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Justin Nederkoorn


Man standing on top of hill near mountains

Most of these shots are from my trip to Bavaria, Germany. Therefore I'll share a guest article I did for Nomadict to support these shots with a narrative. ----------------------------------------------------- From shooting famous DJ’s to peaceful nature, Justin takes us on a trip to Germany and to the moment everything fell into place for him. He talks about the adventurous trip in detail, uncovers why this photo is a symbol of rediscovery of himself, and explains his approach to the edit. Photography has been a key part of my life ever since I was young. I can perfectly remember the first time I had a camera in my hands. It was during a vacation in France where I was bored in the morning. My mom reached out to me, handing me her camera and asking me if I wanted to head outside. I figured it wouldn’t hurt trying. And there I was, chasing butterflies, bees, flowers and plants all around the camping. It was only until we had dinner that I put away the camera. And only because I had to! I’ve never stopped photographing ever since. It was one of my childhood dreams to be a famous DJ. However, I figured that I had a much bigger shot at being onstage with my camera than with my music. And so I chased the dream. Since then I’ve been shooting world famous djs such as Martin Garrix, DVBBS and Oliver Heldens and worked at some of my favorite festivals including Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Creamfields. But as we all know, COVID hit the brakes on the world. I went from an almost fully booked summer in 2019 to a summer without even a single event in 2020. During that same fully booked summer in 2019, I’ve also really started to appreciate travelling. In August, I visited Croatia together with my friend Oliwier (@skarba_). We decided to travel there mainly focussed on taking photos and doing “bucket list” worthy activities. We spent the week visiting national parks, spots that were featured in the Game of Thrones movie sets, we rented a boat to visit Blue Lagoon and rented a buggy to cross Brač at full speed (yes, I’m also a bit of an adrenaline junkie). So as the world stood still due to COVID, I knew that this was the ultimate chance to invest in travel photography. To start building a brand so I’d be able to do both event and travel work as soon as the virus had passed. September 2020 was my first real photography trip together with my brother Colin, organized around visiting as many spots within a week as we could, to capture and experience as much as possible. I created an itinerary weeks in advance and the destination was the Bavarian region in Germany. That’s where I captured the shot of the Eibsee which I won Nomadict’s Best of the Week 12 with. The trip was everything but linear. On the first day, we decided to skip the first two spots and drove all night to Switzerland. A completely improvised idea to hike the Schäfler, camp there for the night and visit the stunning, dramatic peaks the day after. Oh boy did we underestimate that one! First of all, we hadn’t really trained hiking and our backpacks weighed at least 20kg. Second, we started our hike late in the afternoon and hadn’t slept for the entire night. Many other hikers asked us if we were “still going up there this late”. Well, by our calculations we should’ve arrived at the spot where we wanted to pitch our tent just before dark. So no problem. However, improvised ideas never go as planned. We ended up taking the wrong route which left us with a huge detour full of level 8-9 trails instead of level 5. So we were completely exhausted halfway through. Needless to say, we didn’t arrive before dark. Instead, we found ourselves hiking very small paths past huge drops. Colin even sprained his ankle. But I’ll never forget the feeling later that night, finally being able to pitch our tent, take off our shoes and eat a meal. The next morning a very friendly young girl came over and told us her mom invited us in. Turns out that while we were blinded by the dark, we pitched our tent in their backyard, which was in the middle of nowhere at 1,500m altitude! So of course we said yes and after entering their house we apologized to her mom. She told us it was absolutely no problem and that we shouldn’t feel burdened. Kindly she kept asking us about our trip and what our country was like. They gave us some of their self produced cheese and even asked us to stay for breakfast. We got a real taste of their culture and way of life, even if only briefly. And it captivated me, to experience their culture like that. The next day we hiked the last part and arrived at the peaks of the Schäfler. I’ll never forget the feeling of walking up there, feeling so small in awe of nature’s beauty. That’s when traveling really captured my heart. Later that week we visited the Eibsee, a beautiful fairytale-like lake near the Zugspitze. We parked our car just ten minutes away from the spot so we’d be there as early as possible. Our alarms were set to 5 AM and I was beyond excited to discover this location! The next morning we drove the remaining ten minutes and started hiking around the lake. Everything was still covered in darkness so we actually had to use Google Maps to figure out where we were. But because we researched the spot, we had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to take the shot from. Then, just twenty minutes before sunrise, we found the perfect spot and set up our tripods. Now we only needed to wait for the perfect moment and capture the shot with our remote. Minutes later we saw the sky warming up and the sun slowly creeping over the mountainscape. We had incredible luck with some low hanging fog which caught the warm sun rays and glowed orange above the turquoise water. It’s not often that you take a perfect photo. But that moment everything fell into place. I had never seen anything like it in my life and felt a calmth, almost zen-like feeling within me. I’m so glad I used a remote so I could also just relax and take in the sight before me. I’ll never forget that day and can't wait to return. This place has become precious to me, even though I’ve only been here once. I cherish a lot of good memories from our week-long trip and to me, the Eibsee was the highlight of the week and symbol for the way this trip made me rediscover myself. I love this shot because there’s many different elements coming together. I feel like it really tells the story of that location. The first thing that caught my attention was the reflection that you could easily see with the naked eye. I really love reflections and often use longer exposures to get them in my work. However, they also tend to blur the reflections a bit and don’t look very natural and authentic. But because there was almost no wind, I could keep my exposure fairly high and still maintain a perfect reflection. This didn’t interfere with the structure of the water so that you can still see some of the ripples in the water. What I also noticed was that the water there was so clear that you could easily see the bottom of the lake near the shore. I specifically wanted to incorporate this in my shot so I used a circular polarisation filter to block out the reflection on the water closer to the shore. I also knew beforehand that I wanted to catch the first lights on the Zugspitze as well which created contrast with the sky. But what really made this shot in my opinion is how the sun warms up these little parts covered with fog. A lot of these elements were then enhanced in post production. Taking the shot is just half the work. Whenever I’m back from a trip, the first thing I do is filter all my shots and judge which ones have potential and which ones don’t. Even the perfect shot in-camera isn’t finished. Thoroughly and thoughtfully editing these shots, even if minimal, always helps me to tell the story better and more clearly. In this case, I really wanted to enhance the aforementioned elements to highlight the special circumstances of this morning. So I made the reflection in the water more visible, further warmed- and lightened up the fog and also made the first light touching the mountains better visible. To amplify the effect of the sunrise I chose to go for an orange/teal contrast. This way I could really separate the tones of the island and sun from the backdrop. As you can probably tell, I love photography and can’t wait to further develop myself as a photographer as there’s still so much to learn. If there’s anything I would take away from my trip, it’s that I should never stop exploring. We have been gifted with a beautiful planet just waiting to be explored. And discovering far away or even remote locations has never been easier. So get out there, explore, enjoy, feel alive. But, do it responsibly. Respect our planet and lend a helping hand in any way you can.

Size:3159px x 3949px
Shoot Date:September 10, 2020 2:34 PM
Posted Date:April 28, 2021 7:00 PM