Emerging

Emerging: Ryan De Dominicis

Ryan De Dominicis is a landscape photographer originally from the UK now based in New Zealand combining his love of travel and photography beautifully…

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Tell us a little bit about your background and how you began shooting landscapes.
I come from a relatively small family, we grew up in the north of England. My father is Italian (hence the unpronounceable name) and my mother is English. Although we didn’t have much money growing up, my parents understood the importance of travelling. We would go on regular camping trips around France and the UK and visited family in Italy at least once a year.
Since a very young age I remember being fascinated with the natural world and the beauty of this planet. Every Sunday, my father and I would sit on the couch together and watch nature documentaries all day. I’d always be blown away with the diversity and beauty of the far away places I was seeing on the screen. Those early experiences grew within me a deep desire to travel and explore this wonderful planet we call home. I always knew that one day I’d throw on a backpack and hit the road.
On family holidays as a child, my mother would always hand me the disposable camera to snap pics of the family. She used to say that I had an eye for taking photos. I would always be more interested in photographing my surroundings, be it a cloudy mountain range, a lush forest, the sun glistening off the ocean or even just a lonely snail climbing a fence post. I’ve always photographed things that fascinate me and tried to capture the beauty that can be found in the simplest of places.
My parents bought me my first camera; it was a Canon EOS 300 film camera. I used to make use of the darkroom at school to develop my own photos which was cool. Eventually though, I made the step to digital photography.
When I turned 24, my real travels began. Up until then I’d travelled around Europe quite a lot but hadn’t really ventured much further. Naturally I chose to head as far away from home as I could and ended up in Australia. I spent a year there before spending five months in South East Asia and five months in South America. I now currently reside in Wellington, New Zealand. I really love it here and hope to stay for at least another year.

Is your photography dictated by your travels or do you travel to photograph?
My photography is definitely dictated by my travels. Travel has always been the most important thing for me. Although, when I find myself settled in one place for an extended period of time, I make a point of travelling the local areas to find photo opportunities.
I’m very fortunate to live where I do; New Zealand is a photographer’s dream and so getting out, taking pics and staying motivated is easy.

The most challenging part for me is definitely the patience that’s required to shoot landscape. I’ve never been much of a patient person and landscape photography definitely tests me.

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of landscape photography and, conversely, what is the most rewarding part?
The most challenging part for me is definitely the patience that’s required to shoot landscape. I’ve never been much of a patient person and landscape photography definitely tests me.
Once I’ve decided on a location to shoot I generally then decide on the right time of day or night to shoot depending on that location. I usually like to shoot at sunrise or sunset for the best light.
Shooting at these times requires you to turn up to a spot well before the sun comes up or goes down, find the composition that you like, then wait for the perfect light (which frequently never materialises). If you’re lucky and the conditions are right, you’ll get a very small window in which to actually shoot your photo.
Another challenging part of photography for me is actually getting to my chosen location. A lot of the time the best locations require long hikes and drives. Although it’s challenging, I definitely enjoy this side of photography.

Talk us through the contents of your camera bag when you are doing a landscape shoot.
I typically tend to carry as little as possible when I’m out taking photos, purely for convenience and ease. I carry my main camera which is a Canon 7D, I love the 7D; it’s such a rugged camera and has always functioned perfectly for my needs. I carry a couple of wide angle lenses, a Sigma 10-20mm and a Samyang 14mm for night photography, also long lens which is a Canon 55-250mm. A good sturdy tripod is a must for landscape, I use a Vanguard Veo 235AB which is nice and sturdy but also folds away really compact so it’s easy to carry. I also carry a range of different filters. I like to try and capture as much as possible in camera to minimise the amount of post-processing needed. Filters are really handy for that.

A lot of people have a problem with post-processing but I see a photo as a piece of art, I am the artist and the photo is my interpretation of a scene.

What are your preferred post-production tools and how much retouching do you like to do with your landscape photography?
Post-processing is really important in landscape photography. I only shoot in RAW which captures a very dynamic image but always looks kind of uninteresting straight from the camera. Modern cameras can capture a huge range of colours, tones, highlights and shadows when shooting RAW. However it’s in post-processing where the image really comes alive. A lot of people have a problem with post-processing but I see a photo as a piece of art, I am the artist and the photo is my interpretation of a scene. I will never add anything to a photo, I just try bring out what is already there.
My favourite tools are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is excellent for general adjustments and I tend to only use Photoshop for fine tuning.

What is the top piece of advice that you would give to photographers considering landscape photography?
My biggest piece of advice is to invest in experiences rather than equipment! This is by far the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years. The best camera in the world is the one you have on you. There’s no point in having a $2k camera if you have nothing to shoot. I’d much rather spend the $2k on two months traveling through a beautiful part of the world and shoot with my phone.
Another bit of advice is to just have fun with it. Landscape photography is extremely fun, don’t take it too seriously and enjoy yourself.

What is next for you? Do you have any trips planned or projects that you can tell us about?
My partner and I have just bought a camper van which I’m really excited about, it’s going to open up a whole new world of photo opportunities for me. Over the next few months we plan to go away as often as possible and continue exploring this beautiful country, continue taking photos, learning, and most importantly, enjoying it!

See more of Ryan’s work at:

Instagram / Facebook

All images copyright Ryan De Dominicis.

coffee on the beach

castle rock

castle rock 2

lighthouse sunrise

lifer guard tower

miramar copy

island bay sunset

milky way

lighthouse milkyway

Milky Way reflection

on the road

island bay

melbourne pier

san diego pier copy

reflection

wellington harbour

devils gate

texas flowers

mckinney falls

wine tasting

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