Felix Inden is a nature and landscape photographer based in Cologne, Germany. We featured his incredible images of the Aurora borealis on the @worldphotoorg feed. Below, he tells us more about his approach to shooting this phenomenon.
Hi Felix. Please introduce yourself and your photography to our audience
My name is Felix Inden and I'm a photographer based near Köln (Cologne) in Germany. While I also shoot commercial architecture, I'm much more known internationally for my landscape photography, especially my ever-growing series about the rough landscapes of northern Scandinavia.
Tell us about the series of images we featured. Do you have a favourite, and why?
This series is part of my imagery of the elusive Aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. Since the first time I saw this majestic phenomenon in the night sky, I have been hooked and can't help but return to capture it again in every winter season. At the beginning (like most people) I was so overwhelmed by the gorgeous lights that I mostly focussed on portraying them. Nowadays my goal is to capture images that would also work without the Aurora, and using it as the icing on the cake. This brings many challenges as one has to consider the composition carefully in the dark, think about the moon's phases and how it will influence the landscape and then also, of course, be lucky with the solar activity and especially the weather. With thick clouds, even the strongest outburst won't be seen from the earth.
This is why the image 'Brief encounters' is my favorite image of this series so far. I needed beautiful winterish conditions. These can be quite hard to find at the Lofoten islands in Norway where I shot this image. The nearby flowing gulf stream creates a microclimate that often makes it rather warm and humid during winter. This combined results in rain which then destroys the winter paradise that might have been present the days before. But I had snow on the peaks, so all good.
In order to capture the landscape well without a postprocessing marathon, I relied on getting a good night with Aurora during the phase of full moon +- 2 days. The next challenge was having the beach not too crowded. Skagsanden beach is very popular and often full of photographers. The tide level was just right for interesting foreground structures and I found my composition just to see the northern lights show up while the moon lit up everything. Then, the last challenge was avoiding getting my own shadow in the frame. You see, many things have to line up for this image that I have dreamed of for years to come together, and it certainly feels great to finally get it.
Why photography? What does the medium mean to you?
The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I didn't actively choose photography. Maybe photography chose me instead. I've always loved to be outside and enjoy the beauty of this planet. At one point I started bringing a camera along. Photography is everything to me; my passion, my obsession and my creative outlet that lets me speak without words.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
My photographic philosophy is something I often rethink and reflect. At the moment i'd say that my philosophy is showing the places I visit through my own eyes to make the viewer experience the place in a way he most likely wouldn't if he visited himself. The dramatic moods of nature fascinate me and to experience them I go out to some fantastic places. My imagery lets me transport emotions to the viewer and while it's getting harder and harder nowadays with so many talented photographers around my motto is: "create, don't recreate". An image with a personal touch tells me much more than the next postcard of an iconic place shown in conditions that are likely to appear.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in everything. As for most landscape and nature photographers, the biggest inspiration is mother nature itself. Even if I go out totally spontaneous, at some point I might get inspired by something I see. Besides that, I enjoy atmospheric series, movies and music.
But the biggest inspiration has turned out to be speaking to passionate people. No matter if they are artists or not, people that "burn for something" and have an obsession to create fascinate me and whenever I deal with someone like that, I feel a new boost of inspiration to continue my creative path.