award for Best Timelapse in 2013.

Most recently, he released a new video entitled “The Waters of Greenstone”. He shot the video for over three weeks on the South Island of New Zealand, again with the help of his Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  Complete with video segments, timelapse sequences, and aerial footages, the video leisurely strides though some of New Zealand’s most majestic landscapes and their ever-changing, transitory elements.

From Arthur’s Pass in the center to the Catlins in the South, “The Waters of Greenstone” explores the majesty and lushness of this subcontinent down under. See the video after the jump.

Via Sploid

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Spellbinding Timelapse Video Showcasing Wyoming’s Dramatic Landscapes

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Photographs are like windows. They’re like windows to cherished events, old memories, and even a person’s soul. At times, especially when done right, photographs are like windows that take us to new worlds that we haven’t seen… to beautiful landscapes unknown, to places we have yet to discover ourselves.

Take photographer Nicolaus Wegner’s work, for example. Mainly a wedding and portrait photographer by trade, he also captures dramatic landscapes and his images–complete with rain clouds, lightning, and the occasional tornado–magnetically draw us into places many of us would have just easily dismissed.

A year ago, he spent two full adventurous months working on a timelapse project he called “Wyoming Landscapes,” which showcases the sweeping landscapes of Wyoming often under crazy weather conditions, in the hopes of introducing the rest of the world to his undeniably beautiful but rarely thought-of home state.

The resulting video from that project was so impressive that he just knew he had to do it again. So he dedicated fourteen unbelievable months–that is, around 150 days of driving, backpacking, walking, exploring, and even storm chasing, and more than 100 miles hiking through the wilderness with a pack full of heavy gear–to shoot an even more impressive one. At the end of it all, Wegner had taken around 125,000 still photographs and logged plenty of editing hours.

And it was worth it. With the help of the band Ghost Kollective, he produced a fitting conclusion to his timelapse project that’s even more spellbinding than the first. At times soothing, at times electrifying, but over all stunning, “Wyoming Lanscapes II” will definitely ignite the wanderlust in you. Before you know it, you’ll be packing your bags and heading for the majesty that is Wyoming.

See the video after the jump.

Via dpreview
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National Geographic Photographer Stephen Alvarez Heads West with Only a Nokia Lumia 1020

julius motal the phoblographer nat geo nokia lumia 1020

Nokia teamed up with National Geographic to send Stephen Alvarez armed only with a Nokia Lumia 1020 out West. It’s an impressive PR stunt that really shows off the Lumia 1020’s photographic abilities. Depending on the aspect ratio of your photos, the Lumia 1020 puts out files between 34MP and 38MP with a sensor capable of 41MP. It’s a major boon for mobile photographers because it lends credence to Chase Jarvis’s quote, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” The 1020 is a tempting option for serious mobile photographers, and this Nokia-Nat Geo project is one of the most beautiful photographic undertakings with a mobile phone. My iPhone’s a great shooter, but it can’t touch this.

Check out the project at National Geographic.

Via DPReview Connect

The Phoblographer Weekly Recap: May 27th 2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm vs Zeiss comparison product shots (1 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

“The Phoblographer Weekly Recap” is a new feature where we recap the week’s most popular posts. Each weekend, we will present you the top ten posts of the week for your perusal. If you’ve missed any of our popular stories that week, you’ll find them here. Among this week’s top posts: Zeiss 32mm f1.8 vs Fujifilm 35mm f1.4, Tips for Photographing Strangers and Cat Bearding Is the Newest Photo Meme. Find the complete breakdown after the jump.

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Useful Photography Tip #39: Use Your Sunglasses As an Improvised ND/Polarizer-Filter

The flow of water captured at 1/13 sec thanks to a makedo sunglasses ND-filter

During this year’s summer vacations in the Austrian Alps, I found myself in need of an ND or polarizer filter a couple times. Wandering the mountains of the Alps, I often encountered beautiful mountain streams and small waterfalls that I desired to photograph. However, in the bright sunlight of the day, even with the lens stopped down to f/16, it was impossible to capture the flow of the water. At 1/125th of a second, the water would still look almost frozen. I would need at least 1/20th of a second to have the water appear flowing in the picture. In order to achieve this, I would have needed an ND or a polarizer filter. (A polarizer filter also “swallows” some light, making the resulting image darker.) Not having either with me, nor finding one in the right size in the various camera and electronics stores of Innsbruck, Tyrolia, I had to improvise.


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Spacious Thoughts: Landscape Photography Composition

Camera Nikon D90 Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60) Aperture f/5.6 Focal Length 24 mm ISO Speed 200

In Landscape Photography, composition is one of your most essential decisions. It is how you decide what you want in the frame. Every time you bring your camera to your eye, you are composing a shot. Taking time to think about your landscape photography can turn a snapshot into a great photograph. Using Rule of thirds, lead lines, foreground interest and your background, can make your images truly engaging.

Before you read this posting, perhaps you should read about gear, light and location.

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Spacious Thoughts: Landscape Photography Location

One of the most important things to think about in landscape photography is your image’s location. It does not matter if your location is a super secret spot or a national park. It is important to find a vista that can make an interesting photo. It may take a little research, a walk around your town, or looking in your backyard, but before you compose your image, you have to find it.

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Spacious Thoughts: Landscape Photography and Seeing the light

In the first spacious thought, I discussed and suggested equipment for those starting out in landscape photography. I also had a nice gift guide for the Holiday season. Good landscape artists take time to think about their shot and its lighting, location, and composure. Pointing and shooting leads to shots that looks similar to everyone else’s out there. Landscape photography, like various things, is like the game Civilization V, you must think first before you move. Some of the most important things to contemplate in landscape photography are lighting, time of day, sun position, and weather. When these factors are combined they affect how you set up your image exposure.

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Landscape Photography Gift Guide 2010

For the new landscape photographer who already has a good camera body and lenses, this holiday season is a great time to help them further their endeavors. With a few gifts that will make things more fun, you can help them improve the quality of their landscape camera work. These gifts are things they may not have thought of. From tripods to levels, many tools out there make great gifts for landscape photographers

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Spacious Thoughts: Landscape Photography and Gear For Beginners

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A silent moment and there is no one around. Leaves fall off the branches. It’s a cool, early morning, just before sunrise. A landscape is what I have come to photograph. Landscape photography is something I was a student of; way before I became a proper photographer. Looking out into an open space or an image of a landscape has always been something I enjoyed. It’s an appreciation of the natural world, I guess. Now, in my photographic endeavors, I’m focusing more and more on landscapes. One of the most fundamental aspects of it is the gear.

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Field Review: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 G ED N (Day 5)

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A lazy Saturday and I had the urge to get into nature a little. I am no Art Wolfe or Ansel Adams but I do enjoy and taking landscape photos. One of my goals in Photography is to create a collection of landscapes in New Jersey. Landscape photography can be very Wabi Sabi (imperfect temporary beauty). The Nikon 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S RF SWM lensis a great lens for capturing this.

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Field Review: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 G ED (Day 2)

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I did not want to go to my day job on the second day of testing this lens, but I had to. What I wanted to do was stay out all day. I wanted to stay out and play with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S RF SWM lensall day and all night. But alas, I could not. What I was able to do was visit Sinatra Park in Hoboken, New Jersey and evaluate its wide angle, low light, and motion capabilities. I also found myself looking at the sharpness in low light and paying attention to how the autofocus worked.

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