Today’s interview comes all the way from Nicosia, Cyprus and features a very talented fine art Photographer named Michalakis Ppalis. Through his travels, Michalakis shares his passion for the world with his viewers. Michalakis’ photographic journey has allowed him to develop a love of people and a deep connection and respect for nature. As you browse through his photos below, I think you’ll agree that he successfully captures the magic and beauty of the world that surrounds us.
It’s my pleasure to share Michalakis’ thoughts and ideas about his work with our readers. Michalakis, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on the beauty of the world through your words and photography and for allowing us to get to know a bit about you. You are a very talented photographer and someone who’s work is definitely worth following. I hope to see more great things from you in the future!
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I am married and have two daughters. I am a computer engineer and work as an Internet Service Provider in Cyprus. I am currently running a photo club with friends in Nicosia, where we meet every Thursday to do some lectures, exchange ideas, discuss our photographic work and do a lot of other things related to photography.
Where is home?
I was born and grew up in Gerolakkos, a village in Cyprus. I now reside in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus.
After browsing through your website, I see that you’ve built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. What is it that led you toward this field and how long have you been working in it?
I started photography almost 25 years ago when I received my first fully manual camera, the legend Zenit 12 XP. After playing with it for a while, I realized that photography is an excuse to get out of the house and spend some time with mother nature and discover the world around me.
How did you go about learning photography? Are you self taught or formally taught? Where have you found the majority of information you use today?
I am totally self-taught and I’m still learning. I used to buy a lot of photo magazines and some books in order to learn new photo techniques and get some inspiration from others, but now I use the biggest source of information, the Internet. Of course you learn a lot if you are interacting with other photographers and discuss your work with them. It is very important to be willing to accept criticism, either positive or negative about your photo work from other photographers, because this helps you to become better and better.
Are you satisfied with your choice of getting involved with this industry? Is there anything else you would rather be doing?
Photography is half of my life, because it gives me a reason to go out, travel a lot and explore the world. Today, photography is my preferred hobby. I do not consider myself a professional photographer, although I have been in the industry for many years. I sell my photos with the main purpose of covering my expenses and my photo trips. I don’t think I could find another hobby that would provide me with the same pleasure as photography.
When shooting subjects, what do you find most challenging?
The biggest challenge is to manage and show a story behind every photo. Of course this is not always achievable, but it is worth trying. Photography is not just about a click of a button. A successful image has to talk to its audience. To achieve this, before you click the button, you have to think. You have to think about the story behind, the composition and the lighting.
Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
Everything that is beautiful around me.
What’s the best part of being a photographer?
Being a photographer is reason to run away, clean and refresh your mind from every day things that keep our lives busy and sometimes boring. Photography is a way to enjoy all the small beautiful things around like the flowers, the water flowing on the river and the waves breaking on the rocks and much more. Traveling is the best part for me, especially the photo trips. I always love the idea to capture and show the beauty of the world we live in, especially the landscapes and the cultures of people.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
Planning. I read about the place, about the landscape and about the people of the places I will visit. I try to learn as much as possible. I am always excited and wait for the moment to be in the right place.
What do you do to keep your photography fresh and how do you stay motivated to keep on learning?
I think motivation is not and has never been an issue for me, since photography gives me a lot of pleasure. Trying new techniques and ideas, studying the works of other photographers as well as photographing new subjects is what keeps my photography fresh. My next trip especially to places I haven’t been before is a great motivating factor. I want to see new places, even in my own country, and meet new interesting people. And then show people how I saw the beauty of this world from my camera.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
It is very difficult to pick one. I have a lot of favorite images, but I think I can share with you, one of my latest, which I call “Children on the Train.” It is an image of young beautiful children on the train before departing from Varanasi train station just after the Holi festival celebrations. Why do I love this image? I just love it. I love the beautiful faces of the children, I love their eyes and unique expression. I really love everything in this image. I find it very inspiring with a lot of positive messages.
What advice can you offer to someone who wants to learn about photography?
If you love and respect the world around you, then learning photography in not an issue at all. It needs some patients at the beginning to learn the technical stuff and then you are ready to go. You just have to get out and take photos. And then it is an ongoing learning process with a lot of information available. And don’t forget, as I mentioned before, interact with other photographers.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
I am shooting with the Nikon D750 and the Nikon D300. My favorite lens is the Nikon 24-70 2.8.
What is in your camera bag?
In my camera bag I always carry spare batteries, memory cards, ND and ND graduated filters for landscapes, cleaning accessories, my cable release and two or three lenses according to the photo shoot.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
My favorite photographic accessory is the Lee Big Stopper, which helps me capture dramatic long exposure images even in the middle of the day.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
I always shoot in RAW in order to preserve detail and have the best possible image quality. I also use Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing, which are darkrooms for photographers. They are very important for the whole editing process. They help to bring out the colors and details of images as in reality and correct some minor mistakes and of course. I then put my own touches on the final image.
Can you tell me about one of your favorite or most memorable photo sessions? What made it so great and why did you like it so much?
A few years ago, I went on a photo trip to Iceland with a couple of friends. The landscapes are magical and spectacular. The weather is unpredictable, which is a plus and challenging for photographers, because you really don’t know what to expect. We faced almost all weather conditions in a few days, which made this trip really fascinated. It is a trip that I will always remember, and I am planning to go again in the near future.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
I don’t really remember. I always enjoy photography and if I can not shoot for some reason, I try to enjoy the moment.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn?
Still life photography is a subject that I would like to explore and go deep into. It is a very interesting field with lots of variations and I think it is a subject that helps you enhance your creativity.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I want to continue to be so passionate about photography. I want to travel around the world and who know what the future will bring. All we need is good health and if we have it we can do everything.