Raf Olaerts – Photography

I am a commercial photographer in Belgium with a more than healthy interest in landscape photography. I’ve been taking pictures all my life… well, since I could hold the camera anyways… But I started making pictures around 2011. With so much intent even that I went back to school for it! Yeah, me…voluntarily, back to school…

Although we didn’t have any real landscape photography classes, I learned to use my camera and to look for and play with light. And that’s really what landscape photography, all photography for that matter is all about.

So, I combined my interest in photography with my love for the outdoors! I love being surrounded by the calm magnificence of rough nature. Although nature can be wild and fears too… it’s always beautiful. Even on a bad day when I don’t even get the camera out… I never feel like it was time wasted.

Although I’m a “planner” by nature I’m also a bit of a dreamer. I don’t really think about the shot I’m making. When I arrive at a location I’ll let sink in. I’m aware of the beauty of it and what attracts my eye. Almost at the same moment, I see in my minds-eye what would make the scene perfect for me and I try to photograph it like that. I find it very intoxicating when it works when you see the picture popping up on the back of your camera and it looks nearly like you’ve imagined it. And I say ‘nearly’ because there’s always the post processing that needs to be done to finish the image.

And it’s that, that constant hunger, that must materialise your visions, your dreams into a thing of beauty to hang on your wall so you can stare at it all day long… It’s that drive that gets you out of bed at 3am to get out there before sunrise or driving for 12 hours then climb a mountain with 35kg of gear on your back and camp out in the freezing rain and snow… Doesn’t sound romantic at all, does it…? Because, make no mistake, landscape photography is done around sunrise or sunset. Well, of course there are exceptions. But if you are wondering why your images don’t look as nice as the images of the more experienced photographer… Look at the time of day his/her images were shot. I bet is was around sunrise or sunset!

But when it hits, when everything comes together and you got the shot like you imagined it… That feeling… That’s why I make pictures.

The pictures you’ll see in this series represent that feeling. With every single image in this series, I knew I had the shot as soon as it popped up on the little screen.

I hope these images inspire you to do the same. To get out there and snap yor dreams!

Oh yeah, almost forgot… my gear!
First, let me tell you (and you probably hear this for the thousandth time). It’s not about the gear!

Ok, I’am a Canon shooter. Why? Because my very first camera, that was a gift from my grandmother was a Canon…

  • My favorite camera: Canon EOS 5D III
  • My backup/second: Canon EOS 7D
  • My “go-too” glass: Canon EF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM
  • “The big Kahuna” a.k.a. Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM II (yes, even for

    landscape photography!)

  • Kenko Circular polarising filter
  • Tiffen Neutral Density 3.0 (10 stop) filter
  • Canon Cable remote
  • Manfrotto D55XDB tripod (yes, i’ll haul this heavy thing up a mountain. Why,

    because I love long exposures and it can be very windy up there. So, you ‘ll need

    something sturdy to lock the camera)

  • 3 Legged Thing Equinox AirHed 360 Ball-head
  • Lowepro Flipside 400 AW backpack
  • Ledlenser P7.2 flashlight (light painting and pathfinding)