Profile

Radomir Jakubowski

An Arctic fox drinks in the Norwegian wilderness by Radomir Jakubowski.
In this super-telephoto lens shot by Canon Ambassador Radomir Jakubowski, an Arctic fox pauses above the water before drinking. "I spend a lot of time on my projects shooting Norwegian wildlife," says Radomir. "This is my all-time favourite image of an Arctic fox, which I took in Fjell, Norway." Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 1/800 sec, f/2.8 and ISO400. © Radomir Jakubowski

From abstracts of delicate flora to animals in majestic landscapes set against dramatic skies, Canon Ambassador Radomir Jakubowski has travelled the length and breadth of Europe capturing nature at its finest.

With his work appearing across a broad range of international specialist magazines, calendars, books and exhibitions, winning over 100 awards, and inspiring legions of would-be photographers, the outlook is bright for German nature photographer Radomir. However, bright isn't how he likes it. "There is nothing more boring than blue sky," he says. "I love storms, I love the rain, I love light that changes before your very eyes. These situations offer unique moments that most people don't get to experience, because nobody likes to be outside when the weather is bad. It's always been important to me to be as close to nature as possible and to enjoy every moment. Every moment that I spend in nature is a moment worth living."

Canon Ambassador Radomir Jakubowski.


Location: Saarbrücken, Germany
Specialist areas: Wildlife and nature
Favourite Kit:
Canon EOS 5DS R
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Born in Germany in 1987 to Polish parents who had fled communism, the bilingual photographer finished higher education with a diploma in economics. Instead of a life of numbers he chose to travel Europe shooting nature photography. Radomir inherited his passion from his hobbyist father, and began shooting as a child after receiving a camera as a communion gift from his grandmother. But it wasn't until he bought his second digital camera, a Canon Powershot G3, that his creativity really came to life. "From then on my life was all about photography," he recalls. "I read every photography magazine and book I could find and practised whenever I could."
The little-seen laurel forests of Madeira and the Canary Islands as photographed by Radomir Jakubowski.
The laurel forests of Madeira and the Canary Islands are strictly protected, and are home to the largest laurels in Europe. These are the ocotea foetens species of laurel tree on Madeira. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 32mm, 0.4 sec, f/16 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

Street photography was Radomir's first genre of choice, which led to portraits, but his focus eventually shifted and settled on nature. He was so enamoured by his new subject he decided to upgrade to his first DSLR – a Canon EOS 10D [Succeeded by the Canon EOS 80D]. "One day my godmother showed me where I could find rare plant species near where we lived and that was when my photography took a huge leap forward. I felt unstoppable."

At 18, the self-taught shooter became one of the youngest members of Germany's association of nature photographers (GDT), and eagerly soaked up the teachings of his peers, although he still viewed photography very much as a hobby. In fact, Radomir refused to contemplate a future as a professional photographer until he was approached to create a book of his work while studying at university.

Editorial commissions followed, along with a flurry of nature photography awards, including winning the Fritz Pölking Junior Prize. He has been recognised as the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year four times, and has been commended by the Windland Smith Rice International Award, Nature's Best four times. When his graduation rolled around, Radomir was in no doubt where his life was heading, and has never looked back.

A red fox in the Grand Teton National Park, as photographed by Radomir Jakubowski.
Taken during a blizzard in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, a red fox stands out against the snow. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x at 1/800 sec, f/4 and ISO1600. © Radomir Jakubowski

As he was once guided by his peers at the GDT, in turn Radomir has taken up teaching, running nature photography workshops across Europe: "It gives me great pleasure to meet people with whom I can share my passion, because everyone brings their own unique perspective."

From a flower unfurling its delicate petals towards the rising sun, to an imposingly stoic mountain range clad in blankets of snow and ice, Radomir's subjects vary wildly, yet he says his shooting methodology remains the same regardless of what's in front of his lens. "It's all about how I use natural light," he says. "In nature photography I feel the mood, I feel the light and I try to feel what's special in that moment, and when I'm lucky I can translate all of that feeling into an image.

"Wildlife satisfies the hunting instinct in me, photographing plants allows me to be extremely creative, landscapes push me to challenge myself in post, and I love creating artistic abstracts as they are the images I really like to print. Every area of nature photography still brings me so much pleasure, every part, and I think it always will."

An ibex climbs in the Alps at sunrise, photographed by Radomir Jakubowski.
"For me, the Capra ibex is the king of the Alps. The beautiful ibex in front of foggy layered mountains in the first light of the morning is simply a perfect moment," says Radomir. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 70mm, 1/320 sec, f/10 and ISO100. © Radomir Jakubowski

You've won over 100 nature awards, and had countless images published. How do you make your images stand out against the rest?
"I'm always looking for the perfect light and the right composition in my head, and I'm good at pre-visualising what I want. Often I have images in my head for years, and they stay there until I can make them a reality. But when I see a scene or something special, I know immediately how I want to photograph it."

What factors influence your choice of lens?
"The decision to use a wide angle or telephoto is fairly easy. It's the decision to compress or to stretch the dimensions. When I'm shooting animals I like the long Canon super-tele lenses and also use them for my plant photography, whereas the wide angles and zooms are more for landscapes and abstracts."

You started shooting at such a young age. What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
"Try to put yourself in the position of others and understand why they are acting like this."

What can professional photographers new to the business often overlook?
"A deep and honest love for nature. Environmental conservation is more important than earning money from nature photography. Question your actions and don't advertise the location of rare species. Consider whether a habitat could cope with the stampede of people – those who are primarily interested in sharing things on social media."

One thing I know
Radomir Jakubowski

"Knowledge about your subjects is a critical success factor. In order to be successful you need to learn as much about your subjects as you can. Don't try to copy the thousands of images you see on social media. Try to explore the world by yourself and create your own images. Ultimately, the best piece of advice I can give is to feel the light and feel free."

Instagram: @naturfotocamp
Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturfotocamp
Website: www.naturfotocamp.de

Radomir Jakubowski's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Radomir Jakubowski's kitbag.

Cameras

Canon EOS 5DS R

Engineered for the ultimate in DSLR image quality, this camera's full-frame 30.3 Megapixel sensor is unparalleled. "I like this camera so much I have two of them. It gives me great resolution and the images are always sharp. It's a good choice for people who want to create large prints," says Radomir.

Lenses

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM

An ultra-high-performance super-telephoto lens is durable, powerful and ideal for wildlife photography. "This lens gives me the best bokeh, it has an amazing AF, and is incredibly sharp," Radomir explains. "Even with extenders it always gives a great performance."

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

This premium ultra-wide angle lens can produce high quality images even in dark lighting conditions. "In my opinion this is the best super wide angle zoom you can find. It's small, light and brings a great image quality, plus it has Image Stabilisation which is a huge help," says Radomir.

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

An ultra-high-angle lens engineered with landscapes in mind. "This is a very special wide angle zoom," says Radomir. "I like to use it when I really need a lot of sky or foreground."

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

This macro lens has a magnification ratio of 1:1, letting your subject appear true to life in your photographs. "There are many situations when I need to get closer to wildlife, and this is a really good macro lens for the job, plus it's light, sharp and compact," Radomir says.

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