By Ryan in Photographers on December 8, 2008
Michal Mierzejewski, also known as Werol is a fantastic Polish photographer specializing in landscape photography primarily focused on bringing out vibrant, rich colors from a variety of settings. Through his technique's Werol is able to ignite an inferno of emotion in every shot. Please visit his website at www.werol.org to see greater selection of Michal's outstanding work.
A good photographer is able to take a static scene and bring it to life, you are particularly good at this and your shots seem to explode from the screen, are there any tips or pointers you can pass along about how to achieve such magnificence?
The first step is the one thing we all do every morning – most important for photographer - opening Your eyes. The way our natural lenses are opened from that very moment makes the difference about capturing all the beauty out there composed by nature. After that starts "The Waiting Game" as one of my photo heroes David Noton usually says. The "exploding" shot can be made only when all the elements are coming together, so prepare for lonely pre-dawn/dusk vigils in founded location.
Many photographers remove color from their shots to create a subtle mood, as a result they tend to strip the shots of their emotion, you, however, do the opposite and create gorgeously vibrant shots, what made you choose this direction to take your art?
This saturation is something I have in me really deep, I suppose from the very beginning. My moment for taking a photograph starts & ends within about one or two-hour vigil during dawn or dusk. The best is being presented by light before even great percent of our population is even up. So many times I wanted to show it to the home audience because those colors are only available in nature at the time of their sleep. Those stunning colors should be exposed especially now, when untouched nature is constantly vanishing.
You have a small collection of shots involving heavy fog that look absolutely fantastic, normally shooting fog is very difficult, how were you able to harness it's abstract nature in order to create the shots you need?
Well to be honest I have enormous collection of fog involved shots – it’s my beloved weather condition. I just don’t feel like I should open this book now. Fog successfully does it’s guardian duty. Shooting in those condition is really tough and the light does the first place part. The thing is to let the wafts of mist to drape themselves over You, simply to feel, touch and drain them. True is that use of tripod and set of filters like ND & color grads is essential before the next game is started. White balance is then the clue. The rest is up to you.
Your shots seem to take place in a large variety of settings, do you often travel to find the greatest shot? Is there a particular place you find most beautiful?
I love to find the best location before playing with my camera settings during the shooting but still true is the fact it should not be taken for granted. The game with nature is constant and the only way to win - is creative use of best optics in the world - Your eyes. So be brave! Observe the conditions and relocate if You only think it would improve the shot.
Some shots almost frame themselves, others are much more difficult to take, what is the most difficult shot you have ever taken? How were you able to pull it off?
"Fire garden" was pretty difficult to make and not because of those light flames surrounding me there… I suddenly noticed I’m not alone in this place. Standing by my tripod and setting camera my eyes met most unusual sight. 5 or 6 meters by my right hand I saw a sow with her young. I was terrified. With all the equipment I was so vulnerable. I decided not to run – just because my legs weren’t at all in my command. Finally I did make them move and slowly tried to go back. Whole 5 of them were staring at me… They are also scared – strange thought came to me at that moment. This was the turning point. I slowly gathered my stuff & went home without any loss.
You also have a great collection of shots with prominent rays of light, is there a trick to capturing this with a camera or are the rays being added later in Photoshop?
My life is like chasing the light all the time. I cannot do those kind of things in Photoshop. It’s too hard. I find it easier to use natural rays of light. I often wonder how it’s possible not to see them. People must look in right direction so they miss the best form sun.
May photographers teach themselves, others learn from others, do you have any formal training?
I didn’t take any course in my life. I hate being directed the way I don’t want to go. My way is different. Observe, Think and Try!
Often the mood of an artist greatly effects the nature of a piece, how does your mood effect your art?
In my photographs I try to keep all the beauty spread out anywhere around us just to make it clear, perceptible and almost substantial. My mood is essential but I learned how to moderate it. Especially by music.
Photography has a very powerful way of capturing reality, do you think it has had a profound effect on our society over the years?
Photography never tells the truth, it’s like a liar – again and again - never tells the truth. That’s why it is so powerful in our society.
Millions of people snap photos everyday but there is an obvious difference between a photographer and someone with a camera, beyond special training and such what is it that makes a true photographer unique?
Well I don’t know what makes art photography unique, everyone has it’s own impressions about that. My dreamy world - I want to live in - is highly unusual and rare, but I’m not sure we can call unique showing it to You through my photographs. Everyone has it’s own dreams and worlds. No special training can do the difference. We cannot tell the future that’s why everything is unique. Van Gogh never sold one work and now.
Have you ever had the feeling that there is nothing left to shoot, that you have captured everything that you wanted to? How do you discover new things that help you take your art to a different level?
Nature makes my sources fully loaded. Nature never gives the same show in life. I need one thing only. Time. It’s not just shooting all the time way to make a good photo. Time is something I desperately want. Shooting nature is like waiting for surprise gift U so badly want. U know it might happen but still it’s not today… Unfortunately it’s not easy to live from photography here in Poland, so I have to work elsewhere. „The Time" makes it more difficult, so difficult I sometimes forget about whole world watching sunrises. The only way is to travel a bit during holidays twice a year. There’s all free time I got.
While a good camera is important, a common misconception is that anyone could be a photographer if they invested in an expensive camera, obviously this couldn't be further from the truth, how do you feel about this sort of opinion?
I don’t think the quality of a camera is important at all. Nowadays my favorite camera is the canon T90 which costs about $30.
Editors Note: The Cannon T90 is a fairly high quality camera body released in 1986. What makes it unique in today's camera world is that it uses regular camera film and is not a digital camera.
In your opinion, what is the most common mistake aspiring photographers seem to make?
Overestimating camera importance.
Is there any advice you can pass on to any young photographers ?
Observe – Think – Try!