One is a fireman, the other a manager, the third wanted to be a sports journalist. What connects them? Today, they are all photographers and thanks to their skills and equipment they can make money on their work.
Everyone can take pictures, but not everyone can be a photographer. To succeed in this profession, it is not enough to have top equipment. You also need to have knowledge, a good eye and – above all – you need to know what you want. Piotr Zwarycz is a firefighter on a daily basis, Marcin Pietraszko is a programmer by education, and Łukasz Skwiot was unsuccessfully looking for a job in large sports magazines. All three are photographers today who not only pursue artistically but also earn their passions.
Photographer in the heat of events
Piotr Zwarycz is a junior captain in the Fire and Rescue Unit of the State Fire Service in Radzionków, which is under the command in Tarnowskie Góry. It works here in two specialist groups – high altitude rescue and search and rescue group. He is 16 years old. In addition to fire-fighting equipment, he also takes the camera.For many years he has been interested in photography, initially treating it only as a hobby. It would be a sin not to combine passion with the profession: as a firefighter it is literally in the heat of events . He can watch rescue operations from a perspective unavailable to an ordinary mortal.
At the beginning I was just focusing on recording the whole course of action, but more from a distance. The breakthrough was for me in Katowice, during which famous reporters from one of the television stations died. Then I discovered that thanks to my photos, it is possible to recreate the whole event and based on these photos, we can draw conclusions for the future to eliminate errors during rescue operations. Today I am happy that my pictures may also have an educational value, constituting training material for my colleagues – Zwarycz admits.
Piotr is not photographing only for himself. Photos made by him are then used during training. Analysis of the actions already carried out helps to avoid mistakes in the future. Piotr's photos thus have a direct impact on the work of his colleagues, and ultimately even on human life, because a well-conducted action can save many lives. Thanks to photos, firefighters can learn from mistakes – during the action certain things are simply not seen. During the action for Piotr, the reliability of the equipment and its durability counts first of all. High temperatures, the ability to spill the camera with water, dynamically changing light … These are very unfavorable conditions. Piotr chose the camera Canon EOS-1D X Mark II – this is the highest reflex camera from the Japanese manufacturer. Not without significance was the fact that it is a large and solid body, which is well in the hand, and the magnesium housing is additionally sealed. Strażak also uses two lenses – EF 16-35mm f / 2.8L USM and EF 70-200mm f / 2.8L USM . Both are clear, which is especially important, and they cooperate well with the AF system in the camera – Piotr can not afford to make the pictures out of focus , because then they will become useless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8dUC8S68IQ
Manager's way to relax
Marcin Pietraszko is a manager in an international corporation every day. Searching for the perfect way to relax, he decided to take a photograph and this is where it is closest to nature: landscape photography. Marcin does not regret his decision. She spends most of her free time traveling around the world. Sam says that if you want to become better you have to take as many photos as you can. Understand shapes, colors, start to see certain elements. According to Marcin, you need to be very well prepared for landscape photography. The photographer needs to know the place to which he will succeed , but also himself and finally his equipment.
Before leaving the area, I always check the weather conditions first. I use this for a whole lot of applications, verifying whether day will be fog, clouds, or maybe it will rain. When the weather forecast is known, I determine where the sun will rise. I try to understand the place where I will be and the conditions that will prevail here. – says Pietraszko.
In the pursuit of the cadre you need to travel several dozen kilometers in unfavorable weather conditions. So be prepared physically, but also mentally – and know where the limits of our capabilities lie.Finally, you have to be familiar with the equipment, which is, after all, the main travel companion. Marcin Pietraszko uses Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the new Canon EOS R , that is full-frame cameras with high resolution. He chose these models because the full frame ensures high detail of the photos, which is particularly important when the scenery is taken – on large panoramas it is worth to capture every detail . In the case of landscapes, wide-angle lenses are most commonly used – Marcin uses glasses Canon EF 16-35mm f / 2.8L III USM and EF 24-105mmf / 4L II USM . It expects the best optics from the lens – a good landscape photo must be sharp and clear on the whole frame . He also uses the telephoto lens EF 100-400mm f / 4.5-5.6L II USM more and more often. This allows him to capture various details, such as wild animals or birds. There is a risk and unpleasant surprises associated with field work. During the photos in Patagonia, the SLR camera mounted on a tripod together with the wide-angle lens, fell to the rocks as a result of a very strong wind gust. The filters shattered, but fortunately neither the body nor the optics suffered. Nevertheless, in this work both the camera and the lens should be properly sealed and have a reinforced casing. Moisture, dust and falls are everyday life here and can not always be remedied. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVpaKhFC4Rk
Entering the world of sport
In 2009, during the elimination to the World Cup in South Africa, Łukasz Skwiot was an aspiring sports photographer. He dreamed of working at the stadium, in the very center of sports events. To be there, however, you had to have accreditation, and this in turn required work for a sports newspaper. None, however, wanted to employ Łukasz. He decided to invest in equipment and start working as a photographer – freelancer. He managed to get accreditation for the match of the national team, and thanks to the fact that he has a good eye, his photos were noticed. Today, Łukasz Skwiot is a sought-after photojournalist who sells photos for many internet portals and major sports media in Poland. It was true that he was not at the World Cup in South Africa, but he had the opportunity to document the World Championships in Russia. It was one of the toughest, but also the most interesting experiences in life for him .
If the match was held in the middle of the day, you had to appear in the stadium much earlier. In addition, there was time for checks, which, despite everything, went quite well. The order of occupancy depended on the category to which the editors assigned the organizer, so usually at the stadium I was already 3-5 hours before the match. After the match, another 2 hours for processing and sending full material. In total, work at a single meeting reached even 10 hours. These are completely different working conditions than during league matches in Poland. After all, it's a unique experience and I hope not the last. – says Skwiot.
The work of a sports photographer is extremely demanding . It is often a dozen or so hours spent on legs in anticipation of several "shot" frames. The photos must be good already in the camera, because then there is very little time to process them and send them to the editor.
All photos, of course, I do in RAW format, right after doing the work in Photoshop, I describe in Photo Mechanic and send to three servers. I pull out the cards and rip them to the computer. The photos are imported immediately into the program, and after importing the card I put back into the camera and continue taking pictures. – describes Łukasz.
For matches, Łukasz takes a full-frame reflex camera Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the first version of EOS-1D X. The key here is the option of raising the sensitivity even to the value of ISO 409 600, which guarantees the possibility of using short exposure times to freeze traffic. Autofocus (61-point AF system with 41 cross sensors) and fast serial mode (16 fps) are also extremely important in his work – both attributes ensure that he will not be late in the key moment of the game. Łukasz uses mainly two bright lenses – models Canon EF 70-200mm f / 2.8L USM and Canon EF 400MM 2.8L IS USM II . The first one is universal thanks to the focal variable, the second one is extremely long, which allows Łukasz to "shell out" the player's face from the other end of the field, and efficient stabilization ensures that the picture will not be blurred . Both glasses are also sealed and resistant to dust – this is important because the sports photographer often works in the open. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuNiB6qTgTc
It's a man, not a camera that takes pictures
Piotr, Marcin and Łukasz decided to combine their passion with the profession. Although they could look for a completely different job, they chose photography. Piotr combines it with the firefighter's profession, Marcin and Łukasz gave it away completely. Their stories show that if your passion is photography and you're good at it, nothing prevents you from taking pictures that become a way of life for you . Looking for the way to the hermetic world of professional photographers, however, you must remember that it is a man, not a camera that takes pictures . Even the best SLR and advanced Lightroom filter package will not guarantee you success if you neglect what's key – knowledge, skills and instinct.