Dave Zdanowicz shares some of his stunning and unusual images of the Yorkshire landscape, and tells us about his very modern path into photograph.
Dave Zdanowicz didn’t take the usual route into photography. No youthful obsession with film, no fiddling about in dark rooms and no long days spent waiting for the perfect light. Instead, he took a more modern approach.
‘I first became interested in photography when I downloaded Instagram onto my iPhone,’ he explains. But it wasn’t Instagram itself which inspired him – it was the photographers he discovered through it. ‘I started following a few great photographers and it really opened my eyes to the artform.’ By chance a friend of Dave’s was selling a DSLR camera around the same time, and offered him a good deal. ‘I’m a sucker for a bargain, and I’ve never looked back,’ he laughs.
It may have been a late start, but in the two years since he got the DSLR, Dave has taken more than 20,000 photographs and even won prizes for his work. By day he’s a performing arts technician in a secondary school (a role which involves video, music production, lighting and sound). He loves his work, but most weekends see him out and about taking shots with his dad Paul, who is also a keen photographer, and who Dave names as one of the photographers who inspire him. ‘I’m not being biased!’
Dave grew up in Bradford, and says his parents inspired him to make the most of his creative talents. ‘I think the variety and vastness of the Yorkshire landscape is a great bonus for a photographer – there are so many breathtaking locations.’ He says that the best times of day to capture the Yorkshire landscape are the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, ‘Without any doubt. That’s when skies are magic.’
One of Dave’s atmospheric photographs of his local park (Harold Park in Bradford) won Countryfile’s Winter Landscape photo competition, and this has made a huge difference to his take on his hobby. ‘It’s really boosted my confidence and made me believe I have the potential to make a career out of photography,’ he says. ‘It’s really started the ball rolling.’
Dave’s top tips
• Use a tripod. It’s good for slowing down the process and giving you extra time to think about the correct frame for a shot.
• Experiment with different settings and get to know your camera.
• Find other photographers you admire and study their shots.
• Use the classic tricks of the trade. Rule of thirds and leading lines.
• Look after your equipment – buy a good lens cleaner and camera bag.
• Make sure your equipment is insured.
• Join a photography forum or Facebook group. It’s great to be inspired by other people with the same hobby.
• Get out and take photos! It’s the only way to learn.