Nine Lives

Meet Paul Zizka, Photographer

September 15, 2015
Paul Zizka

Tell us a bit about you

I am a mountain landscape and adventure photographer based in Banff, Alberta. I grew up in Quebec City, made my way West, fell in love with the mountains and pretty much never left.

What are you working on?

From a photographic standpoint, this year has been comprised of photography workshops throughout Canada, submitting images to publications, and keeping up with my client work here in the Canadian Rockies. Project-wise, I’m visiting Greenland this month to scout it out for a potential overseas workshop. My day-to-day involves balancing time spent out in the field, time editing indoors, keeping up with social media, planning future projects and spending time with my wife and two-year-old.

Do you have a shot of your workspace…wherever that may be?

Here is my photo “Boreal Dive”, a self-portrait at Herbert Lake, Banff National Park.keep

BorealDive

Tell us about your aurora photography expertise, how it started and was honed to be lucrative?

I wasn’t the kid who grew up loving the telescope at the age of four. My parents weren’t into astronomy or astro-geology. My interest developed as I spent more and more time in the outdoors and under dark skies. What struck me was how right it felt to finally establish a relationship with the sky. For me, so much of it is about perspective. You’re out there looking at things that are so old, so big, so far away. It puts your own life and your own little issues into perspective.

I suppose my skills were honed through a lot of practice, some trial and error, and plenty of time spent outside in the dark. I think the images started the get noticed when I began putting a human into the frame, often lighting up the scene with a headlamp. This human was often me, since there was no one else around to stand in my shots. The “self-portrait” nature of these images struck a cord for people, and perhaps gave them an element in the photos they could relate to. As publications began noticing the images, and began spreading them around the world, they became more lucrative for me. They have also been some of the more popular images that I post on social media. It’s nice to know that I can play a small role in reminding people of the wonders of our dark skies and how this can put life into perspective.

What advice do you have for the impatient amateur?

Every photographer grows at their own pace. Learn from others as much as you can, but try your hardest to bring freshness, creativity and originality to every photo you take. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there for others to see, and let it speak for itself! If there’s something you don’t know how to do, become your own teacher. Do what you need to do to learn the skills involved in not just photography, but the business behind it.

What is your dream gig?

Getting paid to explore remote corners of the planet, and document them.

Where do you fancy travelling next?

Antartica!

Connect with Paul on Media Kitty.

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