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lightcaptured

Interview with Damian Hadjiyvanov

Interviews

13 May 2016

Posted by Anna Fraser

Hi Damian! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

I am a professional photographer and have been since 2014, I consider myself a citizen of the world and an open minded person. I was born in Bulgaria. I really love to travel, and when traveling, my destination is not only the place I am going to, but also another way of seeing the world. My favourite types of photography are travel photography and portraiture, but I love experimenting a lot and I am always working on a couple of side projects. Getting myself out of my comfort zone is what forces me learn new things, enriches me and motivates me to progress.

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

AOh, there are so many. :) While chasing the Northern Lights, I unintentionally blocked a big truck on a long, narrow, steep, icy road in northern Norway. I once argued with Greek security on a church roof in Santorini, and I've even been punched while attending a folklore ritual with masked people in a small Bulgarian village. All instances ended happily, thankfully! :)

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AI love prime lenses, so very often I go out only with my favourite camera, Canon EOS 5D Mark III, one spare battery and my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, which is a very useful and light lens. Sometimes, however (e.g. during my last big trip to northern Norway to photograph the Aurora Borealis), I go heavy-weighted - a solid tripod is necessary for good landscape photography. While in Norway, I also had a Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM, Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, 3 spare batteries, lens cleaning set, a remote radio trigger, a flash, an anti-condensation bag for the camera, and additionally, for the long nights, a thermos full of herbal tea, some sweets and a military grade pepper spray just in case we got attacked by a polar bear or another wild animal! :) It was such a relief that I didn't have to use that final item! :D

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

ATry to express emotions or tell a story with your photos. In my opinion, this is what distinguishes a great artistic photo from a bunch of pixels. Sometimes it feels very difficult to be accomplished, but I'm learning every day.

This has to be my favourite picture - it was maybe one of the trickiest photos to take. I was in the mountains for a week with friends, and of course my camera was with me. Foxe... Read more

This has to be my favourite picture - it was maybe one of the trickiest photos to take. I was in the mountains for a week with friends, and of course my camera was with me. Foxes are rare in Bulgaria in general, and they are very afraid of people. Because of this they search for food during the night. Once I noticed the tracks of the animal, I set up a "trap" - my manual flash on a tree with a remote trigger. I had only my Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens with me, so I had to be very patient until she came to look at me. I was having few beers with my friends but I kept holding the camera in my hands almost the whole night. Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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This photo was taken during "Surva", the International Festival of the Masquerade Games in Pernik, Bulgaria. A group of bagpipers were playing their enchanting music and I notic... Read more

This photo was taken during "Surva", the International Festival of the Masquerade Games in Pernik, Bulgaria. A group of bagpipers were playing their enchanting music and I noticed the boy in the photo, he was so focused and looked obsessed by the magic of the music. The snow, the crowd, it was almost surreal. It was as if he was in a little universe. Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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I took this photo on a snow covered hill close to the fjords near Tromsø, a small, beautiful town in northern Norway. To have the chance to see and photograph the Northern Light... Read more

I took this photo on a snow covered hill close to the fjords near Tromsø, a small, beautiful town in northern Norway. To have the chance to see and photograph the Northern Lights, the magical Aurora Borealis, was a dream come true for me. I was leading a small group of travellers and photographers and it was a challenge to aid everyone in need and to take photos at the same time. After waking up at around 6:30 in the morning to take a flight from Copenhagen to Oslo, and then from Oslo to Tromsø, just to find out upon arrival that all the luggage is missing (including my tripod and my special winter cold protection clothes, shoes, etc.) getting the rental car and checking in at the hotel at around 9:00 PM, it was a real show of passion and desire to find myself driving the car and chasing the Northern Lights after 10:00 PM. I recall that I first saw the stunning Aurora around midnight and this photo I took around 00:30 AM on February 15, 2016. It was cold, between -12 and -15 °C, but the chase continued until around 3:00 AM that night. :) I believe I managed to capture a few nice shots! Read less

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Light Captured by Damian

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People dressed like this are called "Kukeri" (plural). The Kukeri usually dance in the streets to scare the evil spirits, banish the cold, and to summon fertility and health. Th... Read more

People dressed like this are called "Kukeri" (plural). The Kukeri usually dance in the streets to scare the evil spirits, banish the cold, and to summon fertility and health. They perform symbolic ritual actions such as ploughing and sowing. This photo was also taken during "Surva", the International Festival of the Masquerade Games in Pernik, Bulgaria. You could imagine how hard it is to jump and dance with that heavy mask and those brass bells. And the performance lasts for several hours! Read less

Camera outline

Light Captured by Damian

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This is a panorama stitched together out of several photos I took in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. It was very challenging to take these photos, because the wind was very strong, s... Read more

This is a panorama stitched together out of several photos I took in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. It was very challenging to take these photos, because the wind was very strong, so strong that it was even moving my tripod which had a bag of rocks on it! It's also worth mentioning there was a precipice just behind those rocks that can you see in the bottom part of the picture :). Lanzarote is a very photogenic, contrasting, and picturesque place, and I want to go back to take more photos. Read less

Camera outline

Light Captured by Damian

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I am really proud of taking this photo. It was during a very beautiful and colourful folklore festival in Bulgaria. The town square was full of young people dressed in typical B... Read more

I am really proud of taking this photo. It was during a very beautiful and colourful folklore festival in Bulgaria. The town square was full of young people dressed in typical Bulgarian folklore costumes, performing spectacular dances and songs. Words can't really describe it, the atmosphere was very joyful and it felt like a big holiday. I was following a particular group of dancers and I managed to take this photo. Later, it was selected by the Bulgarian national air carrier to represent the richness of Bulgarian folklore, and it was printed in a magazine which was distributed around the globe.There are seven ethnographic regions in Bulgaria, each one having its distinctive appearance and colours, with its own typical folk music and corresponding songs and dances, with customs and crafts well preserved over time. You can't even imagine the vibrancy of our festivals. I hope I managed to capture and share some of that beauty in this photo of these awesome dancers. The scene hadn't been staged, I was patient enough to wait for the moment when only one girl of the group was looking at me and smiling and I set quickly my camera to isolate her by using a shallow depth of field. Read less

Camera outline

Light Captured by Damian

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This was taken in a caravan, riding on the back of a camel, on the hot sands of Lanzarote under the cloudless sky and between the volcanoes. Yes, every hill or mountain you see ... Read more

This was taken in a caravan, riding on the back of a camel, on the hot sands of Lanzarote under the cloudless sky and between the volcanoes. Yes, every hill or mountain you see there is a volcano. It's like a moon on Earth. I'll definitely be going back to Lanzarote, I already noted few wonderful spots on the island to take photos of the sunsets and sunrises. I converted the photo to black and white so you can better feel the moment and the soul of the place. Read less

Camera outline

Light Captured by Damian

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