About Jan – Land Ocean Images

120709_1822_JanA by Jan Abadschieff.

Bungle Bungle National Park, Western Australia

(also at www.behance.net/Abadschieff )

As a freelance landscape and underwater photographer for over 35 years, my passion for both photography and nature started early in life.

I was born and raised in Munich, Germany. At the age of 12 my family moved to a small town near Heidelberg and soon after I became introduced to the “secrets of the darkroom” when I signed up for a photography course at school. I was then hooked and spent all my spare time and money on cameras, lenses, film material and my darkroom that I had installed at home. I started working on the weekends as a freelance photographer for local newspapers and did freelance work for local councils and companies. In those days I primarily shot Black & White film at the request of the newspapers, however I preferred it as it allowed me to have full control over the process from film development to printing.

During my University studies in Mechanical Engineering, I also began to learn scuba diving and attained several instructor certifications. It was then that I began to pursue underwater photography. My scuba instructor experience as well as my engineering background helped me to advance in the challenging field of underwater photography.

Over the years I have won many awards in international photo competitions and live shootouts taking place in Australia, Palau, Indonesia, Maldives, Germany, etc. In addition I conducted many underwater photo workshops and multi-media presentations.

I have also participated in many special photo assignments including: 

  • photographing the production of a German TV documentary on Galapagos in 1998
  • contributing to the “24 Hours Beneath A Rainbow Sea” project in 1999 on the Maledives as one of the principal photographers of the team
  • in 2000, photographing the Bob Talbot production of the IMAX movie “OceanMen” and publishing many articles about it in various magazines in Europe, Asia and America. 

I have contributed ocean-related articles and images to many dive and travel magazines, including: Asian Geographic, tauchen, AsianDiver, DIVER (USA&Canada), Divemaster, dive.at, tek990, ScubaDiver AustralAsia, etc.  Additionally my images have been published in books, calendars, advertising brochures and magazines ads.

In 2006 I transitioned to digital and started to focus more on photography outside the water, in particular on landscape and panorama photography. To create panorama images I use a multi-shot technique with high-end digital cameras and post-processing on Mac computers. This allows the creation of extremely detailed images which can produce very large-sized prints (over 3 meters wide). My goal is to recreate the same experience of when I took the photograph – so when the viewer walks up and stands close and can see the huge panoramic scale and fine detail – they feel they are there.

I sometimes miss the good old darkroom days, however I realise that the years of experience with film photography prove to be very valuable also in the digital world. Especially because with film you need to “get it right” in the camera from the start. I prefer to digitally optimise a good photo rather than trying to improve an average one in Photoshop. My use of Photoshop is very limited and instead I focus on adjusting colour, tone and other key parameters in the raw conversion process. I primarily use Adobe Lightroom to tune the image in a way that it best resembles the experience of when I took the photograph, this includes occasionally the usage of HDR functionality.

I currently live in Seattle, USA with my wife Karen.