Morning Sun – Rügen, Sassnitz © Michael Breitung
Michael Breitung is a landscapes and nature photographer showcasing some of the most beautiful scenes on our planet which will leave you either breathless or at times put you on the edge of your seat. His intimate, striking imagery is published frequently in Landscape Photography Magazine or german KWERFELDEIN, where he is also a regular contributor.
Here is his favourite quote about photography:
“Photography is a human act and therefore subjective, a selective act and therefore interpretive. This makes it possible for photography to be an art, for photographers to achieve a personal style – and for the camera to lie.” Arthur Goldsmith
Tell us something about Michael Breitung Photography?
I live in Germany, close to Erlangen, where I work as a software engineer. I started with photography 2008. In the beginning it was just a hobby, but it soon became a passion. Landscape and seascape photography were my main interest from the start. I love to be out in nature and watch how the changing light of day forms the land. Especially around sunrise and sunset are the times when I’m out, trying to capture that light.
Looking at my photography one will recognize the element of water present in many photos. I have always been fascinated by moving water, be it streams, waterfalls or the sea. The reason is maybe, that where I live, none of those are close. That’s also one of the reasons why I like to travel, mostly to places with water nearby.
Those travels brought me to the US, Ireland, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and the Seychelles and I hope to have the time and money to do a lot more in the future.
I also like to process my photos. It’s an important part of my photography workflow and helps me to bring the photos back to life, to make them look as I remember the landscape. Those memories not only contain the look of the land, they contain the sounds I heard, the wind on the skin, the cold water around the feet and much more. The focus during my post processing is not to make a photo look as realistic as possible, but to get it as close to the reality as I perceived it. Colour is very important for me to achieve this.
What’s your creative process like?
First I need inspiration, mostly through the work of other photographers I follow on flickr, 500px or G+. Often their work shows me the places I want to visit and photograph myself. It’s not that I want to take the same photos, it just gives me a hint, where beautiful landscapes can be found. Starting from there I do my research about those places: how to get there, when’s the best time for photography and what other interesting locations are nearby.
Then, when I’m at a location I do scouting. I think it’s important to get to know a place before photographing it. That’s also where the creative process really starts. Before I have only seen a location through the photography of others, what they selected to show in their pictures.
This selection is an important aspect of landscape photography and thus I have to first see as much of a place as possible, to be able to make my own selection. I try to previsualize how it could look in different light and think about what to include in a photo. When I arrive the following morning or evening to photograph I usually have a very clear picture in mind.
After I took a photo which comes close enough to my vision I try to make the most of the light (if there is any) and explore further compositions. This is more of a spontaneous process. I just look around for things I like, look through the view finder and move the camera until I feel the different elements fall into place. During this process rules about composition are only secondary. The important thing is that what I see feels right.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
As said above I get a lot inspiration from other photographers. I already loved to look at their work before I started photographing. Never did I belief to take such photographs myself someday.
Even if a photo just captures a brief moment in time it can tell a story which goes much beyond that moment. I can marvel at what led to that photo, how and why it was taken. With landscape photos I like to imagine how those landscapes might look in different seasons, in different light. Some photos are full of adventure, when I look at them I wonder how it must have felt to stand there beholding that view. I imagine myself standing there. Good landscape photos can draw me in and I can get lost in them.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
Maybe a tip for people who start with photography: Take your time. I know, in the beginning one can’t wait to take spectacular photos. Those other photographers have such great portfolios and it can be quite frustrating if you compare your work with those when you start with photography. It’s good to have a goal and to know where you stand, but always remember that the photos in those portfolios are only a selection of the best. It takes time to achieve something equally good. And I think it’s important to give yourself that time. Else it can constrain your creativity.
Can you name some great photographer that inspires you and why?
Much inspiration comes from the photography of Marc Adamus. His photos always have a great impact on me – The most spectacular landscapes photographed at the perfect moment.
If you have something else to add (a video/book/about your next project/your prints/ etc.) just tell us.
If you like the selection of my photos shown here you might want to checkout my homepage. There you’ll also find a blog where I post links to articles I write or to tutorials on my youtube channel. My photos are also available as prints, you’ll find links on my homepage too.
I recently created a Windows 7 theme with a selection of my photos. It’s free and can be downloaded here.