Part-time snappers capture breath-taking beauty of Oder Valley in gorgeous photo album
Motivated by a driving desire to expose the spectacular beauty of their local region, two photographers are within touching distance of realizing their dream and releasing an album of their stunning captures of the natural world.
Titled Życie w Dolinie Odry, the album is the work of Piotr Rosiński and Piotr Piznal and seeks to spotlight one of their favourite parts of Poland: the Lower Oder Valley in northwest Poland.
Speaking to TFN, Piznal says: “We live and work in the area, so it was obvious we’d focus on the region, but additionally it’s one of the most beautiful areas in the country when it comes to photographing nature – despite that, it remains very under-the-radar in terms of its popularity.”
Citing its immense marshy backwaters, pristine lakes, thick forests and rugged terrain, the duo say that this striking combination of natural elements conspire to make it a fascinating and environmentally diverse background to study Polish nature.
Dedicating the last five years of their lives to the project, Rosiński and Piznal say that practically every free moment has been spent immersing themselves – often quite literally – in the wilds of the Lower Oder Valley.
“Clearly,” says Piznal, “you can’t take pictures whilst sat at home in front of the TV; nature photography is highly demanding, as a good image needs to show animals behaving in their most natural way. To do so we, as photographers, we need to become invisible.”
Camouflaging themselves in sniper style, their commitment to this cannot be called into question.
“Often you need to be able to melt into the mud,” says Piznal, “so things like hypothermia, injuries, ticks, leeches and mosquitoes become very real concerns. Moreover, we often photograph in the dead of night, in complete and utter darkness – as a result, we’ve experienced a deer walking right over our heads and, even, a wild boar rutting against us!”
Juggling family interests and full-time jobs – Rosiński as a roofer and carpenter and Piznal in construction – other challenges have proved more prosaic.
“In summer, when dawn comes early, we often sleep outdoors, take our pictures at sunrise then get home in time to shower, take the kids to school and then head into work,” says Piznal. “The exhaustion and fatigue can barely be described.”
Despite this, the pair say the rewards are ample.
“The feeling of freedom is amazing,” says Piznal, “you gain a completely new perspective of the everyday world – surrounded by just nature in its rawest form, we get to witness something that hardly any other people experience. That alone gives us a huge amount of satisfaction.”
Whilst photography is a passion first and foremost, their individual work has not gone unnoticed. Rosiński has co-authored three previous books while Piznal claimed top spot as the winner of the 2019 edition of the global AstroCamera competition.
Taking thousands of images over the course of the last five years, the pair have whittled this number down to present a carefully curated selection of 160 of their favourites in Życie w Dolinie Odry.
Seeking to show the most beautiful areas in the region in a way that reflected its diversity, the results have been both staggering and broad in their over-arching style.
“We used different drones as well as digital SLRs modified for infrared purposes and astrophotography,” continues Piznal.
“It wasn’t just about the area, we wanted to show its various different faces: the wild animals, the landscape, not to mention night photos with the starry milky way in the background.”
In keeping with the multi-faceted approach, further surprises will be had through the inclusion of a CD insert of nature-inspired sounds.
Dub-inspired, but featuring the calls of nature and the chirping of birds, the music was compiled by Rosiński, a well-known figure on the alternative music scenes of Dębno and Gorzów.
Photographically, meanwhile, the pair have achieved a pitch perfect standard that brings to life the soggy swamps and misty mornings so beloved of the duo.
“When striving for the perfect ‘nature’ picture there’s many factors to consider,” says Piznal. “Light, perspective, framing and a variety of technical aspects are, of course, key, but you also need to remember that, most importantly, an image needs something to truly distinguish it from everything else – something that’s unique.”
Looking to crowdfund the album, the initiative already looks on target to be realized having attained nearly half of its PLN 20,000 target.
For details, see: zrzutka.pl/album-fotograficzny-zycie-w-dolinie-odry