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A couple of days ago we came back from our annual photographic trip “Lofoten: autumn moods”. Beyond the arctic circle, we shared with an incredible group of 6 photographers the magic of the Lofoten islands, truly a paradise for landscape photographers. This was one of those trips where everything turns perfect… We enjoyed a wonderful and varied weather, full moon, peaking autumn colors and even some bright auroras danced for us on a couple of nights.

Following our philosophy of our photo-immersion trips, we were based during the whole duration of the event in a same place, three comfortable and cozy huts by the ocean, from where we could visit many different places depending on the weather and light conditions. Our Photo Immersion trips offer a slightly different approach: to slow down our pace, to forget about running after photographic trophies and to focus on creating highly personal work about a specific area for a certain number of days. We minimize the travel in space to focus on travel in the light, travel through the changes in the weather, travel in time. Every day, we photograph a certain “playground” where you will notice that conditions are never the same. Every day, we get a little closer to the spirit of the place. Every day, we make a better friend. In a way, we focus on a type of internal travel, rather than an external one.

I have been quite a few times to the Lofoten islands already, and the truth is I never grow tired of it. There are few places on Earth where the juxtaposition between mountain and ocean is as strong and dramatic as here. Vertical cliffs of granite rise from the depths of the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea, like ancient monsters stranded on the beach and the rocky coast. Granite; eroded, sculpted and shaped by the elements during eons of time, sets the stage for this Wagnerian landscape, where the sea and the land battle with each other forming fjords and creating a paradise of negative and positive space at both sides of the shore.

We will be organizing this photo-immersion trip for next year 2014. In case you are interested, you will be able to find all the information about the trip and book a place here. We are really looking forward to sharing with you the light of the Valhalla!

 
NOTE: This is our secondary blog. Our main blog can be found on www.rafaelrojasphoto.com/blog

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Almost a year has passed since I visited Venice with my old trusty Hasselblad camera. Months later and after hours of developing, scanning and post-processing, my new on-going portfolio “Timeless” has been added to our online gallery. You can see the photographs here.

I still remember the first time I visited the floating city almost two decades ago. At that time, nothing could have prepared me for the surrealistic view of a city rising from the water. No matter how many photographs I had seen from Venice before, there I was frozen with a mixture of surprise and awe.

My photographic interest in this city might come as a surprise to some. For some reason, I have always preferred getting lost in a forest rather than wandering around a city… But Venice is not just a city; it is also a visual metaphor about the dual qualities of time and space. On one hand, there is a timeless character which seems to reign over the entire place. Due to the lack of references and its uniqueness, Venice seems to be an architectural mirage that defies the conventions of reality and seems to have been there since the origins of this world. Wandering around its canals and squares, it is difficult to imagine that it was all built by man, where once natural islands nestled in the middle of the sea lagoon. On the other hand though, Venice is the perfect metaphor for the passing of time, of change, of decay, of the ephemeral  existence of a banal world anchored to reality. Rubbing shoulders with amazing palazzos and glinting cathedrals, a myriad of deliciously derelict buildings show the scars of time in their peeling facades full of character. Like a living organism, the whole city is aging… and dying. Silently, the floating city might sink in the future as the level of the sea rises.

I wanted to photograph this double nature of Venice. I was after photographs which would capture ethereal views of an empty city which seems to float in time and space. Photographs where I could show the solitude and the silence of a place where human presence is never shown, but hinted, where extraordinary elements juxtapose with the banal and anonymous subjects found in the labyrinth of alleys and squares stand proud against the indifference of the world. As Minor White would have said, I was not seeking to photograph Venice for what it is, but for what else it is: a theatre stage of squares, canals and alleys where the very duality of human existence is performed. Dream versus reality, permanence versus decay, memory versus oblivion.

I knew from the beginning that I would use black and white film for this project. The quality and look of negative b&w film would help me convey that timeless character of Venice. Therefore, its wide latitude and non linear curve would allow me to photograph at ease during the night, in the high contrast of the dark canals lit by the lamps. I would also make the most of the reciprocity failure of film to photograph with very long exposures, erasing all moving elements, simplifying the compositions and giving the images a certain dreamlike and surrealistic look, as if the city were empty of inhabitants.

I have always loved the graphical strength of the square format, and this project became the perfect opportunity to use my Hasselblad system. No batteries, no LCD screens, no distractions. I got lost in the maze of canals, squares and hidden alleys and I quickly forgot I was using a camera. The goal was to focus on the emotional connection with the place and the moment. I opened my eyes and soul to the floating city, and the photographs came.

I will visit again Venice next November, but this time to lead a group of fellow photographers for our Photo-Immersion trip “Timeless Venice 2013. If you want to come with us you still have the chance. At this moment, there is one place left.

NOTE: This is our secondary blog. Our main blog can be found on www.rafaelrojasphoto.com/blog

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Imagine a place of infinite sand beaches, tidal flats, and endless dunes covered with grass swaying in the wind, waves crashing on deserted shores and in the background, sensual mountains rising from the water… Now, add some of the wildest and most dramatic light conditions you can imagine and a delightful sense of remoteness. That is the Isle of Harris.

Join us on our new photo-immersion trip to the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, “Isle of Harris, Hebridean Watercolours 2014”, which will take place from the 2nd to the 8th of November 2014.

During a whole week, we will photograph a constantly changing landscape where the magical brushes of light and weather paint over a canvas of sand, water and grass in this gem of the Outer Hebrides.

This will be an All Inclusive Photo Immersion trip conducted personally by Rafael Rojas and Anca Minican. During the entire week we will be based at our comfortable hotel from where we will be able to easily reach all our chosen photographic areas and adapt ourselves to the different weather and light conditions.

If there is a place which seems been made for landscape photographers, it is the Isle of Harris. By far our favourite location in Scotland and one of our preferred places on this planet.

You will be able to find all the information, photos, itinerary, details, full PDF brochure and clients’ testimonials from our website, here.

We are looking forward to sharing with you the light of the Hebrides!

NOTE: This is our secondary blog. Our main blog can be found on www.rafaelrojasphoto.com/blog

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Hi all,

This blog has not been very active lately, as many of you might have seen. The reason is we have been really busy finishing a long 3 year work on our new website, http://www.rafaelrojasphoto.com, which has been finally released.

One of the many new additions to our website has been an integrated blog, which from now on you will find on http://www.rafaelrojasphoto.com/blog/

As a consequence, we will not make more additions to the blog you are reading right now, and all new posts will be published only on http://www.rafaelrojasphoto.com/blog

You will be able to sign up for RSS feeds or for notifications by email from our new blog.

We will be really glad to see you around, and we are really looking forward to your contributions. With the website over, our blog will be updated way more often with new content, photographs and news about my photographic endeavors.

See you and great light to you all! ;-)

 

NEW BLOG!

NEW BLOG!

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I am totally thrilled to announce that 12 of my photographs have been awarded in the last IPA International Photography Awards, considered by many as “the Oscars of Photography”.

In total, I obtained 2 First Prize awards, 2 Second Prize awards, 1 Third Prize award and 7 Highly Commended photographs, placing me amongst the most awarded photographers in this year’s competition.

The IPA competition is the The 2012 International Photography Awards received nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer’s accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. Visit the site of the IPA to take a look at the impressive winning images in all categories!  www.photoawards.com

That being said, and even if awards are a very nice thing, the real prize is getting out there to enjoy the strong experiences and feelings Nature can offer to us. Photographs are the bonus of it, and awards the cherry on the cake!

great light to you all,

(You can click on the images the see them bigger!)

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Hi all!

We are extremely glad to announce you all our next exclusive Photo Trip “Namibia: Desert & Wildlife – 2013”!

Join landscape and nature photographer Rafael Rojas and his partner Anca Minican on this exclusive photographic trip to Namibia which will take place from the 19th of May to the 1st of June 2013.
Over a period of two weeks we will visit and photograph some of the most incredible places in the whole African continent that provide a real dream environment for the photographer: The highest sand dunes on Earth, the striking landscape of NamibRand reservation, imposing granite mountains rising from the plains, surrealist and graphical trees which seem from another planet, the amazing wildlife of Etosha…

This will be an All Inclusive Photographic Trip conducted personally by Rafael Rojas and Anca Minican, relaxed yet well organized so that you spend your time photographing, not on the road, and where we will benefit from the best lodges, food and transportation services offeredin the country, many of which provide a memorable experience in themselves.

English, French and Spanish speakers are welcome to this Photo Trip!

You can download here our detailed 30 pages PDF Brochure for this Photo Trip, available either in English or in French, or also by clicking on the Trip Banner below!

As a reduced number of places is available, we expect this Photo Trip to fill quickly, so do not delay your inscription if you are interested!

Do not hesitate to contact us in case you have any question and see you soon… maybe in the dunes of the Namib desert?

Rafael and Anca

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Hi there!

I apologize  for the long absence from this blog, but the last weeks have been hectic and it seems things are not likely to “improve” in the next 3 or 4…But I could not be happier. After months (even years) of work, three things are about to be launched and by the 15th of July I think I will have made a big step in my professional activity as photographer…

In the meantime, I really wanted to share with you some really great news. On the July issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine (USA), a full article appears devoted to my humble work. It has been quite thrilling to see my name on the cover of that great magazine, open the pages and find a place where I could share with fellow photographers my vision, motivation and thoughts about landscape photography and the life philosophy which comes with it…

I must say that what you will read on the article is a great summing up of the long discussions I had with the great team of OP. Working on that interview made me realize many things I had never had the “time” to consider about my work and myself…Stopping from time to time to put together our work and see what we do, who we are, where we are and where we want to go is crucial for any creative artist, and I think in the future I will start creating “imaginary” interviews with myself. Putting that together into a kind of “artistic log” might be really useful to push forward my vision and my motivations. I know it might sound silly, but I would really urge you to write down a number of questions, as if they were going to be answered by another photographer, and answer them to yourself, in total honesty and sincerity. You will be pleased and surprised with the results…

I hope you will enjoy the article amigos.

See you soon, with quite some news and a fully renewed activity!…But now, I am afraid it is time to enter back again into the cave…

Great light to you all,

rafael

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