Interview with Daniel Kordan
SNAPP Guides founder, Luka Esenko, caught up with Moscow-born photographer, Daniel Kordan, to hear his thoughts about photographing known locations versus new, advice for anyone looking to make their name in photography and how he planned a recent trip to Slovenia. Read his interview with Daniel Kordan…
Which three photographers would you recommend SNAPP Guides users to look out for?
Personally I always follow works of Steve McCurry and Michael Kenna – they are legends in travel and landscape photography. Iurie Belegurschi is my partner – we guide many tours together and I always follow his beautiful works from Iceland.
What advice would you give to anyone new to photography who wants to make their name? What advice should they ignore?
Many photographers start from the money questions: how can I earn money from my photography? Which expensive camera should I buy? Start instead from enjoying what you do most. Master your skills every day and you’ll become a legend – then your photography will start to work for you.
Ignore marketing guys from big corporations. They will tell you that expensive cameras and lenses make great images. Your mind creates great images; don’t trick yourself that absence of expensive equipment limits you.
What’s the one thing you learned that most helped you improve your photography?
That I could take amazing shots even at one little lake. I started from my homeland as a 14-year old kid – visiting just one small forest lake; nothing special at first sight. By returning there in different seasons and at different times of the day and night, I began to understand how light and conditions can create a very special moods. I also learned that you need patience and practice to catch that on camera.
We recently met on your first trip to Slovenia. How did you plan your trip there?
I enjoyed Slovenia very much! It’s really a gem in Europe and clearly underestimated by travelers. I planned my locations with the use of SNAPP Guides (great selection of locations btw!) and photopills (planning of light conditions, star photography), also scouting a lot among local photographers and on 500px.com + flickr. There are now plenty of useful tools to analyse locations: TPE, Photopills, Google Earth, but you need quite a lot of time to make all these things come together.
Do you prefer discovering new locations or revisiting known ones. Why?
I like to return in the same places each year as well as discovering new ones. I have several places where I feel at home – Tuscany, Lofoten islands, Patagonia, Baikal lake, Kamchatka in particular. When you work constantly on one project, you can achieve great results, and even contribute to the place you love. This is one way you might develop your portfolio – through consistent work. My main topics are Mountain and Seascape photography. For example, each winter I return to Lofoten islands for seascape and northern lights photography. The sea will never be the same, and even well-known locations can be different in ever-changing dramatic weather, while the sea creates different patterns and textures on the sand every time. Currently I’m working on my Greenland and Antarctica sailing projects discovering new horizons. Russia is completely unspoiled by international photographers so it’s really a pleasure to discover it.
Which are the top locations that you’ve photographed and why do you love them?
My absolute favourites are Lofoten islands, Patagonia, Kamchatka, Greenland. I return there almost each year, guiding photo workshops.
I spend every winter at Lofoten islands looking for Northern Aurora, and practising with seascape photography. It’s a bit tough as we struggle with the weather, sometimes standing in the sea and waiting for the wave to crash on beautiful rocks. Patagonia is my perfect place to hike and frame beautiful mountain jagged peaks by autumn foliage. Kamchatka and Greenland are places barely explored well. I feel like I am opening up new spaces and locations to world photography.
Do you have a favourite subject to photograph within the wider context of landscape photography?
Sometimes landscape photography “treasures” lay right under our noses: ice shards or beautiful snow textures, sand patterns. I use foregrounds to transfer the viewer inside the frame. Well chosen foreground may create completely different photo even in well known location. But still I’m not obsessed by foreground completely: I try to balance the foreground with middle- and background. If I choose too heavy a foreground, I will not feel scale of distant mountains and a major part of my composition will not be expressive.
What do you think about Snapp Guides? Would you recommend the app and guides to your friends?
I really enjoyed using it in Slovenia. Actually I did not have much planning time at home beforehand – I went from the Dolomites straight to Slovenia, so it helped me to avoid the headache of sitting for hours in front of my laptop and scouting various websites/applications. Everything I needed was in one app.
To view more of Daniel Kordan’s inspirational work, go to http://danielkordan.com/