It’s hard not to con­clude that Lisa Michele Burns prob­a­bly has one of the most en­vi­able jobs in pho­tog­ra­phy. She spends her time trav­el­ling the world, vis­it­ing some of the most ex­otic and in­spir­ing lo­ca­tions on the planet to take pho­tographs and write ar­ti­cles for her Web­site, The Wan­der­ing Lens. Along the way there’s plenty of ad­ven­ture too, such as kayak­ing in glacial melt­wa­ter in Canada, driv­ing up the high­est road in the French Alps or en­coun­ters with gi­ant ice­bergs off the coast of Green­land.

The idea be­hind Lisa’s site is to help keen pho­tog­ra­phers make the most of their trav­els, so there’s plenty of advice and tips about equip­ment and lo­ca­tions, es­pe­cially if you de­cide to fol­low in her foot­steps to Ma­cao… or Dubrovnik… or Venice… or the Outer He­brides. Af­ter just two years, The Wan­der­ing Lens has be­come the lead­ing on­line pub­lisher of pho­tog­ra­phy-fo­cused travel guides.

Lisa started out work­ing as a jour­nal­ist on a coun­try news­pa­per in NSW, but then along came the “dream job” of writ­ing for the Lonely Planet travel guides.

“Af­ter my first trip in Morocco, it opened my eyes to the pho­tog­ra­phy pos­si­bil­i­ties that ex­isted within the travel in­dus­try… and this was well be­fore so­cial me­dia,” she ex­plains. “I started shoot­ing photo fea­tures and work­ing free­lance for a few travel mag­a­zines. Writ­ing very quickly took a back­seat be­cause, once you get the photo bug, it’s very hard to shake!

“Work­ing out­doors and shoot­ing ex­treme land­scapes is some­thing that al­ways makes me happy. Frozen land­scapes and the un­der­wa­ter world are prob­a­bly the two ma­jor pas­sions I have. There’s just some­thing so in­spir­ing about nat­u­ral el­e­ments that have been chis­elled by harsh con­di­tions or changed by tides.”

De­spite en­joy­ing the cold and ice, Lisa says she’s not a great fan of early pre-dawn starts.

“Con­fes­sion. I’m not a morn­ing per­son, not at all. But, if I can see there are some cloud for­ma­tions with the po­ten­tial to light up, it’ll get me out of bed for a sun­rise shoot. That or be­ing some­where I’ve been plan­ning to shoot for a long time. If that’s the case, I gen­er­ally won’t stop shoot­ing from sun­rise to dusk.” A dis­tinc­tive vis­ual style is ev­i­dent with Lisa’s pho­tog­ra­phy, de­spite the di­ver­sity of her sub­jects, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that this is some­thing she ad­mires in other pho­tog­ra­phers. “I’m in­spired by pho­tog­ra­phers who pro­duce a con­sis­tent style within their body of work. I love see­ing a shot and know­ing who took it be­fore even see­ing their name. Min­i­mal­ist pho­tog­ra­phers like Ben­jamin Everett and Ante Badizm are two whose work ex­udes thought and cre­ative tal­ent.”

Travel Light

For some­body who spends so much time car­ry­ing cam­era gear from one place to the next, the ap­peal of a mirrorless cam­era over a D-SLR kit is ob­vi­ous, and Lisa has now joined a grow­ing

num­ber of travel and ad­ven­ture pho­tog­ra­phers who have adopted Olym­pus’s OM-D sys­tem.

“I’ve been shoot­ing with the Olym­pus OM-D E-M1 Mark II since Fe­bru­ary, 2017. With­out test­ing the gear be­fore­hand, I took it with me to Ice­land in win­ter and loved how it han­dled the freez­ing cold con­di­tions and harsh en­vi­ron­ment. I was hooked from the first day of shoot­ing with that cam­era. Ini­tially, I was at­tracted to how light­weight the gear was and, of course, its weath­er­proof abil­i­ties plus the fact that I could use the equiv­a­lent kit I was shoot­ing with, but fit it all into my carry-on while trav­el­ling.

“For me it’s all about the weight and ease of use while trav­el­ling. Know­ing that I can go hik­ing, kayak­ing or travel for weeks with just a small bag is the best! Also I shoot a lot of un­der­wa­ter work so the PT-EP14 hous­ing that lines up with all the but­tons on the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has been such a game-changer for my ca­reer. Sta­bil­ity too, is a big fac­tor and dif­fer­ence over the D-SLRs. I rarely shoot with a tri­pod, and the sta­bil­ity of the Olym­pus gear for shoot­ing hand-held long ex­po­sures is in­cred­i­ble.”

Does she have a favourite lens from among the M.Zuiko Dig­i­tal lens range?

“Ini­tially it was the M.Zuiko Dig­i­tal 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens be­cause of its ver­sa­til­ity when shoot­ing land­scapes, but the 40150mm f2.8 PRO has re­ally grown on me and I find I’m start­ing to shoot more and more de­tails within a land­scape be­cause of its beau­ti­ful bokeh and sharp­ness.”

For some­body who is of­ten faced with chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, rapidly chang­ing light and a race against the clock, hav­ing the right equip­ment for job is es­sen­tial if Lisa is to achieve her cre­ative ob­jec­tives when shoot­ing on lo­ca­tion.

“I find be­ing com­fort­able with your gear is more im­por­tant than any­thing else,” she states. “Once you’ve found equip­ment that al­lows you to fo­cus com­pletely on your cre­ative ob­jec­tives with­out wor­ry­ing about if it’ll do the job, you’ll know you’ve found the right gear, like I did with Olym­pus. The Olym­pus un­der­wa­ter hous­ing, in par­tic­u­lar, has changed how I shoot un­der­wa­ter. It al­lows me to swim around and change set­tings as I go, rather than hav­ing to worry about dis­man­tling the case to reach the but­tons.

While Lisa en­coun­ters many epic land­scapes on her trav­els, she says it’s the lit­tle things that ac­tu­ally in­ter­est and in­trigue her the most vis­ually.

“It’s the de­tails of na­ture that in­spire my pho­tog­ra­phy. Pat­terns hid­den within a land­scape, move­ment in wa­ter and colour­ful skies. I be­lieve pho­tog­ra­phy is as much about see­ing as it is cap­tur­ing, and this is some­thing that I love teach­ing on my photo tours and on The Wan­der­ing Lens Web­site. Pho­tog­ra­phy re­ally helps to open our eyes to the world around us and all the tiny, lit­tle mo­ments that ex­ist within a sin­gle scene.”


Lisa Michele Burns with her Olym­pus OM-D E-M1 Mark II in a PT-EP14 hous­ing

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