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Passing on the love of nature through photography: Viktoria Haack

When Viktoria Haack finds herself on a small island surrounded only by nature, she grabs her camera and will never stop capturing its ephemeral beauty.

From this fascination for landscape photography, this jack-of-all-trades will explore portraiture, wedding or editorial photography… always looking for an emotion to capture or a story to share, while keeping a strong link with the great outdoors. Her art is an invitation to get lost in nature, to love and protect it.

Portrait of Viktoria Haack
Portrait of Viktoria Haack

Can you tell us where your passion for photography comes from?

I have always been interested in the arts and was given a Nikon camera for my 18th birthday. When I moved onto a small 500 acre island nature reserve in the UK, I pulled my camera out of storage and started taking photos of the landscape around me. I loved noticing the changes in weather, seasons etc and how they affected the landscape. I love to shoot across many different photographic genres but I have a particular interest in nature photography.

Arriving in Canada fueled my interest as I was so inspired by the beautiful landscapes around me. I was excited to be able to photograph more than the 500 acres I had previously been limited to.

“I love to shoot across many different photographic genres but I have a particular interest in nature photography.”

Viktoria Haack Photography

What do you want to convey through the photos you share?

I hope to convey a sense of mood and my love for the natural world. I also hope that in turn, this may inspire others to take care of their surroundings.
Abstract frozen lake by Viktoria Haack

Your snowy landscapes or glacier photos are magical. What equipment do you need to take pictures in the extreme cold ? How do you work with whites?

Probably the most important aspect of cold weather photography is ensuring you keep yourself (and particularly your core) warm. If the core of your body is comfortable, then usually your extremities stay warmer, and in turn you are more capable of operating camera equipment and being able to think creatively. Extra camera batteries are always a great benefit in extreme cold temperatures as they can drain a little faster.

Regarding whites, I am always aware that they can underexpose and look a little muddy, so I watch my exposures & over expose a little if needed. Very often snow takes on the tones of the environment; if there is a pink sunset then the snow will take on a pink cast. I am not always too concerned if my whites aren’t completely white – different tones can help to create mood.

Frozen lake with a mountain by Viktoria Haack

You also photograph brides and grooms, especially in grandiose landscapes. Some of them are entitled "Elopement."
Where did you get this idea?

Elopement photography is a term that has become popular, generally for smaller weddings, often in more adventurous locations. These types of weddings are always fun as they are quite often in more exotic locations such as mountain tops, waterfalls etc. Many couples choose me to capture their wedding or elopement because the environment is an important part of their celebration, and they are looking for a photographer who will capture the essence of the place as well as the couple’s connection…
Portrait photography of a woman in the snow

You also take many portraits, including animals. What do you like in this exercise?

I really enjoy portrait photography. I particularly enjoy photographing and working with animals. I think it’s the fact that they are so unscripted and as a photographer you need to be infinitely adaptable as they don’t necessarily follow instructions. As with most of my photography, one of my main goals is to capture a sense of mood or a story.

“As with most of my photography, one of my main goals is to capture a sense of mood or a story.”

Portrait of a person in the leaves

What equipment do you use (camera…lenses...)? Can you describe a little bit about how you choose the setup for shooting and lighting?

I shoot with Nikon mirrorless cameras and lenses. I’m currently working with the Z7 and Z6ii. I use a variety of different lenses for the different subjects I shoot. Everything from a 14mm to a 100-400 telephoto. Every subject is very different so it’s difficult to describe a typical set up for a shoot. When photographing portrait subjects, I enjoy using a lot of backlight.
Dog in the snow

What kind of editing do you do on your pictures? What are your favorite softwares for retouching and organizing your images? Do you have a particular editing workflow?

I shoot all my images as RAW files so they require some editing. I generally use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as my editing software. In the past, I used Lightroom more as an organizational tool but in recent years, I have enjoyed the new features and ability for more targeted controls that Lightroom has, so have found myself using it more and more in my editing workflow. I generally start by importing my images in Lightroom, I organize them there before starting the editing process. I often move images from Lightroom to Photoshop to complete the edit.

Photography of firemen by Viktoria Haack

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in many things. Sometimes it’s walking through the woods, very often it’s heading out into nature. I find weather and atmospherics inspirational, as well as the changes in the seasons. Books will often give me inspiration, a particular quote, music, movies, the work of other artists and photographers.

“I find inspiration in many things. Sometimes it’s walking through the woods, very often it’s heading out into nature. I find weather and atmospherics inspirational, as well as the changes in the seasons.”

Portait in an ice cave

Who are your reference photographers?

I don’t think I could name any photographers as a specific influence to me but I am inspired by so many photographers for very different reasons. Here are a few: Sho Hoshino, Sandra Bartocha, Helmut Pilo, Franka Gabler and many many more.

Dog with a light under an umbrella

If you had to choose your most significant captured instant, which one would it be and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer. My love of photography has enabled me to experience so many life changing moments, from documenting final days with loved ones or their pets, to being there when a father meets his child for the first time, to moments outdoors when mother nature puts on a splendid show and I am lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

One of my most treasured moments is being with my dog and a good friend of mine as we watched light rays break through heavy clouds on a beautiful November morning beside a lake. I think one of the reasons why it was significant was because it was so fleeting. I’ve returned to the same location in similar conditions on several occasions but have never been able to repeat the experience.

Light rays on a forest and a lake

What advice would you give to a young photographer?

Shoot what you love and what interests you. Listen to your intuition rather than blindly follow the advice of others. Remember to keep loving what you do. If photography becomes a chore, you find yourself photographing subjects, or shooting in a way that doesn’t make you happy, take time to step back and re-evaluate what’s important to you.

“Shoot what you love and what interests you. Listen to your intuition rather than blindly follow the advice of others.”

Trees with reflection

Extend this moment with Viktoria Haack by following her on her website or on Instagram.

All images: ©Viktoria Haack

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