Lightning in a Bottle: an Interview with Michel Yordanov
Posted on 2016 Dec,27

Michel Yordanov is a man who wears two very distinct hats. The first sees him filling the role of a fulltime IT coordinator who, bizarrely enough has, for the past 25 years, been working in maritime shipping. The other, finds him freelancing as a web designer and social media consultant. His keen eye for detail and love for beauty, eventually drove him to chase naturally-occurring phenomena, which began in 2013. Backed by the enthusiasm of like-minded communities the world over, he, ever since has been hooked on bringing-out the mind-boggling characteristics that colour our world.


What’s the best part of being a photographer?

The challenge of framing that fleeting moment in the most beautiful way possible.


The hardest part of your job?

The hardest part is working with nature, which can completely transform from one minute to the other. It’s all about being in the best place at the right moment, and being quick enough to capture it using the right settings.


If not a photographer who you would have been?

I would have loved to have been a storm chaser. I’m fascinated by natural phenomena, especially when it is intense and dramatic.


How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?

I try to emphasise the intensity of nature, so that the photo really impacts whoever’s looking at it. As for how I developed it, I’m always looking for beautiful details in a scene or in a moment that most people would overlook, and then trying to bring out this detail in the photograph using exaggerated perspectives, lighting, and vivid colours.


Which photographers inspired you most?

I get most of my inspiration from the nature around me and although there are no specific photographers that impacted me, I try to learn from all of them.


How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

I’m self taught. I educate myself by reading articles and watching tutorials online, but mostly by trial and error.


One of today’s main discussion points is about the use of digital photography. Where do you stand?

Digital photography plays a big role in enhancing my photographs. It allows for more precision, which is useful for capturing those brief, passing moments. The rapid results also accelerate the process of trial and error.


What kind of mode do you go into when photographing a concept or idea you are passionate about?

As I’m going about my everyday life, part of me is always in photography mode, looking for signs of an approaching storm, dramatic cloud formation, or interesting composition of natural light.


What is the favourite image you have shot recently?

My favourite moments are when I’m shooting thunderstorms. I enjoy the process of preparing for the incoming storm and coordinating with nature in order to catch the moment of impact as the lightning hits the ground in all its details and beauty. There’s a challenge in creating the perfect setup and predicting where the lightning will strike next. My favourite spot for shooting lightning is from the top of a hill in Hadath, an area in the suburbs that overlooks the city of Beirut.
Settings: Long Exposure (10 seconds), F7.1, ISO100.


What makes a good picture stand out from the average?

A picture stands out when it is shot in a way that makes you see something new in a typical situation or location.


Exactly what it is that you want to say with your photographs?

I want to highlight the beauty of places and moments that people usually overlook.


What pleasure are you getting from social media?

It’s always pleasing when a photo you post on social media creates an impact. On several occasions, I would post a photo of a beautiful house in a Lebanese village and people would tag each other until they find the owner of the house, who would then shares his memories of the place and adds a new layer of meaning to the photograph.


Do you get to work with ad agencies on specific assignments?

I don’t usually work by assignment. My main platform is social media and I post whatever I feel could be inspiring to me and other people. But should the opportunity arise, it would definitely be interesting to work on a campaign and bring a specific idea to life with my photography.


Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?

Despite the fact that I’ve taken thousands of photographs, I don’t label myself as a photographer yet. I’m still working on perfecting my technique, but I definitely see myself continuing down this path in the future.


What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?

My advice would be to always have a camera within reach, as you never know when a beautiful moment might occur and be worth saving.   

On the technical front...

Nikon or Canon, other? Canon.

Favourite lens? 75-300mm and 10-18mm.

Favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? Tripod, lens filters and remote trigger.

Favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer? Mobile phone.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.? HDR filters and actions.

Are you a Mac or PC lover? I am a PC lover.



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