Mikkel Beiter is a self-taught travel photographer from Copenhagen, Denmark who we recently discovered when we saw one of his photographs from Norway shortlisted for The Sony World Photography Awards. We immediately began obsessing over his wanderlust invoking Instagram feed, and wanted to learn more about Beiter’s love for photography and how that journey began.
He first picked up a DSLR camera in 2007 and over the years through trial and error, and two years as a nightlife photographer in Copenhagen, he has honed the craft. A brief stint away from the camera in 2013 was followed by a two month volunteer project in Botswana, Africa focusing on wildlife and environmental conservation. This experience gave Beiter ample opportunity to focus on what would become his favorite photography genres: travel, landscapes, and wildlife.
Though he has traveled to Namibia, the Caribbean, Tanzania, and New Zealand over the years, it wasn’t until 2016 when a trip to Lofoten, Norway sparked his obsession with photography. In the harsh Arctic climate, he found himself experimenting with filters, tripods, and long exposures, pushing himself out of his photography comfort zone, which made him eager to keep shooting and learning. So perhaps it is only fitting that his second trip to Lofoten would result in the beautiful photograph that has been recognized by The Sony World Photography Awards. Like learning, this honor has pushed Beiter’s inspiration in making his passion a career.
We asked Mikkel about the photo, his trip, and what attracts him to photography.
Being shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards is a wonderful achievement. Did you have a good feeling about the photo before you submitted it to the contest?
It’s a huge milestone. I’ve always had a great feeling about this photo, I knew I caught a special moment when I took the photo but I had no idea it would reach so far in this competition.
What is the story behind the photo? It just seems everything came together perfectly for the capture.
I took this photo during a morning walk around Sakrisøy in Lofoten, Norway. Here, there are a lot of classic spots when it comes to photography and my photo with the yellow cabin and the triangle shaped mountain is one of the classic locations. But I caught something special I think, as we had some fresh snow during the night and it covered the mountain perfectly. You can actually see how crisp the snow is when looking at the photo. Combining this fresh snow with a white to grey cloud covered sky made everything pop in the photo. The mountain stands out, the yellow cabin does as well, perfect contrasts! What makes it even more special is of course the triangle shape of the roof and the the mountain behind it, coming together in perfect alignment. Also, I took this photo handheld.
What was it that drew you back to Arctic Norway?
This was my second visit to Lofoten in Northern Norway. This time I went with an old school buddy and our goal was actually to see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating with us during the trip and we only managed to see some faint aurora lasting just 20 minutes. Beside that it was a fantastic trip. I got to show my friend around the archipelago and he realized quite quickly why I really love Lofoten, its fjords, mountains and the small communities scattered around with small red cabins.
What is your favorite aspect of travel photography?
It’s peaceful to be out in the field with your camera and this is one of the things I enjoy most about photography. I’ve always been an outdoor person and combining that love for nature with photography is just the perfect match! One thing that really attracts me about photography is that you are actually collecting memories, stories, or situations, either for yourself or others. I really enjoy to travel and sharing the beauty of the world with people from my perspective.
You have a pretty impressive portfolio of images. Have you traveled to many countries?
My passion for photography and travel didn’t really exist before in 2016 and having a full-time job on the side limits you a bit when it comes to travel, so I have not visited as many countries as I would like. But I am sure that will change in the coming years! So far I’ve been to the following countries with photography being the main objective: Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Germany, Italy, and Austria.
As far as travel and photography go, what is your next move?
That’s a hard question. I’m not really sure what my next move is. I don’t earn anything on my photography so I would probably continue as it is now, where I have a full-time job and then go and travel with my camera during my holidays. I hope I can make photography a full-time career one day, picking up assignments around the world.
It’s easy to see that Beiter has the eye and the skill set to be a successful travel photographer. We look forward to following his journey and seeing the beauty of nature through his lens.