How is it going, everyone? My name is Jan Dancak, a Czech photographer based in North Iceland. My main passion has always been landscape and adventure photography.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been running around the mountains, and as soon as I got my first camera, a Canon 7D, I instantly fell in love with the process of capturing and sharing the moment with others.
Currently, I am turning my passion for photography into a full-time job. There is so much to learn, and it is as difficult as everyone says it is, but I am loving it!
I mainly specialize in creating online media content for local businesses in the tourism field, and although the outdoors is my main source of inspiration, I consider myself an all-around image shooter.
I love learning new skills and troubleshooting, and that’s why I have also been enjoying assignments on products or architectural photography.
Main Gear Talk
To be honest with you, I’m not a big gear head. For me, it’s always been just about reliability and simplicity. I guess that’s why I still shoot on my Canon 5D MK IV, which does everything I need. I have always been a proponent of working with what you have and not falling into a trap of chasing the latest tech.
It’s good to keep in mind that the best gear doesn’t always get you the best photo. That being said, I am beginning to get into videography, and that’s where I’m starting to see a possibility of switching or getting a second body dedicated only to video.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – as I mentioned, this is the camera body I’ve been using for a while now. I’ve previously owned the Mark II and the Mark III, and they never disappointed. It’s not as light or as compact as one would sometimes wish, but the tank is very reliable.
Canon 17-40mm f/4 – this is perhaps the lens that I have owned for the longest period, and it has now shot thousands of images. When I know that the action will be close or when I find myself on a narrow mountain ridge, this lens is my go-to.
Canon 24-70mm f2.8L – ever since picking up this lens for the first time, I could understand the hype around it. Despite its weight, it is such a great versatile lens and usually the one I choose to bring along if I want to keep things simple.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 – for any action or landscape, it’s a must-have for me.
Tamron 70-300mm f/4 – thanks to its size and weight, this long lens is one I always pack for skiing or hiking.
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 – my favourite wide lens for shooting auroras.
Canon 50mm f/1.8 – there have been many times when I have asked myself if I still need to have this lens in the bag after not using it for weeks. Then there is always that one day when I get creative or challenge myself that I am glad that I have it, always stoked with the outcome.
Hardware & Software
I mainly use Lightroom and then Photoshop if an image needs a little bit more love to remove people or unwanted things like powerlines. I typically use my own presets in Lightroom, and I will often create a different or specific preset for an individual shoot.
Davinci Resolve is something that I am beginning to work on with the video. After trying a few different programs, this is the software I will most likely stick with for a while as I find the user interface and workflow to be better than some of the competition. The number of features can be a bit overwhelming at first as it is for professional use.
While writing this, I am sitting in my van surrounded by different outdoor gear, scratching my head over what people might find interesting and slowly realising that this could take a while. But you know what?
A phone is a great tool that everyone has an access to, and the technology of these devices has improved so much over the years that this is something literally anyone getting into photography or filmmaking can use as their primary easy-to-use camera without breaking a bank to capture their adventures.
I have my iPhone 11 that I use to shoot things for Instagram reels and stories. I also use it to capture moments I know are only for my own person where I don’t need a professional camera.
Photography is a never-ending process of learning, and I think that it is so easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of content and information online.
Remember, there is always going to be someone better than you and every year, there’ll be a new piece of tech that you don’t have. That’s why I think that it is great to be inspired by others and educated in what’s new, but spend even more time just enjoying the process and focusing on your own progress.
Most importantly, just have fun with it!