I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a very talented and skilled Landscape Photographer. Her name is Evgeniya Lystsova, she is a Russian native, has lived in Japan, and is also well-traveled. Evgeniya’s photographs provide viewers a whole new perspective of the world as well as her very own unique and personal connection to nature through mind, body, and soul. As you browse through some of the photographs from her collections below, I think you’ll agree that she is quite an accomplished artist. Thank you, Evgeniya and it’s my pleasure to share your thoughts and experiences with our readers.
Where do you call home?
I grew up in the middle of Russia in Ekaterinburg city. I moved to Moscow when I was 15 years old. Russia is my home country. When I was 21 years old, I started my performing career in Japan. I fell in love with Japan: food, places, and people. I spent about 11 years there and I was calling Japan “My Second Home.” I met various people all around the world and I learned a couple of languages there.
After browsing through some of your work and reading the “About” page on your website, I see that you’re truly immersed in the field of photography. What is it that led you toward photography and how long have you been working in it?
Before I left Japan I bought a semi-professional camera, it was a Canon 7D and I had no idea how to use it! So, 6 years ago in 2012, I started my photography journey. Traveling and seeing new places was the most inspiring deed in my photography. The beauty of nature is bewitching and I can take pictures of it forever.
Where have you found the majority of valuable information along your journey (online, in person, mentor, college, etc…)?
Not knowing what to do with the Canon camera I just bought, I was searching the internet for information about which bottom I should turn to, how to play around, how to take beautiful pictures, how to use a camera, and how to use the Photoshop program. Then I took different classes online and in different schools. It’s like I was learning, and practicing, and discovering new things at the same time. And I still am. I still wonder how to do that or to get this effect and that’s why I’m taking some new classes periodically. I also like to talk to other photographers when I have the chance, asking them questions, talking about their experiences. I’m trying to learn from them.
From looking through the galleries on your site, I can see that you’ve been to a variety of locations. Of those you visited, which was your favorite and why?
Each place I visited is special and unforgettable. I really love mountains. They are just majestic and unique. Zion National Park delights me. If you go there you will be surrounded by mountains. It’s a glorious part of the World. Another favorite place of mine is Valley of Fire State Park. Endless desert with sandstone rocks. There are many different colors and shapes, it is as if they have appeared magically.
Regarding your photos, which truly are remarkable, what advice can you offer to those who would like to begin taking these types of photographs?
When photographing nature there is so much beauty around. You want to tell a story about the place, to show different angles of what you see, to show details. Everyone sees things differently. I’m doing my best to find a few variations of each place or subject. My advice is when you are walking and capturing what you see in front of you, just stop and look behind you, or look to the side And you will find a variety of scenic views that are different from the others. I would say that sometimes you can discover incredible things just on the way to your planned destination.
What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
Photography for me is creativity. If I intend to take pictures of subjects (accessories, decorations) I think of ideas, then I go to different stores to get the items I need. I also look on the internet for some examples and the work of other photographers. As well, before I go to travel or to visit a new place I search to see what’s in the area. I always try to capture the images in a way I see them. So the whole process it’s just creative work. It never stops (ideas, finding items, traveling, taking pictures, and editing). So my favorite part of being a photographer is being creative.
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
A couple of things are challenging for me. If I’m going hiking up on the mountain, it’s really important to stay strong and fit. Besides that I need to carry my camera, I need to have enough water with me and some snacks. It’s important to breathe properly to not get tired. But after all, I like to feel sore, it’s like a workout.
And photographing people (I do it sometimes as well) is challenging to not miss a moment. To focus, it takes seconds and then the moment might be gone.
What do you do to keep your photography fresh and how do you stay motivated?
I go through pictures of other photographers. I pay attention to colors and lighting. Sometimes a color palette on pictures of others gives me an idea of how I will seek the final look of my photos.
Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
New things or new places, or even small things like a cup of tea with honey and lemon, or a nice song. And I also feel that physical exercises (like yoga, pilates, or just stretching) inspire me. My body is working and then I feel I want to do more and more in this life, I don’t want just to sit and do nothing, and I’m starting to create.
Who is your favorite photographer?
I don’t have specific names of my favorite photographers. There are so many different styles and types of pictures. Viewing them makes me think of what I need to learn, what I want to learn, what I can do.
What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly? Would any stand out as particularly motivational or inspirational for someone who might be interested in learning about photography?
I usually read if I have a question about something. So I do type my question in the search bar and many articles pop up. I read about what I need. I would recommend for beginner photographers YouTube as well. It is a visual and helpful source with many channels about photography. And for the inspirational and motivational sites, I like Pinterest, Stocksy, Instagram. Pinterest helps to find related photos. If I’m looking at some wedding pictures there are a bunch of similar pictures suggested. Instagram always shows related users. On Stocksy, I can find interesting and specific pictures. When I review photos on Stocksy I’m thinking “Oh, that’s different,” or “That’s distinctive.”
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens?
I still have my first camera, Canon 7D, and my first lens ever, Canon 50mm F/1.4. But it’s just a backup camera. I photograph with Canon 5D Mark II. I have two lenses, a Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II, and a Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L. I use both, but most of the time I’m using a Canon 24-70mm. It’s my favorite multipurpose lens. I can shoot inside of a small room and outdoors. It gives me a good range for landscape photography. It’s possible to capture everything with this lens as well as overall landscape, closer scenery or details, and portraits.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
My favorite accessory is my new backpack “Lowepro, Format BP 150 II.” It’s not big and can fit a camera, 2 lenses and a flash, and there is some extra space for small things like batteries, cards, and a charger. The backpack really sits well on my back or just on one shoulder.
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
I would like to get a Drone. It will give me an option to take pictures and videos from above. It is something in my head I haven’t tried yet.
Do you use Lightroom, Photoshop, both, or other?
I use Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop. For some pictures, it can be just Lightroom. For most pictures, I do use both (Lightroom and Photoshop, or Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop).
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
I was always thinking that I’m still learning and learning. But then I started hearing from different people that my pictures are really good, that I have a style. I was also offered a part-time job. All of those things were exciting. Then I looked at my pictures and I saw that they are different from the beginning, or even 2 years ago. Something new always comes to my life and photography.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn?
I’d like to learn about food photography in the future. Now I have the intention to learn videotaping with my camera. I want to put photos and videos together to make video clips so I can have great memories of my adventures.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
The future is unpredictable. I’m looking forward to exciting things. I see myself traveling and learning about new places, taking lots of pictures, gaining knowledge in photography and other fields.