Welcome to Paradise Found
This is the home for the photographs and articles by Jan Zwilling. I live and work in Berlin, but feel at home in many places around the world. I spent several months of my student days in Portugal, innumerable weeks on the road with a motorhome in Canada and photographing northern lights in arctic Norway. I studied Geography and now make my living in Science Communication. My passion, however, is nature and adventure photography and writing. To learn more about me and my photography and writing I encourage you to browse through my Portfolio, read my Statement and my Journal and consider stopping by at the Shop. Have fun and enjoy.
Featured Journey Articles
Experienced landscape, nature and travel photographers Paul Bruins and Jan Zwilling are pleased to introduce a photographers' paradise to you. After spending countless weeks, months and years photographing remote corners of the world from New Zealand to Canada and from South Africa to Norway they team up for their first series of workhops - taking place in Greyton in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Situated in a fertile valley in the foothills of the impressive Riviersonderend Mountain range, and flanked by two rivers, Greyton and the surrounding area offers an infinite variety of photographic opportunities. Late winter / early spring is the best time of the year to photograph Greyton's farms and landscapes, and Paul and Jan will guide you to all the best spots at the best times of day. Interested? Read on for the Details!
More than a hundred years ago Theodore Roosevelt, president of the United States, had a great idea. In addition to National Parks and areas protected by state laws he created the possibility to designate protected lands only by the order of the president. The Antiquities Act was originally intended to protect singular sites of historical importance, especially in connection with the Native American heritage, but Roosevelt immediately started to use the new right to designate large chunks of wilderness as National Monuments and thereby protect them from commercial use. He started a tradition that has never been more vital than today, as Barack Obama designated sixteen new monuments during his presidency. The last one was “Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument” in northern Maine, an area I visited in fall 2014. The few days in the silent north showed me that Roosevelt’s legacy in conservation has lost nothing of its importance.
As luck would have it, my job has led me to Austria for a month. I’m spending it at the northern edge of the Alps in a region where the soft hills and meadows turn into alpine terrain with lakes, gorges and mountains up to 3000 meters high. On the weekends I use my free time exploring the surroundings; and last Saturday I decided to spontaneously hop on a cable car and spend the afternoon on the high plateau that is the Feuerkogel mountain. It was a mixed bag experience in various different ways, but I made the best out of it. Here is how.
Goals in landscape photography are often connected with places, gorgeous regions that one desires to get in front of the lens one day. This is perfectly alright, because it’s to a great part the fascination of being out in nature, soaking in the feeling of astounding places that motivates the photographic process. I often dream far far away and imagine what it would be like to see the Alaskan coast or the Milford Sound for the first time, and how I’d capture this moment in my camera. But – of course there is a but – evolving in photography is also about disconnecting a bit from the travel itch and about getting creative with what you find at your doorstep. In May I decided to get most of both methods: I travelled to a place that is awesome, but pretty close to my home and offers a great variety of possible subjects to get creative.
The natural world is full of places that have become famous as iconic subjects of landscape photographers. Think of the Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park or the view across Lago Pehoe towards the Cuernos del Paine in Patagonia. Without a doubt the Colorado Plateau in the southwest of the United States holds more of these icons that any other region on earth; and the Antelope Slot Canyon is probably the most famous and over-photographed object of interest. This is absolutely justified, as it is an out-of-this-world beautiful place, but for landscape photographers two questions arise with that: Are you willing to shoot an icon that has been pictured by millions of other people? And how will you deal with the crowds that visit the canyon and the short time frames that are designated to every group to walk through it? There is an answer two both of these questions: Secret Canyon. It’s a smaller slot canyon near Antelope that is almost equally magic and has a strict visitor limitation that allows you to shoot almost alone for hours! If that sounds like right up your alley, then read about the secrets of Secret Canyon here.
A few days ago I received an email that stated "Your support for the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement made a difference". The Agreement that is referenced has been in the making for decades and has just recently been signed. It saves 3.1 million hectares of old-grown temperate rainforest on the coast of British Columbia from industrial logging. The sender of the email, the Rainforest Solution Project, is a joint initiative of Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions, and Sierra Club BC which promotes conservation options and economic alternatives to industrial logging on British Columbia’s Central Coast, North Coast and Haida Gwaii. That they think that my support for the Agreement made a difference means a lot to me, because the reason I decided to put my name on their supporters list is a personal experience. This is the story.