Interview with Damian Kwasek
Please introduce yourself, where are you based and where do you photograph wildlife?
My name is Damian Kwasek. Photos circulating on various portals on the net, under the pseudonym FotoDam, are my authorship. I come from Poland, from a small town of Siemień located in the Lubelskie Province, Parczew County, near the Piwonia and Tyśmienica rivers.
There are over 800 hectares of breeding ponds, bordering on the famous bird sanctuary of the "Tyśmienica Valley" belonging to the European Ecological Network "Natura 2000". Thanks to this location, I have the opportunity to photograph common birds and those rare in our country, and to this day I try to do it as best as possible. In nature photography, everything is needed, good equipment, vision, experience, ornithological skills and knowledge.
In your opinion, how important is gear in wildlife photography?
As for the equipment. A nature photographer usually works in difficult conditions (rain, snow, frost, heat) so such equipment must be professionally made, it must be adapted to changing weather conditions (waterproof, dustproof). Animals are most active in the early morning or evening hours when the lighting conditions are really bad, it is known that then you have to work at high ISO sensitivities, so it must be a professional camera, one that generates little noise. In the same way, AF must be accurate, fast and predictable.
Unfortunately, cheap equipment cannot guarantee this, so we reach for the PRO shelf.
I will emphasize very clearly that the best and most expensive equipment will not take the photo for the photographer and here the inseparable addition is the knowledge, experience and skills of the photographer. Then there are the next stages, such as the correct development of the photo (now processing in photo editing programs). I personally take photos in RAW format, which I try to do as best as possible in the field, the later stage is processing "under my eye" in Photoshop and such a photo goes online.
Have you participated on wildlife photography exhibitions?
Yes, I took part in many exhibitions and photographic competitions. Exhibition: there you can meet people with similar interests as the photographer himself, great atmosphere, kindness and mood that stays in the photographer's memory for a long time. Contests: The best place to test your skills. Personally, I have countless medals, ribbons, diplomas and awards, many of which are from the largest photographic organizations such as FIAP, IAAP, PSA and GPU.
How do you think your style has evolved over the years?
Sometimes I am satisfied with myself, but I am still looking for something new and I expect even more from myself. I think a lot has changed but the style of photography has remained the same to this day. I started from scratch, from the cheapest digital cameras, which over time I changed to SLR cameras, amateur SLR cameras until I reached the PRO shelf. I challenge myself all the time, I try to reach more and more wild corners, I try to take more and more unusual shots. It used to be only static photos, over time I diversified my photos into dynamic shots and now I try to take as many photos of birds in flight as possible. When I reach a certain level, I set the bar even higher for myself, so I have a goal all the time, new ideas are born and I automatically gain even more experience.
How do I enrich my passion for nature photography?
Hmm.... If I'm not taking pictures, I'm definitely not lying in front of the TV and I'm trying to spend my free time in the bosom of nature. I walk, I watch and listen, I try to see the beauty of the world that surrounds us, to see the beauty in the grass I walk on, in a small crawling insect, a leaf and everything that is around me and what mother nature has created. At home, I make slideshows of my photos to which I arrange some appropriate, romantic and relaxing music. I manage in various ways to have some contact with nature almost all the time, not necessarily direct, there is not always time and opportunity to go out into nature.