Rafael Rojas Photography

Blog of Rafael Rojas Fine Art Photography

Holidays Gifts - Free ebook and phototrip reduction

Untitled-1

As the winter holidays approach, we wanted to offer you a couple of very special gifts.

FREE EBOOK

During the month of December, you will be able to "buy" for free (yes, for free) our first e-book of the series "A photographer's vision: Namibia", devoted to Namibia in particular, but to all desert environments in general.

In order to download your free copy of this e-book, you will have to introduce the promo-code "xmasgift" at the checkout of our website. You can decide which version you want, either the English, Spanish or French version of this ebook are eligible as a gift during the month of December.

NAMIBIA PHOTO-TRIP REDUCTION

At the same time, we are also offering a second Christmas gift... Also during the month of December, we are offering places for our Photo-Adventure trip "Namibia, desert & wildlife 2014" with a discount of 500 CHF. A few places are still available, and if you want to experience and photograph what you will see on the e-book (and what cannot be seen there!), you still have the opportunity and at a discounted price...Even if our ebook and photo-trip information is very complete, let us warn you though: there is no way you can imagine how magical Namibia is beforehand!

Back from Venice and Paris...

The last few weeks I have been travelling a bit around urban environments.

First, it was Paris. I was attending Paris Photo 2013, one of the biggest fairs of photographic art in the world.

With more than 55,239 entrances this year,136 galleries and 28 booksellers and publishers participated to the 17th edition of the fair. Paris Photo draws every year an audience of collectors, exhibit curators, institutions, and photographers from more than 40 countries.

During the many hours I spent there, I saw wonderful photographs and books, absorbing deeply inspiring work and had the chance of meeting some really interesting people, gallery owners and book publishers. I was also struck by the general interest photography is raising among the general public. The place was really filled with people from all over the world.

That being said, and if I am honest with you, I got a bit saddened by the strong presence of fashions and trends in the art market. Here and there, many different photographic artwork was displayed showing the very same kinds of subject matter, style and mood, as if a certain number of templates had overrun the mind of many different artists at once. Huge prints, pastel colours, long exposures, great expanses with minimalistic human presence was one of those templates. Even bigger prints, interiors of derelict constructions full of detail in great colours was another one. Shocking images showing nudes with lack of taste another... etc. In a certain way, it seemed as if many photographers had received a bunch of similar phone calls...

If art is the expression of personal vision and how a certain individual relates to the world, how is it possible that so many individuals start showing the very same kind of expression, all at once? Too much a coincidence. Maybe in the art world sometimes things start the other way around. The market asks for something, then the artist photographers provide it. In any case, I will never understand that procedure. For me, photography opens the door to a personal voyage, a catalyzer to a deeper connection, understanding and respect for those universal questions that haunt and lure us. Personal style evolves slowly, and reflects who we are and how we grow. If that mixes well with the current trend or fashion, great. If not, why care?. In fact, photographing what the trend dictates is the best solution for never be doing something original, always trying to catch the wave crest but never being able to reach it on time. Maybe I am just an ignorant, but if I were a photography collector, I would always try to buy what is not in fashion. That might be a good start point to get closer to "truer" artists, who produce what the gut and soul dictate, not what the market wants.

Do not take me wrong though. I had a wonderful time at Paris Photo, and the positive really surpassed the negative. I will go again next year, and who knows, maybe represented or published?... and well, even if that is not the case, there will always be a good dish of "Canard confit" waiting for me in Paris.

The second urban incursion was in Venice. During 5 days, we held our annual Photo-Immersion trip "Timeless Venice". We had the chance of having with us a group of 6 fantastic photographers. Day and night we walked along the streets of Venice, soaking up its mystery, magic and timeless character. We had the chance of photographing not only the more iconic places, but also many other quite out of the beaten track. Day, night, sunrise, sunset, dawn, sunny, rainy, dry, aqua alta... we had the chance of experiencing very different weather and light conditions. All participants had a blast, and as I could see during the critique sessions we had at the hotel, all of them brought fantastic images. From here, I thank them all for their enthusiasm, friendship and great laughs!

I have no photos to illustrate this trip. I was so busy helping the participants that I decided to leave the camera at the hotel during the whole stay. Here I am posting a photograph from last year... not published yet on the website. Hasselblad 500CM camera and a good piece of Tmax 100 black and white film.

I will be visiting the floating city still a few times this winter for my ongoing project "Timeless". Then, during the month of December 2014 we will hold again the photo-immersion trip "Timeless Venice 2014". If you are interested, we have already published the information and the trip is open for registrations on our website, here.

The Icon

Burning Peak - Matterhorn, Switzerland

I have always thought that a landscape photograph can only be classified as fine art when it essentially communicates information about the photographer and the way he or she relates to a certain place. A fine art photograph cannot be just  a mere representation of a place or the record of a moment in the photographer's life, but needs to be a clear and personal statement of how the photographer understands, feels and imagines a certain place and a certain moment. Basically, a landscape photograph becomes a fine art photograph when its storytelling goes beyond the subject matter represented in the photograph and transcends a mere list of nouns which identify the different elements depicted in the image. This might imply that we are likely to struggle if we want to create artistic and personal work out of an iconic landscape. How to enable our inner voice to be heard by the viewers when the subject itself is astounding? How to create a personal photograph from an iconic vista or subject which stands alone as original, different and genuine?

As I have grown and matured as a photographer and as an artist, my expectations from photography have equally evolved. In the beginning, I used photography to record places and as a way to illustrate my travel adventures. As years passed and I photographed more of the world, I realized how photography could be used as an artistic outlet to express not just what I saw, but what I felt. To communicate not what was around me, but inside me. That was a revelation which changed the way I would perceive photography for the rest of my life. I was not a photographer anymore, but an artist with simply another tool in his hands. A tool with which I could show others the wonders of the apparently banal, the mystery of the unclear, questions instead of answers and so become a medium for a world many others could not see.

One would think that this different approach would steer me away from iconic places for the rest of my life. And indeed it did, at least partially. Having the opportunity of exploring the "unknown of the well-known" and discover myself through photography in the solitude that ‘banal’ places offer was something I started to appreciate immensely. I was free from the tyranny of external factors like subject, light or technique, and the strength of my photography became increasingly due to internal factors like vision, feelings, memories ... I could photograph my local forest for the rest of my life and be content.

However, I did not stop photographing icons, not completely. Doing so would have made me a victim of the same human preconceptions which made them iconic. Indeed, iconic places were banal at the beginning, and became iconic due to their extraordinary appeal once we tagged them with such a label. I realized I could still photograph icons in a highly personal way if I approached them with a clear mind, free of expectations, free of preconceptions and free of existing visual templates seen from other photographers. Most of all, I realized I could make a personal statement if I focused not on the subject matter, but on its essence, the way an iconic place represented something bigger than itself.

Living in Switzerland, I have visited the Matterhorn on countless occasions. This could have created such a familiarity that it became banal to me. However, over time, I have stopped seeing the "Matterhorn" and I have started to see in it a symbolic "mountain" value. The evening I took this photograph, banner clouds had started to form. The sun was setting behind the mountains and the last rays of light diffracted along the Matterhorn ridge. I saw the symbolic value of the scene; the mountain as if it was a volcano, creating its own weather where light seemed to emanate from the mountain itself. I framed tightly, set up a neutral density filter and took a long exposure photograph, allowing the clouds to soften and to increase, by contrast, the jagged nature of the mountain. I could barely take two photographs before the Sun sunk completely and the light was gone.

Back from "Lofoten, autumn moods 2013"

RR_20130925_DSC3583_sm

A couple of days ago we came back from our annual photographic trip "Lofoten: autumn moods". Beyond the arctic circle, we shared with an incredible group of 6 photographers the magic of the Lofoten islands, truly a paradise for landscape photographers. This was one of those trips where everything turns perfect... We enjoyed a wonderful and varied weather, full moon, peaking autumn colors and even some bright auroras danced for us on a couple of nights. Following our philosophy of our photo-immersion trips, we were based during the whole duration of the event in a same place, three comfortable and cozy huts by the ocean, from where we could visit many different places depending on the weather and light conditions. Our Photo Immersion trips offer a slightly different approach: to slow down our pace, to forget about running after photographic trophies and to focus on creating highly personal work about a specific area for a certain number of days. We minimize the travel in space to focus on travel in the light, travel through the changes in the weather, travel in time. Every day, we photograph a certain "playground" where you will notice that conditions are never the same. Every day, we get a little closer to the spirit of the place. Every day, we make a better friend. In a way, we focus on a type of internal travel, rather than an external one.

I have been quite a few times to the Lofoten islands already, and the truth is I never grow tired of it. There are few places on Earth where the juxtaposition between mountain and ocean is as strong and dramatic as here. Vertical cliffs of granite rise from the depths of the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea, like ancient monsters stranded on the beach and the rocky coast. Granite; eroded, sculpted and shaped by the elements during eons of time, sets the stage for this Wagnerian landscape, where the sea and the land battle with each other forming fjords and creating a paradise of negative and positive space at both sides of the shore.

We will be organizing this photo-immersion trip for next year 2014. In case you are interested, you will be able to find all the information about the trip and book a place here. We are really looking forward to sharing with you the light of the Valhalla!

 

 

New portfolio: Timeless

timeless thumbnail blog

 

Almost a year has passed since I visited Venice with my old trusty Hasselblad camera. Months later and after hours of developing, scanning and post-processing, my new on-going portfolio "Timeless" has been added to our online gallery. You can see the photographs here.

I still remember the first time I visited the floating city almost two decades ago. At that time, nothing could have prepared me for the surrealistic view of a city rising from the water. No matter how many photographs I had seen from Venice before, there I was frozen with a mixture of surprise and awe.

My photographic interest in this city might come as a surprise to some. For some reason, I have always preferred getting lost in a forest rather than wandering around a city... But Venice is not just a city; it is also a visual metaphor about the dual qualities of time and space. On one hand, there is a timeless character which seems to reign over the entire place. Due to the lack of references and its uniqueness, Venice seems to be an architectural mirage that defies the conventions of reality and seems to have been there since the origins of this world. Wandering around its canals and squares, it is difficult to imagine that it was all built by man, where once natural islands nestled in the middle of the sea lagoon. On the other hand though, Venice is the perfect metaphor for the passing of time, of change, of decay, of the ephemeral  existence of a banal world anchored to reality. Rubbing shoulders with amazing palazzos and glinting cathedrals, a myriad of deliciously derelict buildings show the scars of time in their peeling facades full of character. Like a living organism, the whole city is aging... and dying. Silently, the floating city might sink in the future as the level of the sea rises.

I wanted to photograph this double nature of Venice. I was after photographs which would capture ethereal views of an empty city which seems to float in time and space. Photographs where I could show the solitude and the silence of a place where human presence is never shown, but hinted, where extraordinary elements juxtapose with the banal and anonymous subjects found in the labyrinth of alleys and squares stand proud against the indifference of the world. As Minor White would have said, I was not seeking to photograph Venice for what it is, but for what else it is: a theatre stage of squares, canals and alleys where the very duality of human existence is performed. Dream versus reality, permanence versus decay, memory versus oblivion.

I knew from the beginning that I would use black and white film for this project. The quality and look of negative b&w film would help me convey that timeless character of Venice. Therefore, its wide latitude and non linear curve would allow me to photograph at ease during the night, in the high contrast of the dark canals lit by the lamps. I would also make the most of the reciprocity failure of film to photograph with very long exposures, erasing all moving elements, simplifying the compositions and giving the images a certain dreamlike and surrealistic look, as if the city were empty of inhabitants.

I have always loved the graphical strength of the square format, and this project became the perfect opportunity to use my Hasselblad system. No batteries, no LCD screens, no distractions. I got lost in the maze of canals, squares and hidden alleys and I quickly forgot I was using a camera. The goal was to focus on the emotional connection with the place and the moment. I opened my eyes and soul to the floating city, and the photographs came.

I will visit again Venice next November, but this time to lead a group of fellow photographers for our Photo-Immersion trip "Timeless Venice 2013". If you want to come with us you still have the chance. At this moment, there is one place left.

New Photo-trip: Lofoten, autumn colours 2014

1

In just three weeks I and Anca will be leaving for the norwegian arctic, where we will be leading a group of fellow photographers in the peak of the autumn magic in the Lofoten islands, one of the most photogenic and incredible places of this planet.

Our 2013 edition photo-trip sold out in a few days, and for good reason. We cannot think of a better place for landscape photographers: Mountains, sea, northern lights, autumn colours in the forest and the moss, dramatic weather and light conditions, wonderful villages nestled between granite and water.

We have decided to repeat this photo-trip next year. Our new edition of the Photo-Immersion trip "Lofoten: autumn colours 2014" has just been published on our website and is now open for registrations.

You will be able to find all the information, photos, itinerary, details, full PDF brochure and clients' testimonials on our website, here.

We are looking forward to sharing with you the light of the Valhalla!

Nouveau voyage photo-immersion: Lofoten, couleurs d'automne 2014

1

Dans quelques semaines, Anca et moi partirons vers l'arctique norvégien, où nous encadrerons un groupe de photographes au milieu de la magie de l'automne des îles Lofoten, l'un des endroits les plus spectaculaires dans le monde.

Notre édition 2013 de ce voyage a été rempli dans quelques jours seulement, et cela avec juste raison. On ne peut pas imaginer un endroit plus fort pour les photographes de paysage: des montagnes effilées qui tombent à pic dans l'océan, des aurores boréales, des forêts habillées en or, une lumière et des conditions météo impressionnantes...

Nous avons décidé de réaliser à nouveau ce voyage photographique l'année 2014. Notre prochain voyage Photo-Immersion "Lofoten: couleurs d'automne 2014" vient d'être publié dans notre site web et est déjà ouvert aux inscriptions online ici.

Vous trouverez toutes les informations, photos, détails, brochure PDF de 25 pages ainsi que des témoignages de nos clients sur notre page web, ici.

Rejoignez-nous. On sera vraiment ravi de partager avec vous les lumières magiques du Valhalla!

Nouveau Voyage Photo-Immersion "Île de Harris: Aquarelles des Hébrides 2014"

Sharpened version

Imaginez un endroit de plages de sable infinies, d'estuaires, de dunes sans fin recouvertes d'herbe balayée par le vent, de vagues se brisant sur les rivages et, comme toile de fond, de montagnes s'élevant au-dessus de l'océan… Maintenant, ajoutez les conditions de lumière les plus impressionnantes que vous pouvez imaginer et une touche de bout du monde. Bienvenue sur l'île de Harris.

Rejoignez nous dans notre prochain voyage photo-immersion dans cette terre mythique, "Île de Harris: Aquarelles des Hébrides 2014" qui aura lieu du 2 au 8 novembre 2014. Durant une semaine entière, nous photographierons le paysage en constant changement de ce joyau des Hébrides extérieures en Écosse.

Ce sera un voyage Photo Immersion exclusif dirigé personnellement par Rafael Rojas et Anca Minican. Tout au long de la semaine, nous serons confortablement basés dans un hôtel duquel nous serons en mesure d'atteindre aisément toutes les zones photographiques sélectionnées et nous adapter aux différentes conditions de lumière et météorologiques.

S'il y a un lieu semblant être créé pour les photographes de paysage, c'est sans aucun doute l'île de Harris. De loin, notre destination favorite en Écosse et l'une de nos préférées sur cette planète...

Vous pourrez trouver toute l'information relative à ce voyage, photos, brochure PDF complète, témoignages de nos clients et procéder à l'enregistrement online ici.

Rejoignez-nous et partagez avec nous les lumières magiques de l'Écosse!

 

New Photo - Immersion Trip "Isle of Harris: Hebridean watercolours 2014"

Sharpened version

Imagine a place of infinite sand beaches, tidal flats, and endless dunes covered with grass swaying in the wind, waves crashing on deserted shores and in the background, sensual mountains rising from the water... Now, add some of the wildest and most dramatic light conditions you can imagine and a delightful sense of remoteness. That is the Isle of Harris.

Join us on our new photo-immersion trip to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, "Isle of Harris, Hebridean Watercolours 2014", which will take place from the 2nd to the 8th of November 2014.

During a whole week, we will photograph a constantly changing landscape where the magical brushes of light and weather paint over a canvas of sand, water and grass in this gem of the Outer Hebrides.

This will be an All Inclusive Photo Immersion trip conducted personally by Rafael Rojas and Anca Minican. During the entire week we will be based at our comfortable hotel from where we will be able to easily reach all our chosen photographic areas and adapt ourselves to the different weather and light conditions.

If there is a place which seems been made for landscape photographers, it is the Isle of Harris. By far our favourite location in Scotland and one of our preferred places on this planet.

You will be able to find all the information, photos, itinerary, details, full PDF brochure and clients' testimonials from our website, here.

We are looking forward to sharing with you the light of the Hebrides!

 

New e-book from the series "A photographer's Vision"

Namibia thumbnail EN

I am really glad to officially announce the release of my first E-book of the series "A photographer's Vision", available in English, French and Spanish version.

For some time now, I have wanted to write a series of books that I myself would have liked to read before or during my photographic trips. Books that could serve as a source of inspiration, information and insight about how to approach the photographic process in a certain place in all its aspects: Vision, imagination, localisation, visualisation and realisation. Books that would also help prepare for encountering the spirit of the place but without killing the magic of discovering and interpreting it myself. Books where I could find information about all the elements which would become part of my photographic activity in those unknown places: How to find not the “best” locations but the best connections, how to choose timing and light in order to increase the expressiveness of my photographs, how to convey my emotions in the most powerful way...

This book, “A Photogra­pher’s Vision: Namibia” has become my first attempt at creating one of those books I would have loved to read and opens the door to a series of books where different locations and environments will be approached from a photogra­pher’s point of view, my personal point of view. "

With over 100 pages, this eBook brings an enormous amount of information and content. Throughout the five different chapters of this eBook (sand, rock, wood, water, fur), I reveal my motivations, vision, composition, light, technique, locations and stories behind a selection of 26 of my best photographs.

Are the books in this series only useful to those who plan to visit that specific location or environment? The answer is a rotund NO. None of the books from the series “A photographer’s vision” will constitute a simple photographic guide to a particular location that the reader could use to replicate a number of iconic photographs, collect the photographic trophies and move on following the vision of others.

On the contrary, these books have been conceived to help you discover your inner voice, your own vision, your method of approaching the subject, your way of emotionally connecting with it. This is why every one of the images that appears in these books transcends the place where it was taken and the subject it represents. They become mere examples, images over which deep thoughts are aired about all the components of the photographic process. In a way, these books give voice to some of my best images and experiences as a photographer, while exploring not only the outer landscape, but most of all the inner landscape that we carry with us wherever we go.

Therefore, much of the information that can be found in these books will be helpful to your own photography, whenever and wherever it takes place.

Coinciding with the launch, we offer a 50% launch discount until the 15th of July 2013. Introduce the promo-code: "namib" at the check-out to benefit from the discount.

More information, sample pages and reviews on the page:

http://rafaelrojasphoto.com/ebooks.php

Hope you enjoy it!

Great light to you all,

Back from Namibia

blog thumbnail

Every time I come from any of my photographic trips I experience a bunch of mixed feelings. There is nothing like spending a few weeks in remote areas of some of the most natural parts of this world, where the rhythm of the day is given by dawn and dusk, watches have no use, Internet does not exist and the human presence is reduced to tiny isolated oasis lost in the middle of the wilderness. The return to our routine is always, well...difficult. But if this happens in most of my travels, it does it particularly when coming from Africa. Some days ago, we arrived from Namibia, where we spent two incredible weeks leading our photographic trip "Namibia, desert & wildlife 2013". It was a magical experience, truly a lifetime experience which will remain in the heads and hearts of us all. Talking these last days with some of the participants who came with us, we all agreed about the fact these trips change you forever. For some reason, when departing from Namibia we all felt we were leaving home, and were coming somewhere else. For many days, we could not find our ways back into the rhythms of our occidental society, into this built world of ours where tiny patches of nature appear surrounded, suffocated, by the tidy and controlled world of humans. Africa was the cradle of humanity, and for some reason I believe we all carry in our blood a kind of genetic souvenir of this ancient land. As soon as I land in Namibia, I feel at home. There is something magical in its light, its sounds, its smells...

Photographically speaking, we all had a blast. We experienced great conditions of light during the two weeks we were there, with very special opportunities to photograph Deadvlei and Sossusvlei during the night, sunrise and sunset. Huge dunes, rocky mountains, infinite plains with pastel colours, animals reflected in the waterholes at sunset and the graphical Quiver trees under the eerie light of the Moon were only some of the subjects we could photograph. The group was absolutely fantastic. Calling them clients would almost be an insult...as at the end we got in them really good friends with whom we had shared a magical experience. From here, I would like to thank them so much for all their enthusiasm and great mood they displayed during the whole trip.

If there is a place we would never grow tired of visiting and photographing in this world, that is Namibia. That is why we have decided to run another photographic trip to this landscape photographer's heaven next year. Our photographic trip "Namibia, desert & wildlife 2014" has just been published in our photo-trips page and is open for online registrations. If things happen like last year, we expect places to run out fast, so if you are interested please register sooner than later to avoid disappointment. You will be able to find all the information, photos, full PDF brochure of 26 pages and sincere testimonials of the participants who came with us and which speak volumes about what you can expect from us.

Here below there is a short selection of some photographs of the trip. I miss Namibia already...

Great light to you all,

New photo-immersion trip: "Finland, kingdom of silence 2014"

thumbnail

We are really glad to announce that our new Photo-Immersion trip "Finland, Kingdom of Silence 2014", which will take place from the 9th to the 16th of February 2014 has been published on our website this month and is open for registrations. So far, there are only three places available.

In winter, the boreal forest of the Finnish Lapland becomes a surrea­listic kingdom of silence, where trees turn into sculptures, the sun skims the horizon and the northern lights paint the skies. Nowhere else is winter as magical as here.

Our Photo Immersion trip will coincide with the peak of the auroral activity and with the full moon. During a whole week, we will photograph the otherworldly trees of the boreal forest encrusted with ice and snow, rock canyons, frozen lakes and rivers­ and northern lights in two of the most amazing national parks of the Finnish Lapland.

During the entire week we will be based at our exclusive and comfortable log house, from where we will be able to easily reach all our chosen photographic areas and adapt ourselves to the different weather and light conditions. It will be here too where we will be able to discuss photography in front of a convivial­ log fire in the evenings, and relax in our sauna after a magical day of winter photography.

Join us on this exclusive Photo-Immersion trip to one of the most magical winter wonderlands on Earth, the Finnish Lapland. A very limited number of places is still available (3 places remaining), for all photographic levels. The official languages for this photo-immersion trip will be English and French.

You will be able to find all the information related to this Photo-Immersion trip, download the full PDF brochure and proceed to the online registration here.

See you under the northern lights!

Nouveau voyage photo-immersion "Finlande, Royaume du Silence 2014"

thumbnail

Nous sommes vraiment heureux d'annoncer que notre nouveau voyage Photo-Immersion "Finlande, Royaume du Silence 2014», qui aura lieu du 9 au 16 février 2014, a été publié sur notre site internet ce mois de mai et est ouvert aux inscriptions.

En hiver, la forêt boréale de la Laponie finlandaise se transforme en un silencieux royaume surréaliste dans lequel les arbres deviennent sculptures, le soleil effleure l'horizon et les aurores boréales colorent le ciel. Nulle part ailleurs l'hiver n'est aussi magique qu'ici.

Notre voyage aura lieu en coïncidant avec le pic d'activité d'aurores boréales et la pleine lune. Durant une semaine, nous photographierons des arbres surnaturels incrustés de glace et de neige, de gorges rocheuses, de lacs et rivières gelés et d'aurores boréales dans deux des parcs nationaux les plus stupéfiants de Finlande.

Durant toute la semaine, nous serons logés dans une confortable maison en bois de laquelle nous pourrons nous rendre facilement dans tous les endroits à photographier et nous adapter aux différentes conditions météorologiques et de lumière. Nous y tiendrons également nos discussions sur la photographie, en soirée, en face d'un agréable feu de cheminée et pourrons également nous détendre dans notre sauna après une journée magique de photographie hivernale.

Rejoignez-nous pour cet exclusif voyage ‘Photo-Immersion’. Un nombre très limité de places est encore disponible (3 places), pour tous les niveaux photographiques. Les langues officielles pour ce voyage photo-immersion seront le Français et l'Anglais.

Vous pourrez trouver toutes les informations relatives à ce voyage Photo-Immersion, téléchargez la brochure PDF et procéder à l'inscription en ligne ici.

A bientôt sous les lumières du Nord!

Africa, here we go

namibian boulders

As I am writing these lines, I have all my photographic equipment covering every single square meter of my studio, suitcases in the living room and a long check-list of things to bring with me on the table. In a few days, we will be leaving to lead our photo-adventure trip "Namibia: Desert & Wildlife 2013" along with a wonderful group of fellow photographers. I have always thought that great trips are never ending. They start well before you embark on them. Months before you hop into the plane, you already dream of the destination, of the unexpected, of finally getting to know a place which still only exists in your imagination. This is the time when a map in the Atlas speaks to us about incredible sunrises, exciting encounters and a dose of adventure under each of the names we can read on it.

The arrival is always a magical experience. I would say it is like finally meeting a pen pal with who we have been exchanging letters for a long time. The imagined becomes real. Sounds and smells add to the visual experience. We are finally there. A door is opened to exploration, to breaking up the expectations we had. We sit down at a table where a mysterious and unknown menu is about to be served. Being open to the whatever comes is the trick to fully enjoy it, never saying "I do not like it" before it is tasted...

Even once we come back home, the trip is far from being over. I have always been amazed about how many people think of travelling as a short-period activity, which is consumed like a bottle of water of a pack of cigarettes. Travelling is like climbing up another step in the ladder of life. You are not the same when you come back. You are more you.

Photographers, provided they travel with the good attitude, have the potential of enjoying even more any travelling activity since the creative process of making photographs can very much foster a deeper emotional connection with the place they visit. Not only that, their memories of the visited places will eternally become bound to those images engraved in emulsion or recorded as digital files, each of them becoming the catalyst of a myriad of feelings and emotions. Feeling the light, listening to the landscape, observing the world go by and slowing down the pace to engage into a more personal experience of the place can also be some of the beneficial side-effects of photography for the traveler...

However, we can also get eaten by the monster we create. We photographers run the risk of allowing the camera to become a barrier, a dampener of the joy of travelling and a mask to the real face of the place we visit. Bringing with us too many preconceptions or a list of trophy shots to be ticked off will certainly open a box of Pandora filled with frustrations, negative feelings and an almost guaranteed impossibility to connect, enjoy and fully experience the places we visit.

So, as the day of departure arrives, it is not only important to pack up our gear, clothes and equipment, but also to prepare our mind. In the same way we check-list the equipment we will bring with us, it is a good advice to un-check any mental structure or strong preconceptions we might have about the place we are about to visit and the photographs we might bring back. We have dreamt about a destination, thought about it and imagined it. In a way, we have so far enjoyed a mental trip to an imaginary place of our own, and that is wonderful. But now, it is time to free the mind, open the eyes and become a dry sponge eager to be soaked up with that liquid we call life.

Africa, here we go.

First prize at the MML awards - Spain

1

I had the great news of having been selected as the winner of the "Other Landscapes" categories of the renown "Memorial Maria Luisa" nature photography contest. This contest, held in Spain every year, has grown to become one of the main contests in the field of outdoor photography. Every year, it draws many tens of thousands of images as entries from the best professionals in the field of nature and landscape photography from over 50 countries worldwide. The winning photograph was "Green Seas", a photograph I made a year and a half in the Lofoten islands in a magical night where the Northern Lights flooded the night sky.

You can check the winning entries here.

Bravo to all winning photographers, and do not forget to submit your photographs next year. MML is one of the most special contests out there...

Finalist at Hasselblad Masters Awards 2014

finalists

A couple of days ago I received some incredible news: I am finalist at the Hasselblad Masters Awards 2014! This is one of the most renowned photography competitions worldwide, and I could not be happier to be considered as one of the contenders for the prize.

A portfolio of three photographs from my series of giraffes in the night has been selected as one of the 10 finalists in the category wildlife. During the year 2013, the public will take part in the judging process. Finally, the winners will be announced in January 2014.

You can check my candidate portfolio here. If you really like it and think it deserves winning, it would be really appreciated if you can give it a vote! Thanks so much in advance.

Take care and great light to you all ;-)

New RRPH Workshops for 2013 published!

new workshops small

Hi there! We would like to let you know that our new photographic Workshops for the year 2013 have just been published on our website.

You will find the whole list of courses available and will be able to download the PDF brochures of each of the workshops (either in French or in English) here:

http://rafaelrojasphoto.com/workshops.php

Feel free to forward this information to those who might be interested! As the number of places is quite reduced, the workshops tend to sold out quite soon.

We are looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you some great light!

rafael

Image

NEW! PHOTO TRIP "NAMIBIA: Desert & Wildlife 2013" announced!!

Sand dune in the Sossusvlei area, Namib Naukluft National Park, Namibia, Africa

Hi all! We are extremely glad to announce you all our next exclusive Photo Trip "Namibia: Desert & Wildlife - 2013"!

Join landscape and nature photographer Rafael Rojas and his partner Anca Minican on this exclusive photographic trip to Namibia which will take place from the 19th of May to the 1st of June 2013. Over a period of two weeks we will visit and photograph some of the most incredible places in the whole African continent that provide a real dream environment for the photographer: The highest sand dunes on Earth, the striking landscape of NamibRand reservation, imposing granite mountains rising from the plains, surrealist and graphical trees which seem from another planet, the amazing wildlife of Etosha...

This will be an All Inclusive Photographic Trip conducted personally by Rafael Rojas and Anca Minican, relaxed yet well organized so that you spend your time photographing, not on the road, and where we will benefit from the best lodges, food and transportation services offeredin the country, many of which provide a memorable experience in themselves.

English, French and Spanish speakers are welcome to this Photo Trip!

You can download here our detailed 30 pages PDF Brochure for this Photo Trip, available either in English or in French, or also by clicking on the Trip Banner below!

As a reduced number of places is available, we expect this Photo Trip to fill quickly, so do not delay your inscription if you are interested!

Do not hesitate to contact us in case you have any question and see you soon... maybe in the dunes of the Namib desert?

Rafael and Anca