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Johny Goerend is a hobby photographer from the small country of Luxembourg. He’s a CEO of a web agency. With a passion for landscape photography, he recently took trips to the Lofoten islands in the north of Norway. While the big aim for the trips was to find northern lights, the landscapes on the archipelagos also create many stunning photo opportunities. He always tries to share some stories around the photo, so people can better understand how the photograph was actually created. 

In this interview, Johny shares his experiences as a hobby photographer with insights on how photography enthusiasts can strike a right balance between passion and work.

Johny Goerend

©Johny Goerend

How did you become interested in photography and when did you first get your own camera?

My dad used to do a lot of photography too when he was younger, so he got me a camera for my 12th. It was an analog camera, as digital was only in its very first steps (cameras had 1 MP…). It got me started, but I lost interest after around two years just because I didn’t have any friends with whom I could discuss about photography. At the age of 18, because my girlfriend (who is now my wife) had a digital camera, and DSLRs were just being released, I got curious again and so I bought my first DSLR.

What do you usually take photos of? What story do you want to tell using photographs?

I love landscape photography more than any other kind of photography, because of the experience I have before, while, and after taking the photos. I especially like winter and the calm landscapes it produces. Nature always has something up her sleeve for you, and that’s what I like. I want to show landscapes in their visual perfection, something a lot of people don’t get to see. 

©Johny Goerend, The famous view of Reine, but during the night with one of natures finest spectacles. I was actually just one of probably 20 photographers standing beside the road to get this kind of photograph. But the difference between me and most of the others was that they left immediately after the first aurora dimmed out ... :)

©Johny Goerend “The famous view of Reine, but during the night with one of nature’s finest spectacles. I was actually just one of probably 20 photographers standing beside the road to get this kind of photograph. But the difference between me and most of the others was that they left immediately after the first aurora dimmed out … :)”

©Johny Goerend "This is Reine, and the mountain is called Olstinden, during the very long blue hour."

©Johny Goerend “This is Reine, and the mountain is called Olstinden, during the very long blue hour.”

©Johny Goerend "In early February on Lofoten islands, the sun doesn't get too high in the sky, so even though there may be 5-6 hours of "day" time, there really is just a frame of 1 or 2 hours where the light isn't amazing to shoot. And when the small fishing boats play along, paired with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, it's not that hard anymore to get nice results."

©Johny Goerend “In early February on Lofoten islands, the sun doesn’t get too high in the sky, so even though there may be 5-6 hours of “day” time, there really is just a frame of 1 or 2 hours where the light isn’t amazing to shoot. And when the small fishing boats play along, paired with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, it’s not that hard for anymore to get nice results.”

 

As a hobby photographer, how much time and effort do you put into photography in your life?

That varies quite often. I want to put more time into it, but unfortunately it’s not always possible as I have other responsibilities. But I did quite a few trips already only for photography, like for example visiting the Lofoten islands (twice), or smaller ones which only involve driving a few hours from my home.

©Johny Goerend "This is Hamnøy, a small fishing village on Lofoten islands. In the meantime, this location has become a hotspot for photographers, who all want to get their own version of this magnificent view."

©Johny Goerend “This is Hamnøy, a small fishing village in the Lofoten islands. In the meantime, this location has become a hotspot for photographers, who all want to get their own version of this magnificent view.”

©Johny Goerend "Aerial view of Reine, unfortunately without snow. Still, the light just after sunrise made the whole landscape seem unrealistically beautiful."

©Johny Goerend “Aerial view of Reine, unfortunately without snow. Still, the light just after sunrise made the whole landscape seem unrealistically beautiful.”

What are the biggest challenges that you face as a hobby photographer, compared to those professional photographers? Are there pros and cons?

If I was able to pull more time aside for photography, I know exactly how I could improve my photography or learn new things. Pro photographers have to do this, but they usually also can take the time because it’s their job. I still have to focus first on my daily job and my family, and photography will always come third. But then again, I would not like to have photography as my main job, because the pressure of having to take (good) photos in order to pay the bills would ruin my creativity.

Do you have any advice for those who want to be a hobby photographer?

Don’t focus on gear. Just don’t. You have a camera hat takes half decent pictures? That’s absolutely enough to get started, and there’s so much more that’s important than having the latest and greatest gear. The camera and lenses are just tools, nothing else. You don’t buy a new hammer or screwdriver every few months, do you?

Among your works, which one is your favorite? And why?

That’s changing every 2 – 3 years. And it should, because otherwise it would mean that I didn’t improve myself or didn’t try new things. And it’s never limited to just one photo, but there are always several. Currently I really like a very simple photo of a castle here in Luxembourg, which I took when there was a lot of fog around, and one of the black forest where you can only see trees, nothing else.

 

©Johny Goerend

©Johny Goerend

 

What inspires you to take pictures the way you do?

The challenge of capturing landscapes as beautiful as they are in real life. That’s really hard if the conditions are special, and it’s the photographers job to get this right. This challenge keeps inspiring, as well as, of course, nature itself.

 

©Johny Goerend, "I call this one: Aurora on the rocks, please. I had my tripod set up with a great composition, being ready for when the northern lights would get stronger (they were already active early in the evening), but then I turned around and saw that there was an explosion just beginning on the horizon, and I had my camera aimed into the wrong direction. What could I have done except turn the camera around, quickly find a composition that worked, and shoot shoot shoot."

©Johny Goerend, “I call this one: Aurora on the rocks, please. I had my tripod set up with a great composition, being ready for when the northern lights would get stronger (they were already active early in the evening), but then I turned around and saw that there was an explosion just beginning on the horizon, and I had my camera aimed into the wrong direction. What could I have done except turn the camera around, quickly find a composition that worked, and shoot shoot shoot.”

©Johny Goerend, "Again, this was taken at Skagsanden Beach. I had to stand in the water to get this shot, but that was just a minor detail when staying outside during the whole night, without moving too much just triggering the camera again and again."

©Johny Goerend, “Again, this was taken at Skagsanden Beach. I had to stand in the water to get this shot, but that was just a minor detail when staying outside during the whole night, without moving too much just triggering the camera again and again.”

 

Who’s your favorite photographer and why?

Thomas Heaton. Because he doesn’t let himself be distracted by all the main subjects which everyone else shoots, and he’s really sticking with it. He always tries to get some other result, and you may not even know where his photo was taken if he wouldn’t show it on YouTube.

Obviously this is a drone shot - but one I did really not plan for, at all. I didn't even want to stop at this beach, but when we were driving by it, I saw there were surfers in the water, so I had to stop. Took the drone out immediately.

©Johny Goerend, “Obviously this is a drone shot – but one I did really not plan for, at all. I didn’t even want to stop at this beach, but when we were driving by it, I saw there were surfers in the water, so I had to stop. Took the drone out immediately.”

 

What kind of camera / post-processing tools do you usually use?

As I said, I do not like to focus on gear. So let’s just say that I’m using a full frame camera, with a few lenses and some accessories. For my post-processing I usually use Capture One and, if a photo needs more detailed tweaking, Photoshop.

Where can we see your photographs?

On my 500px profile: https://500px.com/johnygoerend
Or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnygoerend/

©Johny Goerend, "We were planning on hunting the northern lights that evening, and this was our second location. The first we saw was already not bad at all, but then we experienced this nice activity. Because we had to drive back to the airport quite early in the morning, we didn't get any sleep that night, but the hastle was totally worth it."

©Johny Goerend, “We were planning on hunting the northern lights that evening, and this was our second location. The first we saw was already not bad at all, but then we experienced this nice activity. Because we had to drive back to the airport quite early in the morning, we didn’t get any sleep that night, but the hassle was totally worth it.”

 

Categories: The Photographers

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