Australia, Antarctica and awe: Two photographers find wonder in nature

Even though mankind’s relationship with nature is a complicated one, we remain fascinated by wide-open spaces and their intangible unknowns.

Across many industries – finance, technology, health, travel — brands recognize this, with many making impressive landscapes an integral part of their visual storylines.

Getty Images Senior Art Director Gemma Fletcher says these dramatic vistas help brands connect with their audience, and people’s longing for wonder in every aspect of their lives.

“The emerging trend of using a small person or element in the frame while the rest of the image is an epic landscape, represents the idea of the boundless scope of nature,” Fletcher said. “Brands are using this to convey concepts like awe, exploration, curiosity and adventure, as well as to explore ideas of science and technology, space and natural phenomenon.”

Contributor: Mlenny

Alexander Hafemann’s own sense of adventure has led him to take breathtaking photographs that communicate concepts of exploration and discovery.

His shoot in the Antarctic summer was “a life-changing experience” for him, and the perfect landscape to convey the essence of Wonderlust.

“It’s a unique, mysterious and hardly explored continent with an unspoiled, rough and icy nature that is like nowhere else on our planet,” he said. “It is vast and borderless, and the silence and mood there are special.”

Contributor: Mlenny

The iStock by Getty Images photographer (profile name: Mlenny) travelled to Antarctica by way of a Russian ice breaker ship, crossing the Drake Passage from Ushuaia, Argentina.

“Antarctica is different to all places I have been,” he said. “Not only is it colder than many other places (which brings you to a lot of challenges regarding equipment), but it is also much more diverse than you would expect. It’s hard to capture the vastness of the landscape, the height of the mountains or the gigantic size of the icebergs. The images in which I feel this works out best is when you have a reference object in the shot like a boat, or birds, or penguins. Then, you can experience the vastness of the location best.”

Contributor: Mlenny

David Trood is another great example of a photographer whose awe-inspiring images indulge the desire to explore. Trood, who has photographed large landscapes from Greenland to the southern tip of New Zealand, sees nature as his playground and workplace.

“The majority of people today live in big cities,” the Getty Images Prestige photographer said, “so it’s important for me as a photographer to give them the opportunity to be inspired by images that create an attraction and curiosity towards the outdoors.”

Credit: David Trood

One of Trood’s more notable shoots was of the night sky in the Australian outback, which gives a sense of the vastness of the land and sky as they connect. Trood shot it on one of his walkabouts – his way of getting away from it all when he feels like life is moving too fast.

“When I was a child my father would take me camping out there, and now, when life feels like it is going too fast, I go back there and sleep under the stars on the roof of my car,” Trood said. “It is a long way from any city, so at night the stars are very visible. More visible than almost any other place I have been. It can be so quiet you can hear your own heart beating. The combination of solitude, stillness and alertness creates a natural high and a unique feeling of being part of it.”

It’s a feeling captured in his pictures.

Credit: David Trood

“When I arrived at the location after three days of driving, I made a fire, drank a few cans of beer and fought off insects that were attracted to my gas light while I ate my dinner. I went to sleep on the roof of my car and was looking at the stars.”

Trood set his tripod up with a wide angle lens and opened the shutter — and then went to sleep.

Milky Way star trails in the outback

“I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and closed the shutter and went back to sleep,” he said. “I don´t know how long the shutter was open, but this is the shot.”

Discover more imagery from Photographers David Trood and Alexander Hafemann.

About author
Nadia is a London-based member of Getty Images content marketing team. When she’s not working on visual storytelling for Getty Images and iStock by Getty Images, Nadia is poring over maps to decide on her next travel destination.