We are excited to share the conversation with Tor-Ivar, winner of the contemplating the aurora photo contest. "My name is Tor-Ivar. I am by definition a semi-professional photographer based in Nordreisa, Norway. My passion is capturing land and nightscapes. Living in Northern Norway gives me plenty of beautiful locations to choose from as well as the mesmerizing aurora borealis and, of course, the midnight sun. My journey began in 2012 when I purchased my first camera. I have since then worked to become the best I can be, learning new things every day. Today I have been published both nationally and internationally.If I can touch the emotions of a friend or a stranger with my photos, I know I am on the right track and this something that drives me."

What inspired you to be a photographer?

I wasn’t really inspired entering photography as a hobby. The inspiration came later on from acquaintances like Ted Gore, Stian Klo and Alex Noriega.

What was your first camera and what do you shoot with today?

My first camera was a Nikon D90, for those unfamiliar this was the recommended camera for enthusiasts. Today I shoot with the Nikon D810.

When someone looks at your photos, what do you want them to take away from it, what are you trying to communicate?

I really just want to express the distinction of my region of the world. With the landscape consisting of long fjords, islands and snow covered peaks. Combined with the truly special light we have both during summer and winter, it is truly a blessing.

What is it that you love about photography?

I love that it is a hobby that's always with me, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I bring my camera. The appreciation of light and figures is something I believe I first learned as a kid but had to relearn as an adult.

What has photography done for you?

Photography saved me from the horrible state of being a world-class online gamer. The hours required to being at such a level took so much away from me. I am glad I found photography to straighten things out again at so many aspects of my life.

Do you try to be conceptual or do you prefer to show the feeling behind a photo?

Most of the time I stick to showing the feeling behind a photo. However, I touch into the conceptual realm once in a while.

How do you describe your style?

I was the reason people hate HDR, but I have evolved into what might be described as a vibrant and dreamy look.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?

I love shooting ultrawide and my go to lenses are the Nikon 14-24 and Zeiss 15mm, I use the Nikon for most shots, but when it comes to astrophotography I love my Zeiss.

What are your 3 tips for others who want to become landscape photographers?

My best tip really is to get out there and shoot. It's like with any other hobby, put the hours into it and you'll get better and better. Easy as that really. Invest in a filter set. This will enable you to shoot scenes in a more creative way. I find a lot of inspiration in traveling to different regions of my own country as well as abroad. You might find it too!

Have you received negative feedback from your work? What did you do about it?

When I've asked for feedback, I've asked professionals and I have received constructive feedback. This is feedback I do try to use to correct my ways of shooting and/or post-processing my images. When people randomly says that my photos are unrealistic I have a tendency to just answer "I do this for me, not for you.". I really don't have the time to argue with random people.

Where did you learn to take photos?

I learned the basics from a photography class I took online. From there I have used youtube and I have learned a few tricks from Ted Gore.

Raw vs jpg and why?

I always shoot RAW. I know that I'll be processing my images and I wouldn't be without the information in the raw-file.

What do you carry in your camera bag?

I am in the process of optimizing what I carry, but today I am carrying my Nikon D810, Nikkor 14-24, Nikkor 24-70 and Nikkor 80-400. And I also carry a couple of filter sets.

If you could have the gift of a great photographer who would it be and why?

I would love to have the vision of Ted Gore. Ted has a vision about his photography that really is beyond most. Obviously, there is some high-level photoshop involved, but to me, this is also a part of photography. And especially landscape photography.

What is the most common mistake you see people making when shooting these days?

I find that most people shoot with their tripod extended to maximum height. This isn't really a mistake, but it should be.

What is your dream location to shoot?

I've had a desire to shoot in one of the dark sky reservations in Australia for a long time.

How do you decide on where to shoot a photo?

I try to capture the essence of the place I'm at. Whether I'm hiking or driving a car. I stop at the spot that captures my interest and I try to work the scene as best I can.

What is next for you? Any planned adventures with your camera?

I am visiting a lot of new places in my own region this summer. My family and I are going tenting in the national park here in Nordreisa, this is something I am looking forward to. Later this summer my friend Even Tryggstrand and I are traveling to Iceland for the second time this year. This time, we are walking the Laugavegur trek from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork.

What is your goal with your photography?

My goal with photography has always been to have a hobby that pays for itself. I am close to achieving that goal and I find that my passion for landscape photography and my goals for it aligns very well at the moment.