Using a camera to capture a close up of a super fast, high powered car as it thunders around a race track is not a skill for the faint-hearted. Dylan Miazek positively thrives in this adrenalin charged arena – and his stunning photos are the proof of his creative genius behind the lens…
What first caused you to develop an interest in photography?
I have always loved photography and decided to study it, making it my profession about 5 years ago. At the same time, my girlfriend Jess started to develop her skills, studied graphic design and now specialises in pet portraits.
I strongly believe that as a professional photographer, you need to keep developing your skills and keep up with new technology.
What training/on the job experience have you had that’s helped you develop your skills as a photographer?
Most of my training has happened through workshops and courses by David Hobby and Joe McNally. I’m inspired by their skills, which not only cover weddings or portraits, but allow me to branch into many other fields. I’ve also taken courses with Scott Kelby, who is a famous photographer and an inspiring teacher.
Like most photographers, I’ve learned a lot by trial and error. Almost all the books I read are material on photography techniques, and I follow many teaching blogs of well known photographers and teachers. I relish having my work honestly critiqued and strive to improve myself to provide my clients with memorable, artistic and exciting photography.
Being thrown into the deep end at many motorsports events has also taught me to work under pressure. In fact, I prefer to work this way now.
What are some of your favourite subjects to shoot?
Without reservation, I can honestly say that my passion lies with cars and races. Being an automotive enthusiast makes every shoot a special treat for me – and something I never seem to get tired off.
I love getting into the thick of it, capturing the action and emotions that happen on a race track. I also love the challenge of photographing something so fast, the adrenalin rush that goes along with being within a metre or so of such rapidly moving and sometimes out of control cars. I’m always looking forward to the next big race.
I also like to shoot people and have been building my portrait portfolio of late. Shooting portraits really lets me pay close attention to every detail before I take a photograph, composing the story of the individual personality of the subject.
What do you feel are the most important elements in capturing a great shot?
Without question, it is the light. It really is important to understand how light affects your subject. However beautiful your subject, how stunning your landscape or exciting the action is you want to capture, if the lighting is not right, a photo can become boring, a person’s face looks flat and the photo might not even able to be ‘rescued’ by somebody with excellent Photoshop skills.
The next thing would be the subject itself. Without an interesting subject, you won’t have an interesting photo – it can be that simple.
I also pay a lot of attention to the composition of my work. Composition can draw you into a photo and focus your eye on a single element or one element after another, tell a story, or show the personality of a subject.
What camera gear would you never be without on a shoot?
That depends on what I’m shooting. For motorsports, I wouldn’t leave home without my Sigma 70 – 200 mm f/2.8 lens; my Nikon D300 and battery grip are also a must, due to the high frame rate and ergonomics.
When shooting portraits, my ‘go to’ camera and lens combo are a Nikon D300 and a Nikon 85 mm f/1.8. However, I couldn’t shoot portraits without my Nikon flashes and 72 cm softbox.
What’s the most interesting, unusual or exciting thing you’ve ever had to photograph?
The most exciting thing would have been the ‘Powercruise’ at Eastern Creek Raceway. Having media credentials and being able to get close to some of the fastest, loudest and most powerful cars in the country was an amazing experience.
How important is the editing process to you in order to produce just the right image?
With motorsport photography, most of the work is done with the camera, and I only apply little tweaks like sharpening, colour profiles, cropping and contrast adjustments to the image in Adobe Lightroom.
When it comes to portrait photography, there is quite a bit more processing involved, such as contrast, saturation adjustments, cloning, selective sharpening and selective white balance. We calculate that if we spend 8 hours at a wedding, then we will have to spend about double that amount of time in front of the computer afterwards.
Where would you like to see your photography taking you over the next few years?
Over the next few years, I would love to travel around Europe, take photos of the amazing history and different cultures. I also want to shoot motorsports full-time, and I’m trying to steer my business in that direction.
If people would like to commission you for some work, how do they go about this?
I also have a Facebook page through which people can follow my work and news:
Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was published in issue 78 of Port Macquarie Focus