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Breaking the Rules – Photographer Profile — Viktoria Haack (full story)

An open book

A BC photographer shares the stories behind a few of her favourite shots

By Stephanie Hounsell

Since becoming serious about landscape photography seven years ago, Viktoria Haack has studied other photographers’ work for knowledge and inspiration. The Salmon Arm, BC photographer is an avid poster and visitor of photo-sharing websites that include images from around the globe. So when the opportunity arose to share the stories behind some of her favourite photos with fellow OPC shutterbugs — and maybe even inspire a few herself — she didn’t hesitate.

©Viktoria Haack Gardom Lake, BC

©Viktoria Haack
Gardom Lake, BC

This shot was taken in the early spring near Haack’s hometown. She had intended to photograph the sunset on a much longer dock, but when it was occupied, she decided on this one.

Including a person in a landscape shot is a signature style of Haack’s, who believes it helps evoke emotion and adds interest. As is often the case, there was nobody but herself available, so she posed for the shot using a remote cable release. Staying completely still for a long exposure on a wobbly dock posed a definite challenge.

The symmetry of the shot — the way the dock is balanced in the middle of the photo, surrounded by still water — imparts a feeling of serenity, Haack says. “There’s a sense of order,” she adds. Haack used a neutral density filter — as she does with many of her water shots — which allowed her to take a longer exposure, resulting in smoother water and clouds.

©Viktoria Haack Blind Bay, BC

©Viktoria Haack
Blind Bay, BC

Every photographer has experienced the frustration that comes with a brilliant sunset that doesn’t materialize. But in this instance, Haack refused to walk away empty-handed. When the sky’s colours weren’t what she’d hoped for, she instead embraced the calm that remained after the sun had set. Brilliant colours would have been distracting in this photo, she says. The subtle blue hues here were more in keeping with the mood she wanted to convey.

As in the first example, she used a long exposure to create the appearance of a softness in the water. This photo, she says, is all about textures. “I like the comparison between the jaggedy rocks and the smooth water,” she explains. “It’s a nice juxtaposition.”

©Viktoria Haack Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, BC

©Viktoria Haack
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, BC

Once again taken at sunset, this photo captures alpenglow —a reddish band of light that appears before sunrise or after sunset — on a mountain ridge that hovers above Emerald Lake Lodge. Haack was staying at a nearby bed and breakfast with her family and knew she wanted to capture this scene. She says she sometimes debates whether to include buildings, but in this case, the rustic lodge only added to the image.

Haack says she particularly likes the “loggy thing” in the foreground, which echoes the shape of the mountain — something she hadn’t realized until someone pointed it out. Haack waded into the water to get this long exposure shot. “Fortunately it was warm,” she says, adding she has ventured into freezing cold water on more than one occasion.

For more interview with Viktoria Haack and spectacular images, pick up the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of OPC available on newsstands today! You can also order it from our online store.


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