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Capturing the perfect light

by our Estonian ambassador Andrei Reinol

Nuotrauka: Andrei Reinol

My name is Andrei Reinol and I am a landscape photographer. I've been involved with it for over a decade and the momentum doesn't seem to slow down. Already in my youth, I liked to walk around and be in nature - by the sea, in bogs or forests. Seeing these special moments made me want to capture them, take them with me and share them with others. Since I loved landscape views, it was a natural continuation to go on with this style of photography as well. The wide-angle views immediately became my special favorite, and I have mostly stuck with them.

Nature itself became a special inspiration. Every early morning and sunset are different from one another, and this motivates me to notice and capture these moments. I guess I could call myself an observer of moments. While hiking, riding a bike, driving a car - my eyes are constantly looking for new motifs or patterns. I try to remember potential places and then, when suitable conditions arise, I will shape them into a photo.

While in the early years I tried to shape every light situation I saw into a photo, which obviously did not succeed. Now my photography trips are planned and are preceded by a thorough observation of weather conditions gained through experience. Doing this work ahead is very important, so I have an idea when and where to go. I constantly monitor the changing light conditions and based on this, I often make my decision at the last moment.

The sea gives wider perspective and opportunity to capture wide-angle landscape images. I mainly use a NiSi 15mm wide angle lens here. Inland in contrast, tends to dictate the composition. There I prefer to use a lens with a small zoom range. However, 90% of my photos are in the 15-20mm focal range. I also like to use the 70-200mm focal range for more spacious "Grand landscapes". This is also good for capturing movement in nature in general.

Most of my landscape photos are taken during the "sweet" golden hour light, using a tripod. Longer shutter speeds required with lower light wouldn't allow me to shoot them handheld. When taking photos at a very late or early time of the day, I need neutral gray filters with a transition to balance the foreground and background exposures. This helps me to keep the light conditions balanced immediately and saves time later with post processing. I have always wanted to move in nature rather than spend hours at the computer processing pictures. By the sea, I often use neutral gray filters to extend exposures. They give me an opportunity to express my creativity and further expand the possibilities of bringing my signature style into the images. I am very satisfied with the NiSi products here and could not imagine my workflow without them.

I truly enjoy the moments when the sun rises or disappears behind the horizon. These are the sweetest hours in a landscape photographer's day. To invite viewers into my images, I always try to bring the foreground into my photos whenever possible, and it's fair to say that I have a strong emphasis on the foreground. This brings three-dimensionality to the image and differentiates them from simple images of sunsets and clouds. Over the years, I have learned to see and observe nature in a way that allows me to use different components of nature as part of my landscape - patterns, lines, traces or stones, plants, trees or clouds.

Personally, I think that morning atmospheres work better for landscape photos. The morning fog can sometimes create a mystical atmosphere to the scene that sunsets cannot. Foggy mornings in August are among my favorite motifs. Of course, I will never say no to a beautiful, colorful sunset, but it's somehow easier to set my mind on a foggy morning. The diffused background and distinct light. At the same time, if nature offers moments, then these are good to acknowledge, even if just with your presence, I will never say no to a stormy sea, the first frost of the night, or a colorful autumn. Every moment has its charms.

Some locations, visited repeatedly, just need new light, angle, composition, or perspective. It would be easier to just take some moments and keep them in your mind. However, it is more interesting and exciting to approach the whole scene from a new angle. To try to bring and create your own vision for the image. Even if the lighting conditions are no longer favorable, a more unusual scene can be created. I certainly like to discover new and exciting places, but also the old trails can offer some unusual views.

Bog, Sea, Forests

My trails are mostly in bogs or coastal areas. In the morning on a foggy swamp landscape, in the evening on a sandy beach with a beautiful sunset. This is how it would ideally look like. Forests, with their primal power, also offer a pleasant opportunity for photography. My favorite time of year is the moment when autumn reaches out to winter, i.e. the colorful nature meets the frosty white mornings. I also really like winter conditions with a lot of snow and white landscapes. The windy and raging sea in autumn always offers plenty of photo opportunities. This list could go on for a long time, because almost every moment I try to find interesting contrasts and then connect them in my photos.

Nature photography is definitely a good way to combine an active lifestyle with beautiful visuals. Knowing that every moment of light is unique, carrying a camera gives you the prospect of capturing some of these moments. Observing nature develops your skills to notice small details - from the movement of clouds, wind directions, knowing weather maps, features of the landscape and many other things to consider and combine into your images.

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