is an award-winning landscape photographer. The father of three studied business administration and worked as an independent management consultant. In 2017, however, he turned his passion for travelling and photography into his profession. Today Adrian Rohnfelder is talking to us about his travel experience as a full-time landscape photographer.
Thank you for being with us today! So first oft all – what inspires you as a photographer?
I am inspired by the diversity and beauty of our planet, by nature across all vegetation zones, by countless cultures and, above all, by lonely, distant and hitherto little visited landscapes – the further away from civilization the better. My dream is therefore a journey to the moon or even further. As a photographer and author I would like to report about this variety and beauty and therefore try to show my respective emotions towards it with each and every photo.
As a photographer you are very passionate about capturing fire and ice. Why are they particularly fascinating to you?
I am fascinated by the power and beauty of nature, which shows itself especially in the forces of nature and elements. Volcanoes inspire me with their partly perfect cone shapes – my personal favorite volcanoes are the Fujisan in Japan, the Kliuchevskoy in Eastern Russia and the Orizaba in Mexico – as well as with the optical fireworks. A gigantic spectacle for all senses with lightshow, deafening explosions, frightening shock waves and unbearably high temperatures. At the other end of the temperature scale – I don’t really like the cold at all – it’s mainly icebergs, glaciers and especially old blue ice that attract me in a magical way.
You have traveled to and taken photos in many different places across the globe. Which one was your favorite location so far and why?
That’s right, meanwhile I’ve travelled all seven continents and all imaginable vegetation zones. What I love most about it is its incredible diversity. If I had to limit myself to one place then my current choice would be as follows:
As far as volcanoes are concerned, lava lakes have particularly impressed me with their direct view into the heart of the earth. Here I decide for the Erta Ale in Ethiopia. As far as landscape is concerned, the answer is quite simple: Antarctica. In this place I could have just cried out of happiness, peace and beauty and I feel a deep longing to return one day. In terms of hospitality I choose Iran, in terms of traveling Japan and in terms of the most impressive culture Papua New Guinea.
Do you ever travel without your camera and if so, how is it different from traveling as a photographer?
Since I got my first camera at the age of six or seven, I’ve always been on the move with it. For me, photos are simply part of travelling. Of course I also have to produce and tell stories on my professional travels. However, I don’t travel in order to take photos, but photograph my travels – authenticity is my top priority, during the journey and with photography. So I wouldn’t travel differently without a camera – at most I would be annoyed not to have a camera at hand.
Only very rarely do I have the feeling that I am experiencing too much through the viewfinder. In these moments I actually put the camera down and enjoy it only with my eyes.
What’s important to you when traveling?
When travelling, it is especially important for me to get to know the country and its people, to immerse myself in the respective culture. For me, this includes typical local food from morning to evening, typical local accommodation as well as encounters and conversations. But of course also my own adventures, mountains and volcanoes as well as, if possible, some days with a tent and time in unique landscapes. Every journey shapes and changes me, there is something to learn from every culture. In addition, I like to break new ground and face personal challenges. Basically it is important for me to be open and spontaneous when traveling and to take the journey as it comes.
How do you travel with your camera gear? Is it possible to travel light as a photographer?
No. When I’m traveling for business – I hope no airline employee is reading here – I already have 16kg and more in my hand luggage. On the one hand I always want to have my sensitive equipment with me, on the other hand the current regulations require that I also carry all batteries and powerbanks in my hand luggage. In any case, I always practice a relaxed facial expression beforehand for lifting the heavy equipment into the baggage compartment. The rest of my luggage can be up to 30kg with a complete mountaineering equipment.
What’s your craziest travel story?
I have already seen and experienced a lot, but I can still answer this question very simply and unambiguously: In Tehran I ate an original Austrian Sacher cake at a small cultural festival at the former Shah Palace, while in the background, it was in May, a local and therefore Muslim children’s choir sang German Christmas songs such as “Oh Du Fröhliche” in German. Unbelievable!
Wow, thank you so much for sharing your travel insights with us today! We wish you pleasant travels and lots of volcanoes and Christmas songs in the future!