Nature - NOMINEE: Jan Šmíd
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In my photographic work, I focus on both day and night panoramas or stacked photographs. In particular, night photography is demanding and it is often necessary to combine various exposures, different planes of focus, average expositions etc. Among the peaks of my work are the folded photographs of the Northern Lights from Norwegian Lofoten and Iceland. Some of these photographs have won Honorable Mentions, silver and gold medals at international photography competitions (in the Professional category). I would like to devote myself to the shooting of Aurora Borealis and I would like to continue to develop this complex photographic technique, which is difficult not only in terms of time but also financially (necessity of technically advanced equipment and travel to the Nordic countries).
I haven’t been a photographer since birth as some of my colleagues often say with a pinch of humour and exaggeration. Nor is photography my “love at first sight”. To be honest, I don’t know what was in my cradle when I arrived in this world in 1979, but I am certain that it wasn’t a camera. I ignored photography for a long time, or perhaps I just occasionally pressed the shutter for holiday snaps. With the arrival of mobile phones with several megapixel cameras, I even applauded the fact that perhaps soon cameras would be obsolete and replaced by mobile phones. In those days all photographic terminology was totally unknown to me and I regarded ISO as a foreign three-letter word.
In 2009 I decided that for my next holiday I would equip myself with a “professional” camera and I bought a so-called false reflex camera (EVF) made by Nikon. It was exciting, mainly because it had a “zoooom” and many megapixels. Along with the already mentioned piece of equipment I also purchased my first technical guide to photography and submerged myself into the mysteries of picture taking
Towards the end of 2009 I exchanged the EVF for a Nikon reflex camera with the first dedicated 18-105mm lens. I bought more books and started on a journey of trying and experimenting; the journey was a difficult and thorny. I was constantly surprised that my photographs were not coming even close to those I saw in professional magazines.
In the next two years I started progressing from ordinary snapping towards a more thoughtful approach and bought more lenses and other accessories. Since I had the equipment and theoretical knowledge from books, it was time to put everything into practice. In the Autumn of 2011, I went to photograph the sunrise in Bohemian Switzerland and in the car on the way I decided that landscape photography would be ‘it’ for me.
In the Spring of 2012 I got bewitched by panoramic landscape photography and today I am dedicated to photographing landscapes. The large majority of my current photographs are made of several basic pictures (sometimes even dozens) and apart from classical daylight photography, I focus on night landscape photography and the photography of stars. Photography completely absorbs my time. I’ve started teaching workshops on landscape photography and I also own a photographic school (IFŠ).
To my great surprise, today I realise that inspite of the fact that I am basically an anti-tourist and prefer completely different sports from those that involve struggling up hills with a camera bag (which, because of its size I call a ‘wagon’), I like photography very much and landscape photography has become the real thing for me.