My name is Mikael Svensson. I live with my family in the city of Mölndal, just outside Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast. I have been working as a landscape and nature photographer for almost 20 years, sometimes part-time but most of the time as a full-time photographer.
My passion for nature and outdoor life started when I returned as an adult to a mountain area that I used to visit with my parents many years ago. I began to work at the nearby mountain hotel doing all sorts of things. In our spare time, my friends and I made hiking or skiing trips and just enjoyed the great outdoors. I was fascinated by the colors, landscape and ever-changing light, and I wanted a camera to document what we experienced on our trips. And this was a long time before smartphones existed. Another thing that led me to my career choice was that the guide at the hotel was an excellent photographer, and he used to have a slideshow for the tourists every Friday night. I don’t know how many times I saw that slideshow. The Vangelis soundtrack for the movie 1492, together with his images, got me stuck, and my interest for photography grew even bigger. I said to myself – this is what I would like to do! After 10 years of working at the mountain hotel, I returned to my hometown and continued my career as a photographer.
Since then, I have done 10 books in cooperation with different writers. Working together with a writer and a designer on book projects is really fun, especially because it’s nice to collaborate with someone in an otherwise lonely work. The first book was about a river in my neighborhood and came out in 2007, my latest book was about my hometown and was published at end of 2021. The books between have been about other different rivers, Sweden’s largest lake and a recreational area outside Gothenburg, among other subjects. I’m also submitting images for stock agencies and for Fine Art Prints/Posters publishers.
Besides my work as a photographer, I’m really enjoying to do some sports activities. I love to do trail running, ultra running, orienteering, mountain biking and in the wintertime, I’ll do more of cross country skiing, especially skate technique. We have got an indoor arena for cross country skiing in Gothenburg, so it’s possible to train all year round. Orienteering in the forest is also a good way to find new locations to visit afterwards with my camera equipment. Doing this training keeps me fit for my work, and it’s always nice to have a break from long post-processing sessions in front of the computer.
Over the years, I have been using lots of different camera models. I used Nikon film cameras before the era of DSLR began. At the end of the year 2004, I bought my first digital camera, a Fujifilm Finepix S2 Pro, which was based on a Nikon F80, and I, therefore, could I use my Nikon lenses with it. Since then, I have used what feels like almost every Nikon DSLR model released on the market; Nikon D2X, Nikon D200, Nikon D300, Nikon D3, Nikon D3x, Nikon D800, Nikon D800E, Nikon D810, Nikon D850 and finally, Nikon Z6. I still have my D850 body, and it now serves as my second body. It’s a bit worn, but It’s still an amazing camera even though it’s 5 years old. It’s built like a tank and the problem is that it almost weighs like one. I use the Nikon D850 mostly with the Nikon 20mm 1.8 lens attached. That combo delivers really nice sunstars images!
The reason that led me on the Olympus/OM System’s way was that I was looking for a lighter system for use when I’m out cycling, skiing or hiking in the mountains. At first, the idea was that the Olympus system would be a complement to my old full-frame camera. I contacted Olympus Sweden during the summer of 2020 and got a chance to try an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera body together with the all-purpose zoom lens M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4 IS PRO for a couple of weeks. I got hooked on the camera system, and it’s the one I have used the most since.
The weather protection available on the professional camera bodies and lenses is something I value highly. Last year I visited the island of the Blå Jungfrun “Blue Virgin” for a reportage job. During the second day, a heavy rainstorm drove in and lasted for a few hours. Despite this, I carried on taking pictures during a hike around the island. I used the two different camera bodies in parallel.
The Olympus camera felt very safe and I was not the least bit worried that it would crash. However, my Nikon D850 was not so happy about the rain and moisture.
After a couple of hours in the wet, it stopped working while my Olympus continued to deliver pictures. For such assignments, it is invaluable to have a system that you can trust 100%.
Something I appreciate is the “community” among Olympus photographers and everyone, plus digital events (although many may have their cause in recent times pandemic) from Olympus US, UK and Sweden. You always catch something new or get new inspiration. This is something I have not directly experienced from the bigger camera brands.
Since then, OM Systems released their OM-1 camera, and I have sold my Mark III and bought the OM-1. As a frequent high-res shooter, I’m really happy that it is so much faster than previous models. The viewfinder of the new camera has also been much improved. My current lenses are the 7-14mm, 12-100mm, 20mm, 60mm macro, 40-150mm, and the versatile 8-25mm, my most used lens.
When I’m out and photographing, I’m always looking for minimalistic, visually appealing images with contrasts, lines and shapes. It’s also important to look for both those wide landscapes together with detail shots to be able to tell a story about the place. The winning formula is all about time. In the end, the perfect light comes, the desired moment. It is not luck or chance that decides, but devotion. I’ll try to revisit most of my places in different light and seasons, and the more you’re out – the luckier you’ll get.
I often place myself in my images to give them an extra dimension and a scale – The little human in the big landscape. Every day I’m out and photographing, I choose one of my images and show that on my webpage and make it available for customers ordering prints.
I’m using Lightroom Classic for my post-processing and organizing and have been doing it since I started with my first DSLR at the end of 2003. As you can understand, there has been quite a number of images over the years. My Lightroom catalog contains at the moment about 1610000(!) images, so it’s starting to get a bit sluggish, but it’s still working fine. I wish I had more time to go through the catalog and delete some images but…
Another software I occasionally use is DXO Pure Raw – it has some remarkable noise removal, and I hope that OM-1 files soon will be supported.
I use 4 Drobo units for my storage solution and find them very useful. If a hard drive on a unit is running low on space, you’ll just replace it with a bigger drive.