There are many great photos on 500px, and we want to know more about the photographers and stories behind them. Our Portrait of a Photographer interview series is all about uncovering these stories, allowing us to discover more about living life through a lens. This week’s interview is with Poland-based photographer Marcin Sobas.
500PX: Hi Marcin, tell us how and when did you start your photographic journey? What inspired you?
MARCIN SOBAS: I liked making pictures since childhood, but I fell in love with photography about six to seven years ago. To this day photography is my greatest passion. Being a self-taught photographer I started with a compact Canon PowerShot A510 and later switched to a cropped sensor DSLR. Ultimately I plan to get a full frame camera.
I love Ansel Adams’ and Marcin Sacha’s work, but the inspiration comes to me from my family, travel, exploration of beautiful places and life in general.
How would you describe your photography?
MARCIN: I am drawn to large agricultural fields with rolling hills and to misty mornings by the mountains. At these locations I mainly use Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens. It is my favorite lens, which may be surprising to a landscape photographer
A picture needs to have a story in itself. Only then a photographer can pass to the audience something great.
You have frequent photographs of rolling green hills. Where were these taken?
MARCIN: Some of these photos I captured in Moravian fields, Czech Republic and my recent photos I took in Tuscany, Italy. I think everyone knows that place
Many of your photos are filled with fog and beautifully captured rays of light. How would you advice to capture shots such as these?
MARCIN: These photos were taken at sunrise in the mountains, when the sun was shining through the mist. This effect is hard to come by because the weather must be ideal. Another issue is finding a good location with the right angle of light. Fortunately, I have found such a place.
My advice is that it has to be a cold night with a cloudless sunrise. Then you’ll have a good chance at catching the desired effect.
What camera do you shoot with? And what is your favorite equipment?
MARCIN: I shoot with a Canon 40D. My favorite lenses are Canon 70-200mm f/4 L-series and Canon 17-50mm f/2.8. I prefer natural lighting but sometimes I use flash in difficult light conditions. On a rare occasion I will use a polarization filter and sometimes a Cokin filters system (only for the wide frames).
Is post-processing important to you?
MARCIN: Post-processing is equally important to weather conditions. If the weather and air visibility are good I can get a good shot. In conjunction with good post-processing I can get a great art work. But I’m not in favor of spending a long time by the computer during post-processing. A photograph must have an original climate to it. I see many pictures on the web which have lost their “character” during the digital post-processing. Photo treatment should be considered with care.
How do you market your work?
MARCIN: In contrast to other types of photography landscape photography is less profitable, that’s why I treat it as a hobby. Sometimes to take one good picture I have to go to the same location a few times until I get the right conditions. It is hard work and it isn’t selling so well like fashion, editorial or advertising photography.
If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
MARCIN: That is a very interesting question. That may be wild animals in Africa or maybe the Himalaya mountains. One thing is certain, these are my dreams. As well as traveling and photographing New Zealand, U.S.A. and national parks of America. May God do the choosing.
What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
MARCIN: I don’t have any big plans but, I have few dreams. I would like to evolve further in photography and I hope for some of my dreams to come true. For example, like my wild dream of a trip to New Zealand, which seems so out of reach.
Tell us 5 things about you that are unrelated to photography, which would introduce us to the person behind the lens.
1. I live in Poland and I am an economist by education.
2. I like sports and adrenalin.
3. One of my biggest dreams is to fly a jet like an F-16 or F-22.
4. I love to spend my free time with family and my son.
5. I would like to be a millionaire and spend my life traveling the world.
What advice would you give to beginner photographers?
MARCIN: First of all photographer needs to know what kind of effect and framing he is looking for. When you know what you want you can then achieve it. I would also recommend having the basic knowledge of weather, especially if you want to photograph foggy landscapes. The better you know the weather, the better photos you get. And most importantly, don’t get discouraged and never give up