Photography has always been a form of expression, a way to capture a moment, a feeling, a sensation for David Martín Castán . He really excels in landscape photography but his biggest passion goes to night photography. His body of work is amazing, striving for perfection. He still tries to find the “best technique” to shoot, to develop and to process. Read more about him an let yourself carried away with the flow of his masterful photographs.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I was born in Zaragoza in 1972. I combine my photographic work with other work. It’s very difficult to survive as a landscape photography alone. Today I am the CEO of a travel agency specialized in photography www.worldphotoxperience.com and combine that with giving courses and workshops on landscape photography. The little free time I have I like to spend in the mountains and with my family. I am very proud of my two children Diana and Gabriel.
How have your history and life experiences affected your photography?
From a very early age on I was interested in photos of nature. When I accompanied my parents to a library I was always looking at photography magazines, the National Geographic and an atlas with photos. When I was 16 years we had a new neighbor who turned out to a photography teacher. I was impressed and even started making some money developing films for him.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
The forum OjoDigital www.OjoDigital.com has been very important in my development as a photographer. I have learned a lot from it.
What first attracted you to photography?
When I was 16 I first saw a very large photo taken at night of the moon. It was taken with an analogue camera and a telescope. At that moment I told myself: “you have to learn to do this as well”.
Describe your overall photographic vision
That isn’t difficult: I am in love with landscape and night photography. I really like waiting for the daylight to disappear into dusk and to catch the last rays of light. I am also very much fascinated by shadows; they are just as important in photography as light.
Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?
My love of spending time in the mountains has given me opportunities galore to capture the light of the early morning and dusk. It is hard to explain the freedom and the feeling of being small compared to nature when I am disconnecting from city life and enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer.
What is more important to you, the mood, story behind your images or the technical perfection?
Both of them! Before taking the photo I already have an idea of what it should look like and then I use technique to accomplish it. Later at home I post-process it to get the exact result I imagined.
What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
Like every good photographer I want to be an observer and not change anything of the environment.
Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?
Yes, I carefully study the locations I would like to visit. It is very important to know what it looks like exactly (by looking at other photos). I also study the light, the weather, the tides, the terrain. I am very interested in knowing more about various natural phenomena, like aurora borealis.
What gear do you use (camera, lenses, bag)?
It might sound strange but I am not sponsored by any camera company so I am totally free to choose my material. I use a Nikon 810. It allows me to shoot shadows exactly as I want to. It always comes with a 14-24mm Nikkor lens. I use a carbon Gizto tripod GT3542LS with a RRS BH-55 head. I have a couple of F-stop filters of 150mm: La Anja (401) and the Shuka (701).
What software do you use to process your images?
Lightroom and Photoshop have formed part of my workflow for the last 20 years. Some photos need more processing than others, but they all go through these softwares. I also use Nik and Nosieware.
Can you tell us something more about your workflow?
The main characteristics of my photographic work are the shadows. I also place great importance on DOF. Shadows in the forefront and the back have another density and this is where LR and PS will help me get the exact result I envisage.
What is your most important advice to a beginner in landscape photography and how do you get started?The most important thing is to train your eye. Looking at lots of photos is a good way to do that and 1x is a good place to see many excellent photos. Also don’t think that you need the most expensive material to start with. It’s better to spend money on courses before spending too much on equipment. And exercise patience, learn from mistakes; results are not always immediate.
Who are your favorite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
That is a difficult question. One of the greatest for me is Marc Adamus, and Chip Philis and Erin Babnik who I had the pleasure of getting to know during my last workshop in the Dolomites. Others are Ted Gore, Max Rive, Enrico Fossati, Daniel Kordan and, more closely to me Guillermo Garcìa, Oscar simon, Martin Zalba, Javier de la Torre, Jesus M. Garcia, Juan Pablo de Miguel, Inigo Cia, Dario Sastre, Arturo Solis, Carlos F. Turienzo, Sergio Gonzalez, Juan Garcia Lucas. All of these are famous Spanish photographers. I have been on photography trip with them and they work as photographers in the company that Oscar Simon and I own: WorldPhotoXperience.
Is there any image taken by another photographer that inspired you a great deal?
This is a photo taken by Marc Adamus Iceland.
and here is mine
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I would love to travel to Antartica to take photos of the Auroras Australes. With WorldPhotoXperience we organize annual trips to spectacular places. One of the places that I have loved is the Dolomites or the Italian Alps. I am also planning a family vacation to the USA next summer to visit the natural parks.
Describe your favorite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
This photo has a lot of emotional value for me. It is taken on a trip with friends to Iceland and I have captured the first solar explosion. It might not be the greatest photo but it is very important to me.
And last but not least, I would like to thank the 1x team and especially Yvette Depaepe for the opportunity to have this interview.