The Luminous Landscape prides itself on showcasing emerging talent and unique voices as well as recognizing established photographers making their mark in highly celebrated ways and continuing to share their vision. It is in the spirit of the later that we profile Paul Zizka.
I was recently drawn closer to Paul’s work while viewing some of his astrophotography. This was a jump-off for my inviting him to The Luminous Landscape to share his personal selections of his work with our community.
I reached out to this world-renowned, award-winning mountain landscape and adventure photographer and asked him to also offer a few brief words with us. Most importantly, I was excited to see his curated picks of his astonishing photography. His is the kind of work which incorporates just about all of the significant landscape photography elements which make for outstanding images which go the distance. Doubtless, we could delve much more deeply into Paul’s method and specifically his buisness acumen. For now, we will let his pictures do most of the talking.
JR: What is your current set up of gear?
PZ: I use a Canon 5D Mark IV, various Canon lenses and Manfrotto tripods – full list here: zizka.ca/gear
JR: How did you initially become interested in astrophotography?
PZ: I was always fascinated with the night sky and loved how the nighttime can turn familiar places into completely different experiences. I also love all the elements of magic associated with astrophotography – aurora, stars, moonlight – and I am always blown away by all the beauty that the camera reveals, but the naked eye cannot see. I particularly enjoy the challenge of capturing nature’s beauty at night and the unique features that come with a dark sky.
JR: How does weather and location affect your choice of where to shoot?
PZ: Weather plays a huge role in photography and can often be an important skill to learn to read the weather to successfully plan shoots. I use a number of different online forecasts and resources but, of course, you can never be 100% certain as the weather can be somewhat unpredictable in the mountains. I’m usually prepared for anything! It’s best to do your weather research, but be prepared to make the most of whatever you get when you’re in the field.
JR: Any advice for entering this (or any) particular field of photography?
PZ: Every photographer grows at his or her 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.
Excerpt from Paul’s Bio:
Paul’s images have been featured in a variety of publications, including Maclean’s, National Geographic Adventure, Alpinist, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Canadian Geographic, Islands, PhotoLife, Fodors.com and explore magazine. His client list includes leading national and global brands such as Apple, Dell, Arc’Teryx, lululemon athletica, Panasonic, MEC and Canon.
A prolific adventurer, Paul’s explorations have taken him to all seven continents, as well as to each of Canada’s provinces and territories. In the Canadian Rockies, Paul has hiked extensively in the backcountry and photographed from the summits of countless peaks. His adventures abroad include a 1400-km unsupported double-crossing of Iceland on foot (2004), which is believed to be the first of its kind, and a 1488-km solo crossing of the South Island of New Zealand (2007). He has also explored such destinations as Antarctica, Norway, Svalbard, Nepal, Greenland, the Caribbean, Niue, French Polynesia, Namibia, the Faroe Islands, Baffin Island and the Torngat Mountains.
Paul has published six books (published by Rocky Mountain Books) including two coffee table style books of photography, Summits & Starlight: the Canadian Rockies (2013) and The Canadian Rockies: Rediscovered (2017), as well as a series of four photo/travel books about the Canadian Rockies.
Paul lives in Banff, Alberta, with his wife, writer Meghan J. Ward, and their two daughters.
The Luminous Landscape thanks Paul Zizka