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Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1

We chatted to landscape and wildlife photographer Sean Lewis to find out why he is a fan of the NX1.

| Samsung NX1 in Photographer

Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1: Sean Lewis

Pier Bottom, Dorset, © Sean Lewis

Sean Lewis is a landscape, travel and tourism photographer from West Sussex. Growing up on the Jurassic coast, he has always been surrounded by beautiful landscapes and the nearby nature reserves. He aims to show the essence of nature as an art form through his work, and to communicate his vision of discovery and beauty in the landscape.  

"I’m very much an outdoors sort of person", he says. "Having grown up on the Jurassic coast, I was pretty much spoilt for an outdoor playground. Ballard Down was right behind our house and I would often wander over to Studland Heath via Old Harry Rocks to take photos of birds and butterflies. On more adventurous days, I would venture over to Durlston Country Park , down to St Aldelm’s Head or Winspit. My teenage years on the Jurassic coast definitely instilled a restless longing for rugged coastlines and wild places within me."

Having first gained an interest for photography at the age of ten with a film camera, Sean's interest in the medium waned in his teens until some world travelling reawakened his passion for images.  "My old camera came out of retirement for a mixture of travel and ornithological photography. On my return, I decided to study photography at Brighton City College. This period for me was very much in the world of documentary/street photography, wandering around Brighton looking for characters, developing and printing on my bed-sit floor at night. It wasn’t until 2005, whilst still living in Brighton, when I realised that I was missing open spaces that I started to concentrate my creativity on landscape photography", he remembers. 

Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1: Sean Lewis

Swanage, Dorset © Sean Lewis

A rekindled love for landscape photography led Sean to take a jump into large format photography. "This was the biggest learning curve yet. It was around this time that I started to get my work published in books and magazines. Shooting for the tourism industry came about in 2010 when I approached a holiday company and was accepted for commissions. This has become an annual commission that takes up to three months of the year. The years that followed saw more images published in magazines and calendars, as well as commissions for the NHS and the South Downs National Park Authority", he says. 

Having the right kit is important to Sean and only the best will do. "Only during the past few years has digital capture started to approach the standard of large format film, with its ability to render depth and colour in a realistic and natural way. I have found that the NX1 to be an excellent performer in the field. A robust camera that has all the external dials that I prefer, making it easy to use when wearing gloves. The touch screen is a particular speciality that saves precious time in trying situations and I like the quick access to camera functions at the touch of the screen", Sean explains. 

Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1: Sean Lewis

Bury Hill, West Sussex © Sean Lewis

Portraying nature as an art form in your images is something that requires great skill, and this is something that Sean has developed over a number of years.  "As photography is very much an illustrative medium, I find that producing an evocative image very engaging. Light is the main ingredient to any image and I try to apply its different qualities to enhance a particular subject, the defused light of a cloudy day or side lighting from a low sun for instance.

The natural world is the dominion of integrity, beauty and truth, and it is these qualities that I seek to portray as art. I like to explore the relationship between the human mind and it’s connection with nature, a journey of emotion and the discovery of balance and harmony. These perceptions are only partially realised and thus portray a sense of mystery, but the journey is more important than the destination and it is the findings within this journey that are relevant as forms of art."

So, how do you go about taking the perfect landscape image? Sean has a tried and tested technique. "Usually, I go to a location with a very basic agenda, an open mind and a sense of exploration. I aim to arrive an hour or two (or more) before the desired light arises and wander around observing the landscape, feeling and absorbing it with my senses and connecting with my surroundings. I guess this is a form of meditation and I find that it can open up the sensory perception, allowing my mental connection with the natural world to take place.

Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1: Sean Lewis

Seacombe, Dorset © Sean Lewis

Finding composition within the landscape, be it a wide vista or a more intimate view, flows naturally when connection with the landscape is engaged. I then explore the subject, moving around it and looking at the relationships between the elements within the scene. It’s not until the compositional elements are aligned that I will set up my equipment. I will then sit and wait for appropriate light to fall onto the subject and stay with the same composition until I am satisfied that the best combination of light and subject are instilled on my film or memory card. Saying that, I can be quite easily caught by surprise and have to think quickly in order to make a successful image", he explains. 

Sean says an image needs to have a balance of elements to help an image to tell its story well. "If the image has successfully communicated a degree of ambiguity, transcending the descriptive into the evocative, it creates a visual journey that the viewer can undertake to the conclusion of ideas", he says. 

Why Sean Lewis Loves The NX1: Sean Lewis

So, of all the CSC cameras out there today, why does the NX1 stand out to Sean? "I have found that the NX1 to be an excellent performer in the field. A robust camera that has all the external dials that I prefer, making it easy to use when wearing gloves. The touch screen is a particular speciality that saves precious time in trying situations and I like the quick access to camera functions at the touch of the screen. The i-function button located on the lens barrel is a good shortcut to the cameras functions and without taking your eye away from the viewfinder, you can quickly change shutter speed, aperture or ISO if you need to do so at a pace. The electronic spirit level is a must for me, and the NX1 has this facility that accurately tells you when the camera is sufficiently level", he enthuses. "The image quality that the NX1 produces are also of a high quality, that are of a standard that rivals professional DSLR’s. The image detail is sharp and crisp and the colour rendition needs little or no adjustments in post-production, giving the photographer a true to life representation of a scene that almost transcends two-dimensional imagery."

Sean Lewis' 3 top tips for nature and landscape photography

  • Develop a love affair with the landscape and the natural world, respect it and be faithful and truthful in your own representation of it.
  • Learn to appreciate the landscape in all weathers; the most atrocious wet weather can bring woodland to life.
  • Endeavour to please yourself in your photography, don’t shoot to impress.

Find out more about Sean and his images on his website, Sean Lewis Photography.

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Photographs taken using the Samsung NX1

GreenAgapanthusMy Dog GeorgeAllanRedend Point, Studland Bay, DorsetPink Morning on Bury HillSwamp near Sutton, West Sussex

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