Creating a local rotation-curation Twitter account in 2012 led me to connect with so many people (both locally and globally!) with a shared community passion for our beautiful area of Yorkshire. One of the fellow tweeters that caught my eye was local photographer @DaveZ_uk who shares his wonderful and breathtaking shots of the local area daily on social media. I began following Dave’s Twitter account immediately and spent weeks admiring his work. Feeling rather cheeky I contacted him late last year to ask if I was able to use some of his photography on my community website and he’s been most helpful. Over the last nine months Dave and I have become friends. He’s a lovely, genuine person with a fantastic talent and it’s because of this special talent that I wanted him to be a part of my new blog series ‘Local Folk-Us’
‘Dave Z Photo’ is Bradford resident Dave Zdanowicz. He’s a local photographer whose stunning photography of Yorkshire landscapes have left viewers breathless due to them encapsulating the beauty and dramatic lighting of our local area. His unique and iconic photographs of the Worth Valley, the Pennine Moors and other stunning landscapes of West Yorkshire have often gone viral across social media, and his 56K Twitter following and engaging Facebook page document just how popular his photographs have become, and just how hard he has worked to achieve his photography skills. I think his images really capture the beauty of Yorkshire’s landscapes, proving to his followers that Yorkshire really is a fabulous place to live, work and play.
I feel very lucky to have interviewed Dave about his life, work and inspiration. Take a read below for a Local Folk-Us on the man behind Dave Z Photography.
Photography is clearly a passion of yours, tell us more about when you first become interested in taking photographs
I became interested in photography through a number of influences. I remember downloading Instagram on my iPhone and that was the first thing that created a spark in looking for different kinds of shots and it also opened the world to viewing other photographer’s work. I purchased my first DSLR camera in July 2013 from one of my close friends. He was upgrading and offered me his old camera at a good rate. I’m a sucker for a bargain so I couldn’t really say no! I’ve not looked back since and I’ve tried to develop skills in different areas of photography. My dad is also a keen photographer too so I’ve picked his brain a few hundred times for tips!
What’s the best thing about living in Yorkshire?
I’m going to have to cheat here and give you a few answers.
The landscapes and scenery. I’ve visited a lot of places around the country but Yorkshire definitely has some of the best views I’ve ever seen. Fountains Abbey, Staithes, Whitby, Haworth. So many great places to visit!
The people: Not much more I need to say about that. Yorkshire folk are a class above.
What are your biggest achievements and/or proudest moments?
I’ve been lucky enough to experience some great achievements in my life. I’d probably say my best are:
The birth of my son Jack. Definitely a moment I’ll never forget. It completely changed the way I view life.
Previously, I was part of a band called Accolade and we played a music festival in Rome to over 20,000 people. It was an inspiring moment and a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.
My biggest photography achievements so far have been winning the BBC Countryfile competition, being featured on many occasions on the TV weather reports and also Canon also published a feature on me on their website, which was amazing as it something they rarely do with photographers!
Can you describe a typical day in your life for us?
My day-to-day life is pretty standard really! (and that is over egging it). I get up at around 6:30am, I currently work in a secondary school as a Performing Arts Technician. So luckily many of my daily tasks are things I have interest in; Photography, video and music! I finish work at 4pm and then it’s home to spend time with my son Jack and then often photograph the local sunsets and landscapes and upload onto my social media channels and blog.
Are you interested in any other art forms? Tell us about your hobbies, do they inspire your photography?
I absolutely LOVE music. It’s been a really big part of my life. I’ve always been interested in writing and recording songs and have been lucky enough to play in a good band and experience some great live shows too. Recently I’ve focused on the production side of music and helped a local Folk/Pop band called ‘The Halstead Clan’ record their first 2 EPs.
My other hobbies are football. I enjoy playing and watching and support my local team.. Manchester United!
What are your ambitions in life?
I guess the biggest ambition would be to earn a living from photography full-time. I really want to master various techniques and become one of the best photographers in the UK. It would be great to travel at some point too, there are so many amazing places I’d love to photograph.
What advice would you give any budding photographer?
The best advice would be to go out and take LOTS of shots. just practice. its the best way to learn. I put my work on online forums for critique when I started out and the feedback was really valuable. Use the tried old tested formulas. E.g Rule of thirds, leading lines, depth of field etc. They all add up to make a great shot.
Here are my top tips:
• Use a tripod. It’s good for slowing down the process and giving you extra time to think about the correct frame for a shot.
• Experiment with different settings and get to know your camera. • Find other photographers you admire and study their shots.
• Use the classic tricks of the trade. Rule of thirds and leading lines.
• Look after your equipment – buy a good lens cleaner and camera bag.
• Make sure your equipment is insured.
• Join a photography forum or Facebook group. It’s great to be inspired by other people with the same hobby.
• Get out and take photos! It’s the only way to learn.
Find a photographer you like and study the way they frame their shots.
Finally,you have many wonderful photographs, which are your five favourite shots, and why?
This answer would probably change day by day. But here are my five current favourites!
1. The road to Edale (Mam Tor) This was taken on top of Mam Tor in the Peak District. I love the view from the top of this hill it’s absolutely breathtaking. The road is just perfect and the fact the sun sets at the end of it was the icing on the cake. I burnt a fair few calories getting up the hill and it nearly killed me off!
2. Behind the tree (Malham) This was a really magical morning for photography. The entire village of Malham was under light cloud. It muted the sun which gave a really great effect.
3. Hebden Bridge. This is a shot I’ve always wanted to get with the correct lighting. The mill is really picturesque and I love the different colour windows and the reflection from the canal.
4. Harold Park Winter. This is one of my favourite spots to take photographs, I live across the road from the location so it’s great spot to nip out and practice new techniques. This shot was taken in winter and the reflection on the pond was perfect.
5. Welcome to Yorkshire. The guy on the hill with his arms out is my Dad. I just love the way the sun was peeping over the hill and the great views in the distance. I named this photo ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’.
Special thanks to Dave for taking part in this new project! If you like what you see you can join his social media fan base by following his official Twitter account, like his Facebook page and also visit his brand new website where you can also purchase both digital files and prints of his fabulous images!