Mark Brodkin is an accomplished landscape photographer from Canada who travels the world to capture amazing scenes. I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark for Loaded Landscapes. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know more about him, as well as browsing the inspiring samples of his work included throughout the interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in photography.
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and have lived in New York and Washington DC. In pursuit of my images, I have traveled through Canada, the United States, South Africa, Namibia, Japan, China, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Morocco, Greece, France, Jordan, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Israel, Iceland and Turkey. My images have appeared globally in Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, Outdoor Photographer Online, The Daily Mirror and the Toronto Star. In 2014, my image “Out from the Fog” was awarded Canadian Photograph of the Year.
I really started shooting travel photography while on vacation in Thailand in 2007. My love for photography grew and in 2009 I traveled through Southeast Asia and India in pursuit of images. Upon my return, I had my first private show and began selling my work through art galleries in Toronto. Since then I have been in 17 shows and sold my images around the world. Photography remains my true passion and connects me to the most incredible places on our planet.
Do you have any formal photography training?
I do not have any formal training. All of my training has come from online resources, working with other photographers and real-world experience. As a landscape photographer, outdoors skills and the ability to predict the weather are key components for success. With every trip, I continue to build on my base of experiences and hopefully improve my skills.
What draws you to landscapes rather than other types of photography or subjects?
There is something incredibly uplifting about standing before the most incredible natural beauty in incredible light. As a landscape photographer, I am able to witness nature during her finest moments. For this I am truly grateful. There is also the incredible thrill of shooting when the conditions are great. There is no certainty that nature will cooperate so, when it does, the experience is exhilarating.
How would you describe your photographic style?
My goal in photography is to move the view emotionally as I was moved when witnessing the scene in my image. Through capturing incredible moments in the field and thoughtful post-processing techniques, I attempt to recreate the thrill I felt while shooting. If anything, I would describe my style as emotional and passionate. I am an artist, not a journalist and my work is intended to inspire as opposed to purely recording the scene I witnessed.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. I am inspired by the natural beauty in the locations I shoot. I am also inspired by the incredible work of other nature photographers. Often, for inspiration, I will look at thousands of images from the best photographers online. On location, I need not look far to be inspired by the incredible beauty of nature.
How do you prepare before a shoot?
I prepare extensively for every shoot. In advance of visiting, I spend hours online looking at images shot from a particular location. I also study google maps to understand the terrain and distances between locations on my shot list. As I get closer to a shoot, I begin to study the weather and tide tables. For each shoot, I prepare to have multiple shooting locations available and try to chase the best weather. When possible I speak with other photographers who have been to the location and when I arrive I always speak with locals and other photographers I meet in the field. Preparation is a key component for success and a big part of my process.
What are your most essential gear/accessories?
I shoot with a Nikon D850. My essential lenses are the 14-24mm, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 24mm Tilt Shift. I carry an RRS tripod with a panorama head. For filters, I have a 3 stop ND Filter and a circular polarizer. I also carry a Hoodman loupe.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work as a landscape photographer?
The biggest challenge is finding the time to be in a location long enough to get good light. In some cases, getting to the location is also a big challenge. Often locations are hard to access and in order to be shot in good light require hiking in or out in the dark. Another challenge is originality. It is hard today to make an original image and many of the iconic images have been over shot by an ever-growing population of photographers. I combat this mostly in post-production where the artistic possibilities are endless.
Do you have a dream location that you have not been to yet?
I would like to shoot Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon and the Great Migration in Tanzania, both of which I plan on doing this year. Norway, Scotland and Tuscany are also on my list.
Aside from photography, what hobbies do you have, or what do you like to do for fun?
I have a Golden Retriever puppy and an 18-month old daughter who keep me quite busy. I am a huge baseball fan and love visiting stadiums across the United States. For sports I like to ski and scuba dive when time permits. And, of course, I absolutely love to travel.
Connect with Mark
If you’d like to see more of Mark’s work or to get in touch with him, please use the links below:
Photos used in this post are © Mark Brodkin, used with permission.