I was born 1974 in Seoul, South Korea, and is currently living outside Oslo, Norway. My photographs of grand landscapes, wild mountains, coastlines, forests, waterfalls and small details that are often overlooked in our busy, everyday life are results of my outdoor adventures and personal visions and experiences.
What inspires me the most is the northern ambient light, especially the unique sub-arctic winter light. Light is the essence of a good landscape and nature photograph. And for me, light is just as important as subject and I often spend long periods of time around the subjects just to be at the right place, at the right time to experience the magic of light. As the magic of nature is very difficult, if not impossible, to explain in mere words, photography have been a way of expressing myself for over a decade. The areas that stays closest to my heart are located in the oldest national park in Norway; Rondane Nasjonalpark. That is where I feel most deeply connected to nature. That is where I feel most deeply connected to myself, as a living, creative and seeking human being.
I return to my locations time after time, season after season, to study the ever-changing light and to see how it transforms the landscape. Like with friends; time is essential in order to really know them, to understand them and to love them. Time is also necessary to really capture the beauty and energy of a place. To express what I feel, and not just what I see, is a whole different matter which does not depend or neither place or time. In order to make photography meaningful to me, I listen with my heart and see with my mind. Like with reality; we are not one thing, and one thing only. Everything changes and is in constant flux. So are we, our minds and bodies, all the way down to the atoms that the world is made of. For me, more than being visual representations of the natural world, photography is a spiritual journey, where imagination, creativity and personality is what ultimately creates my photography. Photography is not just photography.
I have lost count on how many times I`ve spent hours, or even days, on a location only to go home without even setting up my camera. I also have lost count on all the photographs that were made by pure coincidence, luck with the light or made in close proximity of my own home. You don`t always need to travel far to witness the magic, because very often the subject is right in front of you. It`s not about what you are looking at, it`s about what you see. There are no constants, no absolute answers to any kind of photography. As sun changes direction and altitude throughout the year there are certain times and seasons when the light really can enhance your subject in a unique way or create a certain mood. Weather, tides, moon phases, topography, point of view etc. can make a huge difference in order to enhance your vision of a certain photograph. I find the elements and conditions of nature very interesting and to gather knowledge about them is essential for me, just as much as knowing which lenses, focal length or which filters to use; like polarizers and graduated neutral density filters. For me, the most inspiring and meaningful aspects of photography are the moments of inspiration, moments of capture and the feeling of personal achievement on location.
A RAW-file directly from the camera has to be individually processed to create a Fine Art Print of high technical quality. It`s not about creating the photograph after the actual capture, but it`s about enhancing the already captured photograph so that it expresses my personal vision and translates well onto the final print. Though I enjoy being creative in the digital darkroom and use various digital techniques, it must be said that my intention is to photograph, and promote, the natural environment and not to create nature through photography. Therefore, no foreign objects or skies have been added or cloned out and all subjects are shown as photographed by the camera. Digital image processing software is used to enhance the RAW-files when they are downloaded from the camera to a computer with a calibrated monitor. Then I adjust the RAW-file with tools like exposure, custom white balance, overall contrast, sensor dust removal etc. Next the RAW-file is converted to a 16-bit TIFF-file for final processing like local/micro contrasts, saturation and RGB enhancements, dodge and burn, various layer/mask adjustments and suitable sharpening for prints or for web display. All photographs on this website should be viewed on color calibrated monitors.
- Natur & Foto - Landskapsfoto: En Reise i Natur og Sinn (magazine issue of January 2012)
- Featured Photographer at The Nature Conservancy: Seung Kye Lee 2008 Photo Contest Honorable Mention
- Interview by The Portfolio Pro: Ambient Light - an interview with Seung Kye Lee
- Planet Green feature: Amazing Views of the World through The Nature Conservation Photographer`s Lens
- Singh-Ray Filters: Seung Kye Lee Captures The Natural Beauty of Norway
Some of my most used equipment for landscape photography is the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM with Lee, or Singh-Ray graduated neutral density filters and remote shutter release.
I use full-frame DSLR cameras, quality lenses and professional filter equipment such as graduated-and solid neutral density filters and polarizers and I try to capture the photographs as much as possible in-camera on location.
Cameras and Lenses
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II (full frame 21 MP DSLR)
- Canon EOS 5D (full frame 12.8 MP DSLR)
- Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II (tilt-shift)
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM
- Canon EF 70-300mm f-4-5.6 IS USM
- Tokina AT-X ProD 100mm f.2.8
Filters and Tripod
- Lee graduated neutral density filter system
- Singh-Ray graduated neutral density filter system
- Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizers
- Hoya Pro 1 DMC polarizers
- Hoya solid neutral density filters
- Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod
- Benro J-0 ball head
- RRS L-plate for Canon 5D Mark II
- Canon RS-80N3 remote switch
Connect With Me ↓