ViewBug photographer CorinaO shows us how to tell stories through photography and how to make them your legacy.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, how do you describe your photography style?
Hello dear friends at the ViewBug community. I’m Corina Orphanou, environmental engineer by day and amateur photographer by night, from Cyprus. Though my real passion in photography is Urban Exploration and adventure, I always try to seize the moment! From macro to landscapes, elements from my profession, I chase any photo opportunity that captures emotion and sparks the viewer’s imagination.

"A venerable maid goes to sleep" by CorinaO

2. In one sentence what has photography done for you in your life?
Photography is my past, present and future legacy!

3. When did you start taking photos and what inspired you to get started?
I was taking photos since before I can remember. I was very lucky to grow up in a family of brilliant amateur photographers who have mastered this art with their own personal style and I’ve always wanted to keep up the family tradition. To this day I still seek their advice and approval for my photos.

"The Blair Witch House" by CorinaO

4. What has been your favorite shoot and why?
Definitely the “Witch House” shoot in France! This was the first time I combined adventure and adrenaline with photography. There are many legends around this particular abandoned house, mostly about witches and black magic. The house is lost deep within a forest and it is only accessible by foot or mountain biking. We managed to locate it late in the afternoon with another fellow urban explorer after an hour’s hike. Upon arriving we had a strange feeling, mostly because of the unusual silence and the eerie state of the house. I am a very superstitious person, so it took a while to gather up some courage and go inside. There was little light, a lot of shadows and the walls were filled with ancient Egyptian symbols. A simply great horror photoshoot opportunity! Once I started shooting, all the superstition and fears had fled. I even insisted we wait until sundown to take a night shot of the house.


5. Do you remember a difficult photo shoot session? What happened?
I would have to say the Paris Catacombs, a great challenge for a photographer’s patience. I waited for 3 hours in the queue outside the entrance with a cold weather of -5°C before being able to access the catacombs. Upon arriving at the bottom of the staircase I discovered that my lens had condensation from the inside because of the high underground humidity rate and temperature difference. I had to wait another half hour before the condensation had cleared. Unfortunately this was not the end of my troubles as shooting in a high tourist concentration spot can prove to be very difficult and irritating. Compositions ruined by accidental photobombing, getting pushed around, shots ruined by flashes from other cameras… A special treat was getting told off by ignorant guards who thought that the flashes (which were not allowed) were coming from my camera because it was “big and therefore the flash had to come from it”.

"Where the Wood Fairies dwell" by CorinaO

6. What do you carry in your camera bag?
I always carry with me my Nikon D3000, its 18-105 mm lens, 2 extra batteries, a tripod, liquid hand warmers (an absolute must-have for urban exploration photoshoots as cold hands are quite painful) and a snack to keep me occupied while waiting for the right moment to take a shot.

7. Do you have a favorite location and time of the day to shoot?
I love locations that generate emotion and stories during sunsets. The light at this particular moment generates shadows that accentuate the feeling and beauty I seek to capture behind abandoned venues.

"Standing tall and proud" by CorinaO

8. Can you share three tips with your fellow photographers? 
1. Learn your equipment by heart. We live in an era where information is very easily accessible. Use the internet to find photography tutorials and more particularly your camera’s guides. Understanding your camera is key to capturing a great photo, materialize the composition as you see it in your mind. The more you know your camera’s capacities and limitations the more you succeed in your photography.
2. Do not hesitate to seek advice. Fellow photographers are always eager to help and give advice. Since I’m still a beginner, I always ask for a small tutorial from the photographer whenever I stumble upon a photo that inspires me.
3. Be a unique photographer. We are photographers and proud of it! Dare to go where others don’t, push through the crowds to get that one shot, lay down in the dirt to get the perfect angle, sneak past the velvet rope to get a close-up. If you have a particular composition in mind, there is no shame, go for it!

9. Please share one of your favorite photos with us with a short tutorial:

"Would you take another step closer?" by CorinaO

a. Where did you take it:
I love this shot of the Witch House. I feel that it portrays exactly the emotions I felt upon arriving on site.
b. Time of the day and lighting details:
This shot was taken during the beginning of sunset.
c. Equipment used:
My all-time warrior Nikon D3000 and an 18-105 mm lens.
d. Inspiration behind this photo:
The different urban horror legends of course! Particularly the ones about witches and evil spirits still haunting the house.
e. Post-processing information:
I used Lightroom to boost up the contrast of the photo and add a “Vignette” effect.
10. Please share some thoughts on your ViewBug experience as a photographer!
ViewBug is THE place to be recognized as a photographer, expose your work and get inspired! It is a great way to meet and get in touch with other photographers. I have only been using ViewBug for a few months now and I am thrilled by the different contests and the participation of fellow photographers.

11. What is your favorite photo and why?

 "Charadrius alexandrinus - Kentish Plover" by CorinaO

One of my favourite photos is the wild Kentish Plover chick shot in its natural habitat, as this type of chick is a rare sight in Cyprus. I discovered the nest by accident and immediately seized the opportunity to shoot while taking care as to not disturb the nest.

12. What photo was the most difficult to shoot form the ones in your Viewbug profile and why?

"A venerable maid goes to sleep" by CorinaO

I would have to say the sunset shot at the Chateau des Singes in France. The sun was going down very fast and so was the temperature. I had to first overcome the pain in my hands and the trembling due to the cold, set the right camera settings compose the photo, and take it within split seconds. I managed to take one shot before losing the light; this is the one!