Story behind the Picture Sleeping Beauty

Some Background

My name is Michael Krijnen and my profession is mobile developer. In my spare time I travel a lot and like to capture my experiences through photography.

I started my photography back in 2006, when I bought a Canon 350D with a kit lens. The idea was to see if I would like it. Very soon after this, I decided to buy the 17-40L F4 lens and from that moment on, a new world opened for me. I decided to follow a novice photography course at Fotogram in Amsterdam, followed by a more advanced photography course. During both courses, beside all the technical stuff, I've practiced all kind of photography like city scenes, architecture, flash, and studio photography. Although I liked the course a lot, it was not really the photography I had in mind when I bought my first camera in 2006.

In the next two years I went out with a couple of friends to places like New Zealand, Malaysia, Borneo, Iceland, New York, Peru, Australia and Tasmania and shot a lot of pictures but I was not overly excited about the results. They were just average pictures, although my friends liked them, but not the 'Wow' pictures I wanted to shoot. A friend of mine, who was already long time into photography, pointed me to a website of a Dutch professional nature photographer. His name is Marsel van Oosten and together with his wife, Daniella Sibbing, they organise photography workshops all around the world. Their company is called Squiver and I've joined them on a tour in 2009 to the Taiga Forest in Finland to photograph brown bears in their natural habitat and from that moment on, it was clear to me that I wanted to invest more time into photography and in better equipment. To cut a long story short, I have attended more than 10 workshops with Squiver already and my photography ( in my opinion ) has improved a lot.

When I'm going on a holiday, I use the Internet to find out if there are interesting photography spots. Of course there are millions of pictures around but the problem I have is that I want to have specific information of a picture like: shutter-speed, aperture, iso, camera, lens, filters etc. Beside this technical information I'm also interested in the way the picture is processed and I can tell you that not much professional photographers are willing to share this information. I don't consider myself a professional photographer, more a very enthusiastic amateur photographer but I'd like to setup a series of brochures named 'Story behind the Picture' where I give all available background information about how my picture was developed from start to finish.

The first picture in this serie is named 'Sleeping Beauty'.

Sleeping Beauty

Where ?

This shot was taken in a fjord very close to Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Svalbard.

When ?

The picture was taken on 16th July 2015 at 3:32pm

Equipment ?

I was using my Canon 1DX with the EF300mm F2.8 L IS II and the 1.4x III extender attached. So 420mm in the end.

How ?

The picture was shot handheld from a Zodiac with reasonably rough water conditions. When I saw the polar bear from a distance I already had in my mind that I wanted the snowy mountain in the back a little blurred so I decided to set my camera in aperture priority mode and set the aperture to F8 and the ISO on 400. The shutter-speed calculated by the camera was 1/500 s.

Processing ?

I had shot a big amount of pictures from this specific scene and when I got home I found out that the shot I had in mind was not there. So i came up with the idea to make a composite. I took the snowy mountain from one picture and the foreground with the polar bear from another picture and blended the two together in Photoshop.

Created By
Michael Krijnen


All photographs ©Michael Krijnen

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