We are excited to share some awesome insights by the get wet photo contest guest judge John Bozinov. John is a New Zealand born photographer, educator and naturalist who specializes in polar expedition photography. Growing up surrounded by the beauty of the New Zealand landscape, his journey into photography was shaped by the environment which surrounded him. John's work has a strong emphasis on communicating ideas of environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation in the remote and coldest corners of our fragile planet.

What inspired you to be a photographer?

It's difficult to put it down to one thing exactly, as there are many facets that initially drew me to photography. I've always enjoyed expressing myself and sharing ideas in a visual format, so in a way, photography was something that I naturally fell into.

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

1. Practice is paramount
2. Always maintain a teachable spirit; there's always something new to learn and everybody can teach you something.
3. People say that 'life begins at the edge of your comfort zone', this also holds true for your growth as a photographer.

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

The Holga 120S. It was my first camera and the one which began my infatuation with photography. I loved how the Holga's simplicity and limitations forced me to focus on shooting rather than what gear I was using. It's still my favorite camera to this day. I now shoot almost exclusively digital, both on my iPhone 6S+ and Canon 5D MK III

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

Much of my work takes a 'documentary' type approach; I will seldom change my environment or lighting in order to alter the aesthetic of a photo. I've always thought it's easiest to connect with an image that feels authentic.

How do you describe your style?

I'm not sure what word or phrase would fit my work best. When shooting I always try to only include elements that I think are essential to communicating an idea or feeling, everything else I do my best to exclude. So perhaps 'minimal' is appropriate.

What has photography done for you?

I've been very fortunate with my work; photography has taken me to the most distant corners of our planet and allowed me to share these wonderful places with an incredible community of people online. In many respects, it has shaped who I am and how I value our environment.


What is it that you love about photography?

Photography and images are an international language. I love how it enables us to connect with each other, share stories, moments and emotions so easily with people all over the world.

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

Above all else, I'd like them to see the vast landscapes and diverse wildlife in my photographs and appreciate their beauty, connect with it and view them as something truly valuable that we simply can't afford to lose.


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

28mm f/2.8 - for some reason this focal length just feels right.

Have you received negative feedback from your work?

Strangely, no. In my experience, those who follow and comment on my work are overwhelmingly positive and kind. I see a lot of value in criticism though so if it ever comes my way I'll gladly welcome it.


Where did you learn to take photos?

I'm largely self-taught, I used a myriad of online resources to learn all of the theory and also spent a lot of time practicing by taking a lot of terrible photos. In many ways photography is like a sport, practice makes perfect.

Raw vs jpg and why?

I often shoot wildlife in challenging weather and lighting conditions, so I'll usually shoot raw on my DSLR so that I can adjust a poorly exposed image in a post where necessary.

What do you carry in your camera bag?

When I'm on an expedition I take most of my gear with me, but the core of my kit includes
Canon 5D Mk III
Canon 6D
Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC
Sigma 35mm 1,4 Art
Canon 70-300 4-5.6
iPhone 6S+
plus a bunch of spare batteries because they never last too long in the field!


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

I'm a firm believer that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' when it comes to photography as it's such a subjective process. That being said, I find that many people (myself included) often obsess and scrutinize over which gear is the best when it's not always overly important. I've never looked at a photo and thought 'wow look how sharp the corners are in this shot, what a fantastic photo!'.

What is your dream location to shoot?

I'm drawn to colder climates, so anywhere in the world that's cool will keep me happy.

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

I've always been a fan of Kevin Russ. I admire how his photography effortlessly balances beauty and reality; this is something I strive for in my own work.

How do you decide on where to shoot a photo?

I'm deeply passionate about the subantarctic and polar regions of our planet; these areas are often isolated and are full of the incredible wildlife that provides endless photo opportunities.

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

My next big trip will be to the Arctic in July and August, I'll be on expedition shooting for 2 months in Svalbard and Franz Josef Land. After that, I'll likely be back in Antarctica towards the end of this year.

What is your goal with your photography?

My goal is to get people more interested in our polar regions and to value the wonderful ecosystems that are at an imminent threat due to our rapidly changing climate.

Check out John Bozinov on Instagram and ViewBug.