- September 12, 2017
- 15 min to read
An Interview with Erez Marom - Nature Photographer from Israel
Erez Marom is a nature photographer concentrating on landscape and wildlife photography. In addition to active shooting, he is teaching photography and guiding photo workshops worldwide. Follow Erez on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
I guess it would be good to know that some places I visit are actually really rare and unique, so better make sure you take the shot well and take advantage of the situation! Had I known that photography would evolve into a career, I'd put a larger emphasis on using my time for discovery and exploration.
Why do you take photos? What inspires you?
I take photos for several reasons. The first reason is that I simply like having them. It might sound a bit weird but I just love the aesthetic value of beautiful images, and this I get a lot of satisfaction from creating something that works visually and pleases my eyes. Secondly, I like showing people the incredible places in our world. Most people don't get to experience a flight above a huge erupting volcano, or even Northern Lights. I enjoy having people realize how magnificent our natural world actually is, and connecting to others over our mutual admiration for nature and for visual beauty. You could say traveling and shooting in beautiful places is my way of living life to its fullest.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Lots of photographers influenced me over the years, but currently I enjoy (and get inspired by) the work of photographers who put an emphasis on natural-looking images in addition to excellent composition. I admire the work of Marsel Van-Oosten and Ian plant for these reasons exactly. Their work is proof that you don't have to go overboard with crazy processing to create good photography - you only need to have a good eye for composition, patience and a bit of skill.
What do you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
As mentioned above, I mostly want to show the beauty of our natural world. I try to do that by having the elements of the composition work well with one another, having everything in place. I do like and try to find "nature porn" - rare conditions like spectacular light or volcano eruptions - since having these phenomena in your shots immediately draws attention, but none of this is worth anything if the composition doesn't work.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use?
I use a Canon system with the 5D Mark IV as my main body. I use a variety of lenses by Canon and other manufacturers. For post processing I use Photoshop CC. I absolutely love the relatively-new Canon 11-24mm - it's really become one of my favorite lenses and it's surprisingly useful for many area such as night photography and shooting in ice-caves. An area where tech matters a lot is in drone photography - these things are amazing! I'm enjoying my Phantom 4 Pro thoroughly and I really think aerial photography is experiencing some incredible times right now. I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Hopefully the sensors they put on drones get better and better. Some zooming capabilities would be sweet too.
How do you choose what you are going to shoot?
If by that you mean where I'll go to shoot - I just look around for places with large potential for good compositions, conditions and light. When I wanted to shoot an active volcano close up, I traveled to Ethiopia and visited the Danakil Depression. When I want Northern Lights I travel to the Arctic, Etc.
What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.
I really don't do that much post processing. Normally I'll correct WB, lens aberrations and vignetting in ACR, then go on to Photoshop and increase local contrast gradually using luminosity selections. If I need to HDR I'll do that in Photoshop as well. I don't use the Orton technique or any other for that matter. I keep it as simple as I can, and do my best to have my images appear natural and have nature tell its story.
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Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
It's close to impossible to pick an absolute favorite image, but from my natural landscape galleries, I'd probably say "Nautilus". Apart from the spectacular ice cave and the rare light, I really love the composition here. Practically speaking, this image is one of a few signature shots that "made my career", in the sense that firstly, they represent what's good about my work, and secondly, they got to be pretty known worldwide.
As a photographer who loves shooting dynamic, changing landscapes as a means of getting original shots, this image is good because the cave is gone forever - no one will ever shoot it again, guaranteeing I have created something unique.
What was the most curious story behind your photograph?
As an avid traveler I have lots of stories about shots. A good example would be my trip to shoot the Holuhraun volcanic eruption in September 2014. Shooting the eruption has been extraordinarily amazing, and witnessing this natural phenomenon in all its might is hardly describable in words, especially when shooting it from the air by helicopter.
It took quite a bit of effort even getting to the eruption site. I had to use my contacts in National Geographic to get a letter of intent, in order to get the permit to go inside the restricted zone. I also struggled to find an Icelander to go with me as was required, since all my Icelandic friends were in Greenland at the time of my arrival. Of course, my suitcase was also lost and I had to repurchase clothing and shoes. Finally, sand storms prevented us from flying for 3 days, and only then could we use the helicopter and get aerials of the eruption. It was all worth it, though, as the resulting series won me a 1st place on the aerial professional category in the 2015 ND awards, in addition to multiple articles and a postcard deal in Iceland. The memory of seeing the eruption will never leave me.
Three new things (names, places), you learned in the past year about the photograph?
This year I've shot in Senja, in northern Norway, for the first time. It was very cool, I had some nice Northern Lights and an opportunity to use my drone to shoot beautiful fjords and mountains.
I've also taken my first trip to the Faroe Islands last November, and traveled there again in January. I really like the Faroes, some beautiful spots there, and I'm pretty happy with my shots from there.
The third thing will have to wait for my trip to Hawaii next month. I have a feeling it will be quite epic! :)