Mikael Svensson doesn’t just seek the right location, but the right moment in time for his stunning landscape photos
This issue, reader Mikael Svensson explains how he tries to find the perfect moment to capture the landscapes of his native Sweden
My photographic journey began during my years working in a hotel in Grövelsjön, Dalarna, which is a mountainous area in southern Sweden. There I felt inspired often by the fleeting moments in nature’s ever-changing landscapes and light. I wanted to capture these moments whenever I had free time outdoors, trekking or skiing.
I started my photography business part-time in 1999, and five years later I’m doing it for a living. Working full-time has its ups and downs. It’s maybe not the best way to get rich, but it’s more a lifestyle for me, and I get to do what I love most. Since starting out I’ve taken images for seven books, and am always working on various new book projects.
In 2004 I moved back to my home town of Mölndal, and I’m now close to both the ocean and the forest, so I don’t need to travel too far to find the photographic motivation that I seek. The challenge is capturing the perfect light, which exists in only a fleeting moment. To me, photography is not only about being in the right location, it’s also about capturing the right moment.
When I started out I shot on a Nikon film camera. When the first D-SLRs hit the market I used a third-party body, so that I could still use all of my Nikon lenses. Since than I have been a Nikon shooter, and I have used many bodies, from the Nikon D200 to my lovely D810. The quality and performance of the D810 is outstanding.
When I want to create ‘sunstars’ in an image, I use my Nikon 20mm f/1.8 wide-angle lens. On this wonderful morning at Pico do Arieiro  (the Portuguese island of Madeira’s third-highest peak), the sun peered above the clouds and all I could think was: ‘sunstars’! I set up my D810 and 20mm lens on a tripod, put the
To me, photography is not only about being in the right location, it’s also about capturing the right moment
self-timer on 20 secs and began the ‘selfie’ exercise: I ran to the clifftop, struck the pose you see in the image, and then turned and ran back quickly, all the while hoping that a sudden gust of wind wouldn’t blow the tripod over and destroy my precious D810!
Gothenburg, Sweden, is a place that I’ve visited many times. Trying not to shoot the same thing time and time again, but to find a new perspective like this  is not easy, but with the changing light it never stays the same. For this shot I used a six-stop neutral density filter to enable me to set a longer exposure, which meant I was able to smooth out the movement in both the water and the clouds. My final exposure time was 63 secs at an aperture of f/8.
Finally, this little cabin on a cliff overlooking the sea in Bohuslän, Sweden , is a popular subject to shoot, and the granite cliffs of Bohuslän’s coastline make it a real mecca for landscape shooters. The cliffs have a wonderful texture, and you can find lots of angles to shoot from.
I could wander around for a whole day just looking for formations in the coastline. I found a spot where the cabin provided some scale to the image. Three sections of cliff and lines in the granite led the eye up towards it. I set my shutter speed to 30 secs to make the water and sky more dreamlike.
2 Lakeside Retreat Nikon D810, 16-35mm f/4, 63 secs, f/8, ISO64 3 2
Clifftop Cabin Nikon D800E, 16-35mm f/4, 30 secs, f/8, ISO100 3