“I am hiking in the heat to reach the viewpoint that I had carefully found on my map. I had to find this spot. I had seen previous work of a famous photographer at this location and thought to myself, I have to take a better, less enhanced photo than him! I reached the top, and the view is just indescribable. I set up my gear and I’m almost ready to start taking photos when it starts raining. All that effort for nothing. The layer of cloud was so thick; I was sure I wouldn’t get a proper sunset photo. Somehow, the intense rain stopped and through a small gap, the rays of sun said hello!”
For photographer Tom de Waart, when it comes to flying across oceans and looking for new adventures, the challenge is not finding a new frontier, but trying to form an original composition. As a self-proclaimed impatient person, he finds relaxation and calmness in the art of photography. Hiking and exploring areas with 30kg of photography equipment on his back, makes up for him sitting down at his job all day. ‘’You should know how many calories I burn because of the fear of missing that million dollar shot’’.
Photographed with Nikon D750 and AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED at 26mm, ISO 100, f/13, 10 seconds
Photographed with Nikon D750 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR at 75mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/10 seconds
As a pilot, Tom gets to see most parts of the world. On his off days, he will try to fly to new places and lives his life out of a suitcase. “My job makes it easy for me to travel with discounted fares. It would be a waste not to take advantage of it. I love being outdoors and enjoy being one with nature’’.
Being a passionate photographer and adventurer, Tom focuses on several key components of his composition to bring out the best in the landscapes he captures abroad.
‘’95% of my better photographs are shot during either sunset, sunrise or at night. I find taking photos during the day very tricky since most highlights will destroy the rest of the photo”.
Below are four tips from Tom for capturing breath-taking landscapes:
“Your gear is very important. It might be a back breaker, however, some items are a must, especially for landscape photography. A sturdy tripod and a sturdy, compact camera like the Nikon D750 are essential. Quality glass is a must and I recently upgraded to the amazingly sharp AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter, a 10 stops neutral density filter (for long-exposures during bright daylight), remote release, multiple batteries and a rain cover are highly advisable as well.”
“I prefer to shoot during golden hour at sunset. You will get the best balance with correct lighting and colour. So I use this app to see when sunset is and make sure I am on location around 30 minutes before that so I won’t miss that nice lighting.”
The rule of thirds is very important. Most Nikon cameras come with a Live View and if you press the info button a couple times you get overlay lines that help you to divide the screen with the points on where you want to put you focus on. Also, it’s very important to not frame your horizon exactly halfway. Try to include either more [of the] sky or landscape.”
“Create your own style and adapt over time. If I look back at my photos from when I started, I notice that the learning curve is very steep if you are willing to learn from other people. I am self-taught as well and I got most of my skills going out with other photographers and learning the ropes from them. I always say, being eager to learn and always wanting to be better will make you develop your skills faster. So keep making mistakes!”
Tom de Waart first started shooting photos on his trips abroad. He soon realised that his passion had to go to the next level, so he purchased a full-frame DSLR. “My sister was telling me to buy one already way before that. I should have listened.” Starting off with landscape and travel photography as a hobby, nowadays, Tom is taking it to a professional level while running a shared events photography company in Hong Kong. He still likes to travel and shoot landscapes above anything else as it is in his roots. When asked if he would ever tire of his photographic pursuits, he replied, “Every trip I make I get motivated to see more and more.”