Nature is infinitely beautiful | 自然的無盡美

Raf Olaerts’ path towards becoming a professional photographer did not come by nature but instead through a long process of realisation through his neighbours. It was at the ripe age of 37 that Raf’s passion towards photography developed.

“There wasn’t any specific trigger,” he said. “I was doing a lot of photography projects on my own and posting them online. People from my neighbourhood started to notice and asked me to shoot at their weddings, kids communions and engagements, to name a few. At a certain point it was just logical to start a real business.”

With nature as his biggest desire to capture in photography, Raf leaves little else as his source of inspiration. He said surrounding himself with the calm magnificence of rough nature is what is most attractive to him. “Although nature can be wild and fearful, it’s always beautiful,” he said. “Even on a bad day when I do not get my camera out, I never feel time is wasted.”

Back in the days, Raf graduated as an electrician with a specialty in industrial automation. Since he realised his passion for photography, he went back to school and studied it for three years.

He says he loves going to mountains most when it comes to capturing his images. He recalled an experience at Grindelwald, Switzerland where he planned to camp out on a mountain at about 8,200 feet for two days. However, as the weather unexpectedly took a turn for the worse, he ended up staying at a cabin instead.

“From the cabin it was a 2-hour hike up to the lake where I wanted to take photos. We hiked two mornings and every time the beautiful sky went grey on us just before the sun came out. We almost gave up on the morning we were leaving. We were tired and didn’t feel like getting up at 3:30am,” said Raf.

Yet finally his efforts paid off and rewarded him with the beauty he sought after. “When we got up to the mountain anyway, the sky had cleared and the most beautiful light on the mountain had appeared,” he reminisced.

Raf has never experienced partnering up with someone in photography yet he is very much open to the idea. “I would love to, just never happened. I just assumed nobody was insane enough to get up in the middle of the night to ‘shoot photo pictures.’”

From his experiences, Raf says he always lets the environment inspire him rather than planning every detail beforehand. “I don’t really think about the shot I’m taking. When I arrive at a location I’ll let it sink in. I am aware of the beauty of it and what attracts my eye. I find it very intoxicating when you see a picture popping up on the back of your camera and it looks nearly like what you’ve imagined.”

As a creator, it is not a surprise that Raf wants to make something that he himself considers ‘great.’ He exclaimed that he does not know if he ever will be able to but he surely loves trying.

“I love the feeling when everything under my lens comes together just like how I imagine it…THAT feeling, that’s why I make pictures,” he said. “I wish to be given a grant by a huge travel agency and be sent around the world to shoot new adventure vacations!”

 

Raf Olaerts 成為攝影師的路並不是從一開始就清晰可見的 – 他透過他的鄰居發覺了並花費了不少時間終於發現了自己對攝影的熱情。當時的他,年37歲。

「其實也沒有什麼特別的觸發點。當時的我就是喜歡拍照也喜歡放到網上共享,然後鄰居們開始知道了我的愛好,並讓我幫他們攝影婚禮,孩子的聚會和訂婚宴等等。然後過了不久我就覺得『是時候可以把這作為一門專業了』。」

大自然是Raf拍攝的最佳對象,其他的事物沒有引起他很大的興趣。他說他發現大自然周遭寧靜的環境和不加修飾的景象最能吸引他。「即使大自然有時候還蠻嚇人的,但它總是美麗的;即使是沒有拍攝日程和天氣不好的一天,我也並不曾覺得在自然裡虛度光陰。」

以前的Raf以電工專業畢業並擅於工業自動化。當他深切地了解到自己對攝影的興趣後,他重新回到學校並唸了三年書。

說到大自然裡最熱愛的「對象」,Raf最喜歡的就是山。提起了在瑞士格林德瓦的爬山經驗,他回想他當時在兩天內打算攀登八千兩百尺的高山。可惜的是天氣狀況並不理想,他最後被逼留在山中小屋當中。

「從小屋到我想拍照的湖泊需要兩個小時的路程。我連續爬了兩個清早,但是天氣總是在太陽出來之前就變壞了。在要離開的那天早上我幾乎就要放棄了,感覺到非常的灰心而且在早上三點半起床也不是鬧著玩的。」

只要努力總是有回報的 – Raf的經驗驗證了這個道理。「無論如何,當我爬山到了目的地的時候,天空突然明朗了起來,然後我看見了我從來沒有看過的美麗光芒。」

Raf說他從來沒有嘗試過與其他攝影師合作,但是他對於這個想法很感興趣。「我也很想跟別人合作,就是從來沒有機會。我猜想大概沒有人跟我一樣神經會大半夜起床就是為了『拍照』。」

根據經驗,Raf總是讓環境來啟發他的靈感多於安排所有細節。「我對於拍照不會想太多。當我到達目的地的時候我會盡量去感受,我知道我看見的時候就會感受到它的魅力並受到吸引。當在相機上看見照片預覽和想象很相近的時候,那感覺實在是太棒了。」

作為一個創作者,Raf想創作一些讓自己滿意的作品的想法並不讓人意外 – 雖然他說他並不知道可不可能做到,但他會繼續嘗試。

「我很喜歡那種所有想象與拍出來照片一樣的感覺……就是因為那種感覺,讓我不斷拍照片。我最希望的就是可以找到贊助並可以到訪全世界拍攝不同的特色景點!」

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