Licensing Contributor Malthe Zimakoff is a Danish landscape photographer who captures vast terrains from around the world. Using various viewpoints in his photography, he transports us to these destinations—paying close attention to composition and detail, and finding balance in simple colors and space at the same time. Browse his Licensing collection here.

My name is Malthe Zimakoff. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling the world, it’s that no one is able to pronounce my name, even after my futile instructions. I suppose I should make a competition out of it one day.

I’m a Danish travel photographer based out of Copenhagen. A few years ago, I discovered how much I actually enjoyed exploring the beauty of the earth whilst learning about different cultures. What really drove me was the thrill of adventure. You have a very clear goal in mind, you want to capture the wonder of nature, and there’s only clear opponent: time. The light will only be perfect for a few magical moments and you need to be at the right place at that time! Here’s how I go about sourcing, capturing, and making the most of crisp and vast landscape shots.

Portmagee by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

Finding locations

One of the biggest questions for me over the last year has been deciding where to go. I’ve always felt that tourism and adventure are somewhat opposites. It’s ironic, since many travel photographers profit from tourism, but my best advice when choosing a place to visit and shoot would be to not draw your inspiration for travel photography from influencers.

Droning Above Ijen by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

First, it’s important to know what you enjoy shooting. Personally, I’m all about mountainous landscapes. So how do I do a lot of my research? I simply scout around the world with terrain view on Google Maps. When I feel confident about going to a country, I will also search for the local viewpoints on Google Maps.

Broken Beach - Nusa Penida by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

Same goes for when you are going to very touristy destinations. There’s so much to explore that’s off the beaten path. Flexibility is key, especially with equipment. Even though I would recommend bringing a tripod, I honestly don’t find myself using mine all that much, since I’m not that into night photos, and the top-line cameras nowadays have amazing shadow recovery. Pair your camera with an f2.8 or lower lens, and you can be a flexible low light-ninja.

Stone desert & Atlas mountains by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

Creating your composition

Another reason flexibility is key is because we’re looking for a story when composing a photo: a subject, as well as some other side-actors, perhaps. The best example of this is a drone, which gives you immense flexibility. You are simply flying around, looking for that one object that stands out; that one object that can tell a story. Afterwards, when you’ve locked in your story’s protagonist, you look around again—searching for some counterplay. Sometimes this can also come in the form of emptiness, like that of a lone tree, or a big mountain looming behind a small hill.

On top of Bromo by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

Editing a photo

Same goes for my post-processing: I am trying to complement the story I already see in the photo. The better the photo has managed to capture a story, the more editing can bring it to life. That part is one that I really enjoy: many of my photos have taken around 8-10 hours to edit. That might sound silly and unnecessary, but is a process that I sincerely enjoy! I do believe that the very process of taking time to experiment with weird things in every photo before eventually reverting 99% of it has accelerated my process of developing my own style.

Droning in Aceh by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

Sharing a photo

I said that editing is what brings the story to life. But books don’t bring stories to life: the people reading them do. In the same way, what has motivated me to keep taking pictures these last few years has been the fact that so many different people seem to be able to appreciate photography. Every time people tell me that they have a favorite photo, I feel that must mean that the photo’s story struck a chord with them.

Wae Raebo Traditional Village by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on

You can say many good and bad things about social media, but being able to share my photo here on 500px has meant that people across the globe can now be a part of interpreting my small stories. Behind those stories are my own adventures, and the feelings that the memories of those adventures evoke, like a great song you used to love.

Follow Malthe Zimakoff

Instagram: @malthezimakoff

Nyhavn Copenhagen by Malthe Rendtorff Zimakoff on