For our second photographer spotlight we have asked landscape photographer Denny Yang to share his story with us. He tells us how a single camera revived his interest in photography, and how an adventurous trip led to his favourite picture.
Denny is a 35 year old software engineering director, living in Dallas, Texas. Next to a love for technology, he also has a fondness for art, which led him to pursue a college minor in visual arts. Digital photography fascinates him a lot, because this perfectly combines both technology and visual arts.
Denny: I was first introduced to photography playing around with my dad’s film camera, but the first real interest started taking a black and white photography course in college. Processing photos in the dark room was an incredibly fun experience that started my passion for photography. Over the next decade I soaked up everything I could about photography, went out to shoot, and thanks to my love for technology, went through a disproportionate number of cameras.
But then I shifted focus to my career, and shooting was no longer gratifying. However, I still followed photography news and became especially intrigued by the Sony RX1. Nevertheless, I remained sensible, and deemed it too expensive. However, when the RX1 II was announced, I could no longer control myself, and pre-ordered it on the first day. Even though I only owned the camera for two months, this love for cameras ultimately reignited my passion to go out there and shoot.
What I enjoy most is landscape photography. The simple joy of being out in nature is why landscape photography is my favorite genre. I know there are many photographers who prefer not to have people or man-made objects in their landscape photos, but I find the merger of the two to be captivating. I feel nowadays with the flat images produced by raw files, that post-processing is a necessity. I use a combination of Lightroom, Capture One and Photoshop. Although some people despise the post-processing effort, I actually quite enjoy it and can often spend hours on a single photo.
My best experience so far has been a 10 day photography workshop in Iceland. One day, we were shooting some large pieces of ice on the beach of Jökulsárlón, when a large rogue wave all of a sudden came in. I, having the slowest reaction time, got knocked over when I tripped over some ice chunks pushed in by the waves. Luckily I managed to thrust my tripod and camera high into the air with my right hand. Iceland can definitely be a dangerous place for camera equipment and man alike.
One of my favorite photos is titled ‘Valley of the Glaciers’. At one location in Iceland, I went in the other direction than the rest of the group to explore a bit. After a brief walk I came across a dangerous snowy embankment leading up and around the mountain. I was hesitant to proceed at first, as a slip could result in a tumble down the side of the mountain, but when I saw another person descending I decided to carry on. As I cautiously and excitedly scurried up and around the corner, I greeted with the breathtaking vantage point seen in this photo. I nervously snapped away amidst the deep crackling of the glacier beneath and the occasional sound of sliding rocks above. Standing there awestruck I could honestly say I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
For me photography has been a hobby and will continue to be. I hope to continue improving at my craft and maybe one day fulfill my dream of getting featured on a magazine cover. Let’s hope it will be a good magazine!
I currently shoot with the Sony A7RII and with landscapes being my focus the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm F4 has been my bread and butter. The 42 megapixels and the high dynamic range are perfect for what I like to shoot. In addition to the 16-35mm I also have the Sony 24-70mm F2.8 G-Master and the Sony Zeiss 55mm F1.8.
Also essential for landscapes are a good tripod and filters. After much research, I decided on the Feisol CT-3442 tripod as the best combination of thick sturdy carbon fiber legs, light weight, load capacity, min/max height and cost. For filters I use the Breakthrough Photography X4 ND screw-on filters that have the least color-cast of any NDs I’ve seen and have nice knurled edges for easy grip, even with gloves. All this fits inside my MindShift Backlight 26L back.
I am pretty happy with my overall kit at the moment, but am always on the lookout for new lenses such as the rumored Sony 16-35mm F2.8 G-Master. My perfect camera is the A7R II with Pentax K1’s flip/tilt LCD screen and pixel shift technology, Olympus’ IBIS, Nikon D5’s autofocus, dual XQD card slots, faster processor, touch screen, and larger battery. I imagine I will be waiting for some time.
Follow Denny Yang on Flickr.
This is the second post in a recurring series. ‘Photographer Spotlight’ is be a series in which we discover awesome photographers from communities like Flickr and 500px, and let them tell more about their background and their work. Do you think your work has the quality to be featured, or do you want to suggest somebody else for a next edition? Don’t hestitate to contact us.