Push yourself

During the photography lecture I give on the ships I work on, I try to provide the guests with a few tips with which they can improve their photography. I don’t really go into settings (as those lectures are relatively dull in my opinion), but I try to let them think about why they want to take the picture and what they need in the image to tell that story or convey that feeling.

phase 2: a blue iceberg with reflection

In the last part, I explain the three stages I use when I’m out photographing. The first phase is really short and is just about making sure to get a picture from the moment. Maybe the moment you see is gone after a few seconds, or the animal has fled, so you might want to have at least a picture.


The second stage takes the longest. During this phase, I try to make the best picture possible. With this, I often stay within my own comfort zone and do the things I usually do and try to get the best exposed and composed picture I see in this situation.

phase 3: a more abstract close up of the same iceberg


When I’m satisfied with the pictures I’ve got, I move over to the next phase. Here I try to push myself and step out of my comfort zone and try different things. Maybe new angles, different shutter speeds, a more creative or abstract approach. At least things that I don’t do all the time. This often results in pictures that I can throw away as they don’t work at all, but sometimes I come up with something new. Or with a new technique that works well and could become part of my comfort zone. This way I keep developing myself and push myself to do new things.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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One comment

  • How true. Untill you try you never know what you are capable of, and with digital you can just dump poor photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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