I must admit that winter has never been my favorite time of year. I just wish I could just sleep through it and wake up in the spring when everything’s nice and warm again. But then I saw Dr. Kah-Wai Lin’s landscape photos and something changed. When the first snow fell in Novi Sad, I had the urge to go outside, travel, explore, and shoot instead of wrapping myself in a blanket and never leaving my bed. These stunning landscapes that “cool” has more than one meaning when it comes to winter and photographing it.
So, DIYP reached out to Kah-Wai, and he kindly shared some of his gorgeous photos with us. If winter is not your favorite season – well, these photos might just change your mind!
Kah-Wai was born in Malaysia, but life took him to many other places. He holds a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Lviv National Medical University in Ukraine and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in medical science from Karolinska Institute in Sweden. In 2012, he moved to New Jersey, USA, which remained his home to this day.
Even though he had a successful research career at Princeton University, Kah-Wai’s life turned a different path. He decided to follow his passion and became a professional landscape photographer. As a fan of landscape photography, I must say – I’m glad he decided to pursue this passion of his.
I asked Kah-Wai a few questions about his photographic process, and about the joys and challenges of photographing cold, icy, and snowy landscapes he shares with us in this article. What many of you like to know is the gear. So, I asked him which gear he normally uses when shooting in the cold weather and snow.
I am currently using Phase One medium format camera, as I start collaborating with Phase One USA a short while ago. While most of the images here were photographed using Fujifilm GFX 50R medium format camera. I like a wide-angle lens for grand landscape and night photography, as wide-angle lens allows me to be creative while composing and putting all the elements together in the image. I also like to use a telephoto lens to capture the intimate landscape, something that is not easily seen by the naked eye. Seeing the unseen, as we always said. I also frequently use ND filter as long exposure is one of my favorite techniques.
As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of winter and snow. I rarely shoot in these conditions and I’m always scared that my camera will get damaged due to freezing temperatures and moisture. So I asked Kah-Wai what he uses to protect his gear from cold and from the elements. I was wondering if he had any tricks up his sleeve for situations like this.
I don’t really take specific measures to protect the gear from cold and elements. I think that today, modern camera is very capable to handling the cold and adverse weather condition. I do clean my camera and gear after the photography session, especially shooting in the shore where salt water is hitting the gear.
Oh, awesome, so I guess I can relax a bit when I go out to shoot in the snow then! But I was wondering about the challenges Kah-Wai faces in the weather like this. I’m very sensitive to cold and I immediately imagined that it would be my biggest challenge. It turned out that Kah-Wai is no different: he finds the cold to be the most challenging, too! However, he likes winter landscapes so much that he overcomes it. “The scenery will immediately become heaven when they are decorated by snow. Snow and ice are the magical elements in photography,” he tells me. I guess that, despite the cold, the scenery like this warms his heart – and sometimes that’s enough to go out and shoot even when it’s cold outside.
I was also wondering where were these beautiful photos taken. Ka-Wai tells me that most of them were photographed in Norway, Greenland, and Antarctica. “These are my favorite places as they offer some of the most amazing landscapes on earth,” he tells me. “I have been to Norway and Greenland multiple times in the past few years, they never cease to amaze me!”
Some of the photos he shared show Northern light in all its glory, adding even more magic to already stunning images. So I asked Kah-Wai if he had any tips and tricks for shooting and editing Aurora images.
Knowing how to predict the aurora, and where to photograph them are important. Finding interesting landscapes, especially the foreground element, is also very crucial. An aurora image without landscape and composition is nothing in terms of photography.
Take a look at the rest of these wonderful images below. Even if you’re a “summer person” like me, I bet these will make you want to go outside and make the best out of winter. You’ll find more of Kah-Wai’s work on his website, Instagram, Facebook page, and YouTube. Also, make sure to visit his store Stetinded, and you can become his Patreon supporter, too.