As serious lovers of travel photography, we’re well aware of the many talented 500px community members who are lucky enough to live in and explore amazing places around the world. After all, if you can’t visit these destinations yourself, the next best thing is to browse through incredible images that will stir your wanderlust. One of our favorite travelers of the moment is Johannes Hulsch, who is boldly and brilliantly shooting some of the most beautiful and iconic nature-laden spots in Europe in new and non-traditional ways. Because his profile is already a must-follow on 500px, we also recently asked him to take over our Instagram feed for a week and do an exclusive interview with us.

Read on to get to know this Leipzig-based photographer and his personal visual style better, as he shares his best photo and post-processing tips, gear recommendations, his favorite places to shoot, and the striking stories behind some of his most popular photos!

Crossing bridges by Johannes Hulsch on

How did you discover photography?
My father bought an old Canon DSLR on eBay to take some family photos. I tried it out, and my passion for photography immediately grew fast.

Deep Purple. by Johannes Hulsch on

How would you describe your photography style?
I really like to capture the nature around us in a mystical and moody look. I like to go out shooting during sunrise and sunset, because I don’t like the harsh light during the day. I really like the atmosphere during the golden and blue hours very much.

Lost in Wallis by Johannes Hulsch on

Where do you find inspiration?
I’ve always been inspired by the force of nature during the different seasons. Oftentimes, it’s hard to capture this, but I really enjoy visiting to the same places during the different seasons of the year. These places could look completely different throughout the year.

Overlooking the mountains by Johannes Hulsch on

What are the challenges you’ve faced with your work?
One challenge for me is to get up very early—even in the summer,—to catch the sunrise and the golden hour. I always remember that the photos I take will be worth it, no matter how tired I am. Finding locations that not many have been to before is another challenge. I spend a lot of time doing my location scouting on the Internet, but I also like to get my stuff packed and drive into the blue. Sometimes, I come back without any good photos. Oftentimes, I’ll come back with an SD card full of new, awesome places to show the people. In the beginning of my career, it was hard to finance all my gear, but I don’t take care too much about these physical things. You could even take great photos on your iPhone! You don’t have to own the most expensive, full-frame DSLR. It’s not the camera who takes the picture—it’s you.

Ripples by Johannes Hulsch on

What are some of your favorite places to shoot?
I really like to shoot in the Ore Mountains, where my parents live. It’s an unexplored and underrepresented place, but it has so much to offer, like tiny lakes, big fields, and deep forests. It’s also a historical place, because it was a famous mining area until the 20th Century. So I love to make this place a little bit tastier for my followers. I also like the “classic” places every landscape photographer go to shoot like the Dolomites, the Swiss Alps, and the Norwegian fjords, because these places always look amazing, and it’s really hard to get a bad photo there.

Birds whispering by Johannes Hulsch on

You have a lot of followers across the different social channels. What’s the secret to your social media success?
I think it’s all about continuity and communicating with the people who follow you. First I concentrate on one channel. In my case, it was Instagram, but I feel that it is becoming more and more like Facebook. So I tried out a lot of other platforms, like 500px, Tumblr, or Viewbug. And I have to say, that every platform has its advantages and disadvantages, so I place some work into every single one. Together, all these different channels complement each other, and this mix creates the perfect way to show off my work to my followers.

On my way to explore. by Johannes Hulsch on

What can we find in your camera bag?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III as my main body. My lenses are the 16-35mm super wide angle, the 50mm 1.4 as my fixed focus lens, and the 28-300mm for the telezoom shots. In the near future, my plan is to buy a Sigma 35mm 1.4, so i have a second lens with a high open aperture to create more bokeh effects. My tripod is the Sirui T-005X Traveler light. I also use several filters from HAIDA for my long exposure photos. For behind the scenes and quick snapshots, I always have my iPhone in my pocket.

After the rain comes the sun. by Johannes Hulsch on

What is your post-processing workflow like? 
I do most of my post-processing on Lightroom on my Mac, and Snapseed on my phone. In Lightroom, I use the VSCO Film presets, mostly from Pack Six. After choosing the right filter, I make little tweaks to make the photo look more natural, like lighten up the dark parts, put a little bit more contrast in, and a add little vignette. After editing in Lightroom, I transfer the photos to my phone via Airdrop and open Snapseed. Here, I adjust the brightness, contrast, and sharpness to make the photo look good on a smaller display like an iPhone.

Need a haircut like this cow. by Johannes Hulsch on

What’s next for you in later this year or early next year?
For summer and autumn this year, I already have some trips planned. First, I’m going to Finland. I’m really looking forward to seeing wild bears or deer there. After this, I will travel a little bit more around Germany and its Western parts. In September, I will go to Canada to visit the filming location of the movie, The Revenant. I plan to go to the Dolomites again to shoot the lakes and mountains with the colors of autumn. For the year 2017, I don’t have any plans yet, but I really want to go to Iceland and South Africa, because I’ve already seen a lot of great landscape photos taken there.

Jumping into sunset by Johannes Hulsch on

Crossing bridges by Johannes Hulsch on

What’s the best advice you can give to photographers who want to shoot like you?
The most important thing is to practice to improve your photography skills. Don’t spent too much time in looking though Instagram, and thinking about your idols or watching YouTube videos on how to become a better photographer. You just have to go out shooting the things you really like, and present it to the people on the Internet in an attractive way. Then you will see that you will get some responses. Look after your own work, as it gets better and better.

Rolling down the road by Johannes Hulsch on

Story Behind the Shots

Read on to see how he shot and created some of his most memorable photos!

Best place to enjoy the weekend. by Johannes Hulsch on

“I took this photo at the Lago di Carezza in the Dolomites. I was there with my friend Merlin Kafka. It was a spontaneous trip, because I asked Merlin if I could join his trip to the Dolomites the day before he flew to Italy. The sunrise at the lake was incredible! The lake was so calm, and the water made a perfect mirror for the mountains.”

Ready to paddle? by Johannes Hulsch on

“It was too early in the morning, so no one could really give us a boat to paddle out to the lake. So I had to make the most out of this situation. To take this, I tried a little trick. It looks like I was paddling on a lake. But I have to confess that the boat was fixed with a string at the boathouse, and I only climbed into the boat later to take the photo from there.”

Travel is like building bridges between dreams and reality by Johannes Hulsch on

“I really like mornings at the Rakotz Bridge, because the light from the sunrise is always amazing. When I shot this, I met a group of photographers from Berlin there. To this day, I’m still in contact with them, and later that year we explored Berlin together. What I also really like about that bridge is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. It was really hard to find the right way to get there. So it’s not a tourist destination that every photographer could visit.”

Standing on the edge. by Johannes Hulsch on

“My favorite place during my trip to Norway was Preikestolen. The cliffs there have so many sharp edges, so it was really hard to stand there without overcoming your fear of heights. Because I’ve already been to Norway at the beginning of March, the Preikestolen was hard to reach, as the hiking trail was frozen. So we were lucky to find ourselves alone in that spot for the sunrise. We had a lot of space to try out our ideas for shooting there.”

Kings lake from above by Johannes Hulsch on

“I went to the Bavarian Alps, especially the area around the King’s Lake close to the turn of the year. It was a spontaneous trip too, because my friend Anton and I only booked our hotel a week before we began this trip. We took the lazy way up the Jenner Summit with the funicular. We wanted to wait at the top until sunset, but the way back is also only with the cable car, so we only could shoot during the golden hour. Still, the view was incredible! From above, the lake looked even more impressive with the surrounding mountains.”

Into the unknown by Johannes Hulsch on

“This weekend was really fun, because I just came back from my Norway trip. My family goes hiking in the Ore Mountains every weekend, so that was going on when I took this shot. Unfortunately, the whole forest was covered in fog. I really like the atmosphere a lot. Every crossing looks really mystic and spooky. So I took out my camera and shot several paths there. Editing this was really easy too.”

Couple goals. by Johannes Hulsch on

“We stopped at a random fjord during our trip along the southwest coast of Norway to take this shot overlooking the reflection in the water. We tested different angles until we found the best composition. Though this pose was a little bit cliché for me, I really like the feeling this photo creates. I think this shot was really worth it!”

To see more of his stunning photos, follow Johannes Hulsch on 500px.