Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Photography Podcast. Today I am sharing a conversation I had with one of the best aurora chasers out there!
Adrien Mauduit is a 33-year-old Science engineer, professional photographer, cinematographer as well as a science author. Born in France in 1989, he has always been passionate about nature, space, and the night sky. After completing his M. Sc. in Canada, he moved to Denmark to teach Science and Art. It is also where he encountered his first aurora.
Adrien found unconditional and unequivocal love for the mesmerizing phenomenon and bought his first camera to try and capture it. Since then, he’s traveled to many countries within the auroral zone like Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland in search of the elusive Green Lady. Today, Adrien made his former hobby into a full-time job-based in Arctic Norway, where he permanently resides.
He now works relentlessly to produce innovative and educational media of our world under the night sky. Thanks to his scientific and artistic pedigree, Adrien always strives to bring the best quality into his work. His many years of experience chasing the aurora under harsh and inhospitable conditions allowed him to get worldwide recognition. Adrien’s aurora and milky way still shots are particularly well known but his innovative Astro-timelapse sequences made him a pioneer in the nighttime documentary industry over recent years.
Don't forget to leave a review on the podcast if you enjoy this conversation. It would help us to get found and help to inspire other photographers.
Adrien Mauduit 0:00 You know, it's like oh my gosh it's useless to start now. No it's not. And if it brings something for you other than making money then definitely do it because for me that brings photography nice guy brings joy for me being alone with the elements when there's no sound outside no winds you know, you have the perfect pristine sky with I don't know, I would imagine a nice lake or a nice you know, still see where you get the reflection of the moon or the reflection of stars. Oh my goodness, there's no feeling beating that I think
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 0:44 Hey, wicked hunters Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share artists journey and how they found hope, purpose and happiness through their passion in photography. And today, I have a very special guest. I came across his work back in clubhouse a thing and he is a legend. When it comes to capturing the night sky. You know, the Aurora is and the Milky Way's In fact, I think he was the very his work was the very first photo that I saw the two in one frame as just that just blew me away. So
Adrian, how's it going? I think you're tuning in from Norway. Right? Are you staying in Lofoten?
Adrien Mauduit 1:28 Hey, good morning for me. Yeah, so I am talking to you from Arctic Norway. And right now is 9am. So just waking up from from a short night after chase of Aurora and but I'm so delighted, you know, to wake up early and to be talking to you and connecting with you here. i We have we met through through clubhouse during the pandemic. And I think that was, you know, a great way to really connect with people that maybe you might have missed out on other platforms. And you know, whose work are just, oh my gosh, I mean, I mean, your work as well is just so tremendous. And I'm so happy I found you. And so that we connect, but
yeah, so you talked about Milky Way and Aurora. And actually now is the good time to see those two phenomena together. It is really the the only time of year where you can get the two lined up like this. We can expand a bit more on that afterwards if you want. But, uh, yeah, I'm so happy to be here. Thank
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 2:37 you for having me. That's awesome. Yeah, we're just gonna write right away straight off the bat giving a cliffhanger. So if you stay till the end, you will learn how to capture the real QA and the Aurora. That's I love it. But yeah, man, like I come across your photo, I come across you first of course, it's you came to the clubhouse, go through your photos, and it's just insane. You know, I don't, I don't think I've ever seen anyone dedicated to shoot, you know, Aurora, as much as you do. And it's just absolutely incredible. And one of the my favourite photos was when there's the reindeer and Aurora on the background, but we'll talk a little bit more about that a little bit later. Before we get, you know, we get to the nice and interesting part. I'd like you to introduce yourself and you know, share, share to the audience who you are. And for those who haven't come across yet. Where is the passion of chasing this, you know, Aurora rose and the night sky came from because we all know people like their sleeps and their rest, right? And you just say, you know, you had a short night to be here, but you don't look tired at all. So, so yeah, let us know.
Adrien Mauduit 3:59 Sorry, you need to zoom in and look at my eyes, if you can see right there ready to read. But yeah, so who am I? So I am a 33 year old photographer from France. So originally, I'm French. But I actually haven't lived in France in Well, between, I would say 10 and 15 years. So it's been quite a long time. You know, my family is back in France, but I've been travelling and and I actually lived in several other countries. I've lived in, in Canada, Denmark, and now living in Norway. So you know, I've done a lot of a lot of travelling in different different countries. And so I live off of my photography I've been living off of my photography for about I would, I would say since 2017. So it's still quite recent. If you if you say so before that time it was more of a hobby that I picked up when I was Living in Denmark, I was working as a teacher, because originally I'm not a photographer. Like I haven't really, you know, been educated as a photographer at university. I was originally in the science departments. And so I earned a master's degree in environmental sciences. Which master degree thesis I finished in Canada, in Alberta actually, were funny enough, you could see Aurora, but back then I was just, you know, not educated enough. I mean, I, I knew about Aurora and and, you know, that was kind of like this dream to see Aurora, but I never really got to realise this dream. And, you know, so I, I really got the first connection with Aurora and astrophotography. When I was in Denmark, believe it or not, this is what started my photography journey, actually. So I changed career because of this one experience that I had in, in, in Denmark. So let me go back to it just just very briefly. So I was working at a school in Denmark and like a boarding school, and one of the one of the teachers around the the teachers lounge table. We were talking about, you know, our biggest dreams and, you know, our bucket list items. And I mentioned that I wanted to see the aurora, you know, so bad. And, you know, in my head, I thought about going to Iceland, going to Canada, Alaska, you know, very far away. Polar locations. Not really like, you know, I wouldn't even even imagine you could even see the aurora from so far south. And yet that teacher, that colleague told me, Oh, yeah, you know, I spent my nights because he was the cadet teacher. So he's used to spend his nights on the hills. And he told me, yeah, every once in a while, we get a display of auroras, you know, dipping down to the lower latitudes. And I was like, No way. You must be, you must be kidding me right now. No, no, no. So. So after watching, you know, several alert websites and everything, there was one night where there was a possibility. So I went to the beach, waited maybe for like five hours. He had, you know, he had said, you know, keep a nice, clear view towards the north have clear skies, no moon, if possible. And then wait. So I did. And, you know, I waited for six hours in the cold, didn't see anything. And I was like, No, you know, he must have been kidding me. You know, it must have been a joke. And on my way back to the car, I was, I still had the clear view towards the north, but I was just facing away from the beach. And the tree line in front of me, you know, I was just getting to the carpark the tree line in front of me just lit up. And, you know, in my head was like, well, there could be several things here at like, I don't know, like the, you know, a boat from you know, there were there weren't any cars or any roads. I was like, couldn't be a car. Could be like a big boat. Could be the moon could be I don't know. But sure enough, you know, I turned back to to check what it was an end. Oh, my goodness, this was this was the very first peek at the Aurora. And even though it's not as bright and as colourful as what I get now in Northern Norway above head, oh, my goodness, that was so out of this world, like something you had never seen. And when, you know,
I mean, I've been brought up in the city. But you know, I've been fortunate enough to have a summer house in the countryside. So I know what normal and polluted or at least not that much light polluted. nightscape looks like, you know, the amount of light coming from this phenomenon is something that is completely stranger to like, anything else, you know, it's just so, so powerful. I mean, it's just like these pillars that sit on the northern horizon and lighting up the whole landscape. Almost casting a shadow on the ground is something otherworldly and that it's undescribable if you've never seen it, and so ever since, you know, ever since that experience, that adrenaline kick that comes when your aura explodes and I'm sure you can relate. It's just yeah, it's just what what you know, starting to patch started what started the passion about the Aurora and ever since I actually picked up my first camera the next day because I just wanted to capture it. You know? I've already captured so bad, but I was, you know, didn't know anything about photography. So I learned myself through YouTube tutorials, you know, being the field trials and errors. And I actually switched jobs because this was just you know, chasing, you're chasing the night sky become became a passion basically.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 10:22 That yeah, like, it's really hard to explain that feeling right when you for when you see the aurora, whether it's the first time or you know, however many times but I'd like you to try. How does that feeling? You know, for the audience never feel you who never seen it? Before? How does it feel to be able to be in this pristine dark sky? Seeing the sky dancing?
Adrien Mauduit 10:56 So, first, for the audience, I think, you know, it's good to have, that's why I mentioned the dark sky reference, you know, knowing what, sort of like a typical dark sky looks like, you know, not the sky of you know, of a city, but being just maybe just outside of a city already, you know, it's I know, it's probably a bit light polluted. But it just gives you an idea of the amount of light of natural light, I would say, that's coming from the nice guy, you know, it's, it's not a lot, but it's still a little bit. So you can sort of make out a few things in the landscape, you know, at least in black and white. So, it's good to have a reference. And once you do, you, I think you can appreciate even more, how much how much brightness and how much light comes from this phenomenon. I mean, it's just particles bombarding the atmosphere, causing it to, to light up basically to to really produce light dancing light, just like a just like a neon light. Now, about the experience, I think, is just life changing. It just, it's groundbreaking, like it is something that unravels or that just how to describe it, it changes your view, I think on a lot of things, because again, that's, that's unlike anything you've ever seen. And one, when you have this connection to the dark sky, when you know what a dark, normal dark sky looks like, you know, it's not usual, you know, it's something that is almost alien, you know? So, it's just, personally I didn't, I didn't cry, maybe I shed a little tear. At the beginning, I just can't remember. But I know, you know, now that I've seen so many people react on the Aurora, we all have a different, a different reaction to the euro, some people cry some people just, you know, lay down, you know, they feel the need to lay down because not necessarily because it's overhead, but more because they it's almost like they feel the weight of this natural phenomenon. And they you know, they have no choice but to sit down or lay down and just appreciate almost almost like a I wouldn't say fear reaction, but you know, like, almost like, like a child when it's being grounded and like sits down and it just does nothing. That's the sort of like yeah, you just you're at a loss for words and some of the people just dance around shoutings you know, we all have I tend to be like this or I used to be like this actually more often, but not I'm taking photography and I'm alone I just try to enjoy the show. And just I think I just let my cameras run the time lapses I do a bit of real time filming, but I just watch all the time it's very important to also enjoy the show for yourself 100%
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 14:07 And you know it's one of the reason why I got into time lapse is because then I could take photo at the same time I could enjoy the scenery it's really nice that way but um, yeah, like so you know looking at your Instagram which is nights Night Night Lights films, you know it's just filled with this night shot right whether it's Aurora whether it's a Milky Way or meteor shower, so how often do you go out there and you know, chase this the night skies
Adrien Mauduit 14:43 Okay, so every time that I that is that we have clear skies because I shouldn't mention we're I'm in a part of the world. So I live full time in Arctic Norway. And who says gold says, you know, clouds and condensation and precipitation, obviously. And so, the the window, the windows of opportunity, I think, are quite short and small in Norway, because we're also close to the sea. And we, you know, we get the influence from the Gulf Stream and from the sea. And we have a lot of cloud entry and, and stuff like that. So whenever the sky is clear, I just go out even if the, the the award activity is, is quite low, because then I can do Milky Way Believe it or not, Aurora is a form of is a good form of light pollution, but it's still light pollution. So whenever you know you would have you would have to do anything deep sky or you know, just Milky Way, you need to make sure the award is at the lowest because otherwise it outshines everything that just how much light, you know, comes out of the Aurora. And funnily enough, last night, I was, you know, I started the evening shooting the Milky Way, but I needed to stop the time lapse, almost halfway through because the Aurora just suddenly got a bit brighter, and that's enough to burn the whole, the whole sky is just, you know, the highlights were just burnt in the Aurora to expose nicely for the Milky Way. So I need to reduce the shutter speed and start a new. So that's just the way it is you need to you can never know what your A does. And, and so yeah, but to come back to your question, basically. So I chased your aura, most likely you're up. I do a bit of milky way here in Norway, but it mostly Aurora, throughout the Aurora season, which here spans from anywhere from, I think late August to the start of April. And then the rest of the year, I do some other types of work. I usually travel the world to take some time lapses in real time sequences that I licence to production companies. So I do different type of work during the winter. And during the summer, which I like as well. Because there is a lot as opposed to, you know, being sitting in an office and and doing the same type, like repetitive work over and over again.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 17:12 sounds horrible job there. And I don't know, it's I know. Hopefully, you know, the listeners can hear the sarcasm in there. But yeah, like, yeah, man, that's awesome, right? It's just like, I think it's really good. One of the things that I love about travelling is that change. So I know exactly how, you know, giving that change can help your creativity and how much you you have to stay in love with what you do, right? Because I think it's important, otherwise, things just get stagnant. And yeah, so all of this Alright, do you mostly shoot them in Norway? Or do you go to other parts of the world to chase these orders as well?
Adrien Mauduit 18:03 So, yes, so I'm, you know, I decided to, to come to Norway, and to emigrate in Norway, because, or I should say, Northern Norway, because Norway is quite a long country from from south to north. So, you know, it almost, I always like to name Norway, because in my head, it's like the way to the North, in a way, you know, it's like it begins in the south, away from most of the Aurora, and then just make your way up north, you know, more than 1000 kilometres. And then you're there, you're at the polar circle, the Arctic Circle. And that's where you see most of the aurora in this zone of the world. So I decided to immigrate there, because obviously, this is the home of the Aurora. And we get a show. If it's clear, we get a shot every night, we get to see the aurora every single night, of course, in varying intensity and varying activity, but we still see the aurora every night if it's clear. But that being said, sometimes the Aurora dips way for the South. So when we have periods of increased what we call increased geomagnetic activity. So that's the the activity that's being created by the disturbances of the solar wind, and how the planet reacts to those disturbances. So that the consequences one of the consequences, the creation of the euro, obviously, but there are other consequences. But anyways, when this activity is higher, the best of the world activity actually migrates towards the equator. And how far how far towards the equator is dictated by many factors. So you can never really predict per se when that the best activity will end up in terms of location but And sometimes, you know, in the span of an hour, it can literally, it can literally travel, I would say, you know, five, between 500 and 1000 kilometres south. So obviously you can, it's not like you can take orbit by plane ticket, and just and just you know, last minute just fly to wherever you want. But I also travelled to other locations and other countries, for example, very often now as we're getting into more rural activity during the solar cycle, because we're arriving at a very interesting part of the solar cycle now, which is called the solar maximum, where the the, your activity is supposed to be more frequent. And more towards the equator as well. I tend to travel last year, I travelled several times to Finland and Sweden, for example. But I've chased your rora in Iceland and chased it in Canada. Afterwards, when I you know, I wanted to go back and see that for myself as well in Canada. And yes, we didn't Norway, Finland. And that's about it, I think, maybe, you know, nevermind, I chest a bit in the US as well. So several locations, I still have a few locations that I'd like to see. And especially that includes the the Southern Lights, never seen the southern lights. So being able to see the what we call the conjugate Aurora, because it's basically almost the same Aurora that's happening at the same time in the north in the South. I want to see it in the South as well. So southern southern hemisphere, obviously.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 21:39 Yeah, I mean, like those, this the South, the southern light is actually quite interesting. And I'm wondering what makes you want to see the Southern Lights, because they're, they almost look about the same compared to Northern Light in most cases.
Adrien Mauduit 21:58 So there, there are several things, it's actually a very interesting question. And I think we're getting a bit more into detail here with your aura. So like I said, you know, when we get those bursts of auras, or these bursts of activity, they're generally speaking, the overall I will look almost exactly the same in the South and in the north, because it's just the way the aura is created. The particles, you know, they just, they're just channelled towards the channel towards suppose, almost, you know, at the same time, quite actually add the same time. And with the same sort of properties, but there are still a few differences. It's not like a mirror, a perfect mirror, there are some differences. And actually, the what we call the world oval, which is it at any time, it's just all the war happening at one pole, it looks like a doughnut shape. And that is actually a bit more active in the South for some reason, it has to do with the way the, the magnetic field of the Earth is, is made. And so it's a bit stronger at the south. And so the southern oval is usually slightly more active, and you will see slightly, maybe more colourful or brighter or as for the same, you know, same global show. So that's one of the reasons and the second reason is, you know, you can see the award, the southern lights, you can see them in countries where, you know, have always been on my bucket list, like this mania and New Zealand, Australia, and maybe perhaps Antarctica as well, I know, you know, you'd have to travel quite far inland to see the Southern Lights in Antarctica. But still, it's just, I just want to see it for myself, you know, even if it's the same, that's the cool thing with your whare you know, you asked me I think at the beginning, we talked about change in our, our job. And the raw is the definition of change because it's never the same it just from one name to another, you know, changes from one even from one minute to another, it changes shape, colours and stuff like that, in this case. So that's what makes it so interesting. You know, not two times this is going to be the same and you never know what you're gonna get. So that's what's so exciting. About the Aurora.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 24:35 Yeah, no 100% I think, you know, like, when you shoot Aurora, even with the same exact composition, there's always there's always different right? But let's say for example, if you shoot the Milky Way, like you are chasing the composition, because you know, if you should at the same time, you know, or roughly about the same time at the same location. It looks exactly the same. So yeah, that's that's, it's really cool, but alright, that way, but um, Australia, I didn't think. I mean, I know when there is the storm is really high, you can kind of see it in Australia, but it's really, really hard to see in Australia and my right, like, I think Manaea would be the best chance, right? But in the mainland Australia, it's a little bit too far north to be able to be like pillars and stuff.
Adrien Mauduit 25:24 You'd be surprised, actually, I think to think it's Victoria in in Australia, they see Aurora much more often than then one would think. Because even when it's, you know, Tasmania in the Southern New Zealand, it's actually not that far. It's quite towards support, it's a, it would be the equivalent of, of like the Well, it depends across the states, obviously. But like, I couldn't give you an equivalent because the deal was crude, the, the oval is crooked. So it doesn't correspond to geographic latitude, unfortunately. So I couldn't give you a reference. But Tasmania in New Zealand, they're actually quite far towards the Aurora. And on very good shows, you know, they could see the aurora above head in certain Tasmania. And
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 26:24 so you're saying? So by the way, what Adrian was saying, it's like the oval where the Aurora is happening is not dial up, it's not exactly circular to the north or the south pole. So there is like a little bit oval. That's why they call it that makes sense, though, it's not a circle. So So what you're saying is that as menu and New Zealand is closer to the active part of the oval, is that what you're saying?
Adrien Mauduit 26:52 That's exactly what I'm saying. While you know, travelling to Australia does make a difference, you know, I mean, you were, you're getting further away from the oval. There, there, there is still like a, quite a large part in the southern, I think, eastern part southeast part of Australia, where it's, it's quite possible to see your whare you know, albeit on the horizon, but still, you know, quite quite often actually, they see the aura, and they don't need like a big, big storm to actually start seeing pillars on the horizon, believe it or not, so, it's, I think it's a it's been a misconception. You know, not being able to see the aurora or thinking you're could never have the natural attitude. But if you're, you know, if you get into liking the Aurora and trying to chase it and really trying to understand when it happens and why that happens. I think you'll understand why the Aurora happens way more often than you think and way closer to you than you think. So, you know, obviously the best shows are where you're under the Aurora, but if you're not under the Aurora, you might be surprised to know, the Aurora is not that far away from you, as you think well in Valley unfortunately. You need you need such a powerful story. But you know, so, you know, talking to some people in the world, they might not even know they could see the award at their place without having the need to travel so I think it's nice for them to know,
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 28:34 ya know, 100% I think most people the biggest the biggest problem or challenges that most people have is that the city lights right. You live in the city you can hardly see the stars to start with, let alone auroras you know, when it's when it's too far away from the from the source itself. But like, you know, like, I mean, I've seen some of your shots where it was full moon and you could see the aurora and you know, some of them are accompanied by a bright city lights and all that stuff. So yeah, like if you're really go far north, you could really see it even with you know, a light around your horizon. And so like man, like you take so many Aurora shots, right? And it's been just like crazy. You know, when I first met you and just like I do not know anyone who take more or photos than you do is just incredible. So
Unknown Speaker 29:35 out of those,
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 29:36 what is your let's say, most memorable moment that you've captured a with the Aurora
Adrien Mauduit 29:50 think you know when you when you take or photos when you take so much or photos and not I'm not saying that for? No I do. laughs so I don't know how just how many shots I've taken over my career so far. But I can tell you that a lot of shots and a lot of different sequences with a lot of different compositions and stuff like that. So I have a lot of favourite shots, per se, but I think the I think I'm hesitating right here, because you told me what you asked me the most memorable shot, correct? Yeah. So I think my most accomplished, accomplished shot was the reindeer that you, you mentioned. But to me, I mean, that's, that's a real accomplishment, because it's quite hard to take wildlife. If you're sharp wildlife, on, you know, in a night night photography altogether, regardless of whether there's a war or not, but it's very hard to take wildlife at night. But to me, I think the most memorable shot today should be I'm hesitating between two, actually, I think one is the Phoenix. It's, it's a picture that looks like a worthy war, it looks like a phoenix rising from the mountains. And that one was quite memorable, because that was one of those nights during the debt of what we call solar minimum, which is the lowest of solar activity. And for the audience, I remind the, I remind the audience that the sun is the source of the Aurora. So if you have low solar activity, you don't get a lot of auras. But at high latitudes, you still get, you know, the shows, even if the solar activity is, is low. And so that night, I remember that was a quite a warm night in November. Warm for me is about zero to five degrees Celsius, for the season, of course, but I think, for a lot of people, it's quite cold. And, you know, it was supposed to be cloudy, it was supposed to be it was supposed to be very low activity. And so I took my chances anyway, and I think it it's memorable for me, because, you know, it's like, all the elements are against you, you know, you go all against the odds, and you beat the odds going out in the field, you know, showing your persistence. Going anyways, you know, you know, you might not get anything, you might waste money, you might waste resources, time, you could have done something else you could have, I could have been more comfortable at home, you know, enjoying a meal. And yet, I said, No, I want to take my chances. And so I did, and I drove one hour to the fjords. And I hiked for about 30 minutes, the the, the, it was still cloudy, and they'll still be we're still super low in terms of activity. And then all of a sudden, everything cleared up magically. For some reason that I would, I could never, you know, I could never know, it, everything just lined up perfectly. And that's when, you know, the modal of photographers, you know, if you're not outside, you're not going to get anything, right, you need to be outside you need to be in the field to, to to get the shots otherwise, you know, you would never have known and that that that shot I think was represented that very, very well. And so everything cleared up. I set up my cameras and my my time lapses and actually that's that was one of those times where I actually set up the activity was so low that I shot at 20 sec next year, which it's you know a bit about photography, or night photography is the settings for you know, nice nice settings for Milky Way. Milky Way shots.
And, yeah, that was one of those nights where, you know, we weren't supposed to be to get a lot of Aurora so I set up the milk for Milky Way. And again, when all of a sudden the Aurora just came out out of nowhere and very rapidly just brightened the whole the whole landscape and I had to reduce from 20 seconds to one second exposure to give you an idea of how bright that over that overall was. And so I pointed the camera towards whether you were I was getting super bright and was expanding over the sky and So, of course, a split second, this, this, the avora took the shape of a giant bird, or if I called it the Phoenix afterwards, because it just reminded me of, you know, the rise of the Phoenix. And that I think that was the most unique shape that I've ever gotten in terms of Aurora. And the whole story behind the shot, I think, is what makes it so memorable. Of course, I've, I've got so many stories throughout my career that shot was in 2018. So since then, you know, there are a lot of shots and a lot of stories. But I was at the very start of my overall chasing career all at the start, but I think, I guess in Norway, and so to me, that's something that, you know, I'm always talking about is, is this story because it just represents so well, you know, the hardship that you have to go through the also against yourself, because you know, you want to stay out inside, you're nice and comfy. And there is this, this passion inside still, that tells you no, I'm going out anyways, I want to see if I get something. And that's, you know, when when you know that I think you truly like something is that you don't it doesn't matter what what is what is outside of this fashion. You just go for it. So yeah, that's, that's I think that's my most memorable shot today.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 36:38 That's cool. Yeah. I mean, that story is so inspiring. You know, I think too many of us rely so much on the weather forecasts. And I feel like I don't know, if you agree I, you know, like, for the audience who listen as well, I don't know if you guys agree, and I'd like to actually get your take on this. But I feel like the Instagram culture or the social media culture, change that mindset, you know, we started photography, because we enjoy the journey going out there capturing, you know, a moment that we may or may not have, we may or may not going to experience, right. But along the way, this, this instant gratification, changed that whole mindset. And it's no longer about the journey, but the adventure, it's about the photo, right? Ah, I need to make sure that the cloud is, you know, burning, or I need to make sure that the sky is clear that the Aurora is blowing up, and you know, all this stuff just to get more likes. And I love hearing that story, right? Because that's what photography is all about, like, I don't know, anyone who started photography, because they want more likes on Instagram, like, you know, once people started photography, because they just want to capture and enjoy the moment. But along the way, we cannot forget that. And so yeah, like, thanks for sharing that man. Like, I, I know that feeling when you go against all the odds and the odds, just like, you know, beat itself and give you such an incredible what they call it. Like, reward right to remember by and it's not only it's not even about the photo, like you said, it's about that feeling of. So that's cool.
Adrien Mauduit 38:35 I think it's, it's the whole package really, that comes with the photo. And funnily enough, I think you mentioned you just mentioned, you know, some people might start photography for because of Instagram and to get more likes, but I think they burn out quite easily and they get out of the this interest. Because they the purpose is quite shallow, you know, they do it as repetitive work or you know, as a job. And, you know, the minute it starts feeling like a job, like you have to go out to get content and, and to shoot for someone else. You don't shoot for yourself anymore. And I think that's where the passion disappears. And so, I think you mentioned it, it's probably one of the, the other pieces of advice I could give the audience's that. Try to avoid feeling like you have to post this photo you have to take this photo to post on social media. Take it for yourself first and keep it this way. Otherwise, yeah, the passion disappears and you don't, you don't want to, you know, you don't feel like you. You really want it comes from you, you know you there's this external desire to go outside and it's just not you. So keep that for yourself first. And then that's actually where the, the inspiration, you know, should come from because obviously we as photographers, we Do we compare to each other? Sorry, we compare ourselves to other photographers all the time. But the less you do that, the more it the more self oriented your photography journey is, I think the more self inspired it becomes. And I think that's where you start focusing on yourself first, and you start getting outside of the your comfort zone first. And then you start experimenting on new stuff that, you know, you haven't seen before, or stuff that would seem completely ridiculous to others, but then you try it, and then you post it. And I think a lot of people recognise that in my work is that I, yes, I, I have taken a few shots, you know, of famous places, and monuments and stuff like that even at night. But I'm more interested in interested in taking things that have never been done before. In all the like, whether it is a time lapse or single shot photography, I like to experiment a lot, taking, you know, out of focus, book a time lapse, which is very rarely done. And funnily enough, you know, a lot of the production companies love this kind of time lapses. And I think, you know, they, they saw the works first, and they contacted me to work with them because of this. So, and I think that, but I want to expand to take your time to expand a bit more on that afterwards. Because that was now I'm going towards a piece of advice I'm going to give at the end. So let's not get into that just yet.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 41:41 That's awesome. And thanks for mentioning that because I know exactly that feeling when you feel like you have to go out and shoot and actually had a burn out because of that. And that is also the reason where this podcast came from, you know, because I was like burning out and I want to hear what other people are going through. And most of the time, you know, it's not one year, it's not two year, it's usually more than that. Plus more of you know, get to where they are. So, you know, the overnight success that people see in the Instagram is never overnight, you know, they put all their heart and work behind it. Yeah, like that is an awesome, awesome advice. And I love that, you know, you kind of dive into that even deeper, to just share that insight. And I think that is really important. So I guess one of the thing that I'm interested in, and I'm sure that the audience will be would love to know as well is so used to be, you know, in a science kind of niche, and then your you had your master degree and all that stuff. You're a teacher, and suddenly, poof, you're a photographer, right? How does that? How does that thinking process as well as journey to transition over? Because you know, that one of the biggest preconception that most people say is that artists, you know, a starving artist. Mindset, right? So, so when you jump into the profession, people are gonna think you're crazy. You're an absolutely, you know, crazy to, to let go of your master's degree and all that stuff and jump into this starving industry. But how does that process go? And what makes if there? Is there any thing that makes all the difference that helps you to transition over?
Adrien Mauduit 43:46 It's funny, you mentioned starving artists, because this is exactly where I was going. I think you you need to. Or at least that was the case for me. I I'm not sure if you need to so it's not isn't No, you know, no advice, but you need to make sacrifices, I think you need to, to be willing to be a starving artist for a while to start the journey, especially if you come from a background that, you know, I was a teacher, but I was at the beginning of my career. And I wanted to get into a PhD so I went to go further in my studies as well. So you know, it's like, you know, from one day to the other, you stop everything and you start something new and that's something that is that is quite scary. I'm not gonna lie to you. It's, you know, starting a new journey without having any mentor or any kind of support from anyone. Although some people didn't believe you know, and some people some some of members of my family pushed me and said, Yeah, you're quite talented. So you should probably do You should probably pursue it, you know, you don't have a lot of support from anything else, to be honest. It's just maybe, you know, you're lucky enough to have a grant you to search for grants. But basically, for me, I already own some cameras, which I was able to acquire during that, or thanks to the salary from my teaching position there in Denmark. But I realised, you know, if you are to start with a photography company, you need to buy everything from scratch, and you don't have any sort of support. And photography is expensive, as you know. And there's always this lens that you want, and is always this other piece of gear that you need. So that as quickly, too, you know, a lot of a lot of resources and time and money. So it's, it's difficult, and you need to be willing to make the sacrifice, you know, for a period of your time, dedicate yourself 100% at the expense of others, and at the expense of maybe love life and social life and stuff like that. I think that's a sacrifice that you need to be willing to make, at least nowadays, if you don't have already a name. And if you if you're really serious about this, this job, and you can see a few other stories in in, at least in the night, night, Sky photography, industry, you know, like ALAN WALLACE, or even even yourself, I mean, you said you were burning out, but I'm sure you've made a lot of sacrifices, when I see those pictures behind you here with the Milky Way. I know those are could be faraway locations, or I see also like a summit picture here. You need to be willing to also physically, you know, put yourself through danger and have like natural hazard to be able to take those unique shots and make a name of yourself in this oversaturated industry, let's, let's say the way it is, it's oversaturated. But it's not impossible. And that's another piece of advice, you know, that I have for the audience's that it might seem completely useless to stop now. Now that even you know, social media is getting crazy. Your Instagram is not working anymore. So, you know, it's like, oh my gosh, it's useless to start now. No, it's not. And if it brings something for you other than making money, then definitely do it. Because for me, that brings photography nice guy brings joy for me being alone with the elements when there's no sun outside, no winds, you know, you have the perfect pristine sky with I don't know, I would imagine a nice lake or a nice, you know, still see where you get the reflection of the moon or the refraction of stars. Oh, my goodness, there's no feeling beating that. I think
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 48:08 that is a great advice. And you know, like, I know that feeling 100% that just that really serene, pristine, you know, like, tranquil sort of feeling they just, ah, you know, like, it feels like nothing else matter, right? It's just like, you're in the moment. You're so in the moment that nothing else matters. Yeah, that's, that's awesome. So. So how, what are some of the things that you did in terms of earning money? And that you can? I suppose let me rephrase that. So how did you, you know, how did you earn from your photography? And how would you have done it differently? If an audience come to you and say, Hey, I'm thinking about, you know, doing this full time because I love it. I love the fulfilment, but I just don't know where you, you know where to start? What sort of direction or advice would you give them?
Adrien Mauduit 49:09 So, I think having, you know, a sum that is dedicated, like, it's like a saving sum of money that is somewhere on an account. And that, of course, you don't touch for, I mean, you buy your gear, but you don't touch for anything else, then just like in case of emergency kind of package. That is advisable, because there's going to be a period where you're going to, you're going to and I think that's the same for a lot of deputing artists. There's a period of time at the beginning where you're going to put in way more efforts than you're going to get any return on investment, if that makes sense. So you're going to invest yourself much more than you're going to earn. And that that period of Time is frustrating because you don't see the product of your hard labour, right, you don't see the return on investment. And that's frustrating for a lot of people. And that might cause some people to stop at that stage. But that's exactly when, you know, everything looks, looks bleak. And like doom and gloom. That's exactly where you should actually double your efforts. Because you never know, what is, you know, in around the corner, I would say, that's exactly when I can actually share a little bit of how I ended up in Norway. So I started photography in 2016. Professionally, so I quit my job in Denmark, I had a bit of money on the side. And I wanted to sell prints first, because that's what everyone did. So I set up a Wix website, and I started making, you know, a little bit of money, really not much at all, not enough to live anyways. So I went back to France, I no shame in saying, I went back to my parents, and we've had my parents for about a year to help me, you know, in this journey, because rent was quite expensive. And, you know, I was I did, you know, some some job on the side as well, I, I was doing substituting teaching in at my dad's school, and, you know, during the night, I would go out. So it's like, this double life that you need to lead as well, you know, it's not like you're gonna earn, unless you're very smart, and, and smart enough, but I'm not that smart. So I didn't figure out a way to earn money completely from photography at first. And so I needed this side, income source or stream to help me survive the first years. And so after a year, I was like, you know, I was just about to give up, you know, it's like, Oh, I'm not seeing the return on investment. It's not worth my time, even though I love it. But
so, I took this one last trip, I told myself, Okay, after a year, I don't make enough money, then I just continue my, my, into a PhD, right, or it was my teaching job. So I taking one last trip to Scandinavia to see the Orion maybe, hopefully to take some pictures, and some people will like it. I don't know. I didn't know what I was thinking. So went to a disco in Sweden, starting started shooting, shooting the Aurora. And that was a few days before the end of everything, basically, because after that trip, remember, I was gonna stop everything. And I was about to give up. And I received this email from Oh, sorry, this message on Facebook from the, the director of what is now the Aurora Borealis Observatory in, in Sydney island in Norway. And they said, Well, he said, I love your job, your your work I've been I've been watching your work for a while now. It's I think the quality is, it's awesome. You know, what, what would you how would you like to come and visit. So I did visit I did an extension of my trip did visit the observatory without any sort of saw, like second thoughts or without knowing what what they wanted. And so I visited the observatory, and long story short, he offered me a job, then, you know, based out of Norway, and perfect location for the war, I could do, I would earn money on the side enough to survive. And I could do photography as well on my start time. And to me, that was the perfect, perfect opportunity. And that's how I got started, I started making content. And from them, I was able to be visible on social media. And you know, that's the snowball effect afterwards, you know, you post and post and post and you start getting noticed. And then boom, you get, you know, collaborations, contracts and stuff like that. That's how your photography journey is. So if I have one piece of advice is when you think, you know, you're gonna, when you feel like you need to give up because you don't see any results. That's exactly when you should double down on your efforts. Because, you know, at least that that happened to me, but I know that happened to a lot of other people. That's exactly when, you know, for some reason, that's exactly when good things happen. So don't give up. And yes, you're the start of the journey is hard and full of hurdles and challenges. But you know, most most most people make it and if they presets and enough they make it for sure.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 55:02 That's awesome that I think that is a really cool thing. Real cool advice there. Because, you know, cuz you mentioned a couple of things right first, you know, like, you need to put on the sacrifice and to make it in this turfing industry. But actually, we need to make that sacrifice on all of that, right? It doesn't matter what Startup you try what company you want to build, it's actually the same thing. So I think there is no different that. And the second thing is, you know, like, it's saturated. Yes, it is saturated, but only saturated for people who doesn't want to go the extra mile. And I think you know, like, when you when you talk about you have to make sacrifice and making those you know, wonderful kind of content. And just keep putting yourself out there until one day, you know, somebody notice it all or you know, have that saving, and just keep going keep going and double down on the times that you feel like you want to give up. I think that is a really good advice, because that's exactly why this. That's exactly how you make it in this saturated industry when you're willing to go the extra miles. And keep going when everyone else quit. So that's, that's a really good advice, Adrian, thanks for sharing that. Now. I know we're kind of going over time here a little bit. It's been really nice talking to you. And before we can I close this down. Since you know, I'd love you, I love to get you to share how can people forecast the Aurora? When when they visit North or South? Like, you know, and don't worry about the crazy science behind it just like some of a few practical things that they can do to increase their chance seeing that or because unlike most people, what most people think it's, it's always there, there is no season for it. Yes, there are some times of the year that are better to say it. But at the same time, it's like a rain right? It really rely a lot on the forecast. So based on your experience, what are some of the practical steps that you can suggest to our audience to better or to get their chance to see the aurora?
Adrien Mauduit 57:29 Yeah, so that's, that's the $100 question, isn't it? Like when? When are we getting Aurora? Yeah, so without getting into too much, or too many details. So to increase your chances to see the aurora, I would say, you know, you mentioned that's exactly like rain, you know, the Aurora here happens all the time. But the rain, it doesn't rain all the time, right, you have periods of sun and periods of clouds, and rain. So it happens sporadically, but it does happen all the time, so very frequently. To maximise your chances to see the aurora, you need to make sure, I think that's the first piece of advice I would give to people is make sure you call me and I know it's it's expensive, you know, a lot of the locations up north are expensive, because it's so far away from everything. If you have the resources, try to go as long as possible. So for as many days as possible, because sometimes just one day makes the difference between not seeing anything, for example, like a three, three day stay, you know, you could be clouded out for three days, and you wouldn't see anything, regardless of the location, right? It does happen, those long periods of completely cloudy skies in the north, that happens all the time. But imagine if you booked an extra day and the last on the last day, it clears up and you get even if you get you don't get the best overall ratio in the world, you get to see the aurora. So I always tend to stay book, you know, one to three extra days, if you can allow it money wise and time wise. That definitely helps. Because as you know that the we're getting better at terrestrial weather forecasting, right. I mean, we've we had hundreds of, of years of records and we need our models are starting to be really, really accurate. Whether we complain or not, you know, because they're some of them may not be accurate, but space weather and Aurora. It's such a new science that our models and our forecasts are actually in their infancy as opposed to terrestrial weather. And we don't have that very precise instruments or those very precise instruments that can allow us to predict with certitude you know, I Uh, in an hour range or within minutes when the award is going to happen. So I couldn't tell you, per se, you know, if there was going to happen in one minute in an hour, but there are a few things that you could look at, to sort of maximise your chance to see the aurora. And that is to follow the, the first thought follow the people that the scientists in the fields, they believe it or not, they are on social media. And they can, they can actually give you great advice. And they, they, some of them, produce forecasts. But otherwise, honestly, there are a few websites or resources that you can, you can look at. And that is the NOAA Space Weather Prediction centre. website. And there is another one space weather live, I think those two. So NOAA, and oh, a Space Weather Prediction centre. And then space weather live.com are the two main resources that I would think, you know, predict pretty much everything from the Sun to the Aurora on Earth. So they have, let's say they have I wouldn't say foot, but they have, you know, they predict all those steps that come in between. So and they're quite clear as well. So yeah, those are the two, I think the two advice that I can give to people to maximise their chances. Also, make sure you you get to a location that is dark enough. So not within a city or if you're within a city, you need to be able to have guided tours that go outside of the city or to rent a car. And then you know, a bit of Moon is is okay with your work, especially if it's overhead that it's not that much of a problem.
But it's it comes down to your preference, a lot of mood so full moon will hinder or mask out the faint of Aurora, whilst the bright Aurora, it doesn't matter with the moon, it just, you know, you can you can see anyways, but some people prefer no mood. So if you don't want any moon to hinder your view, then try to look at the moon calendar and to try to look at the facts. Also, don't only look at the moon calendar, because here the moon, believe it or not, behaves very differently as it does at the equator. Even it says the moon is I don't know, like 50% for the moon might not even show up the whole night. And that's just what happens in the north because of the course of objects in the sky. So check some apps for the course of the moon if you want or the the weather as well. But make sure the lack of advice is make sure you've had a time where your location is dark enough. By dark enough means I mean, at least nautical twilight. So nautical twilight is the part of the Twilight, where you start seeing the few the first Aurora the first strong a walrus. That's where you start making out the start. And of course darker than that is okay. That's what they find the quote unquote Aurora season at your location, which is which differs from location to another. So yeah, that's,
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:03:42 that's that's a really good tip. Yeah, I guess I'll clarify a bit like when Adrian was saying nautical twilight is what he meant is that light after the blue hour, I think so after a sunset, you know, the sunset, it goes to blue hour and then some other light and then go to another two nautical twilight, and then it go fully dark. So that happened before sunrise and after sunset. So that's what he meant. And I think, you know, a lot of people also need to appreciate in a place like Norway, for example, in some, some time of the year, you don't get any nighttime at all, isn't it? You don't even get any Twilight or blue hour, isn't it?
Adrien Mauduit 1:04:31 Nope. So we we do get because of the we're so high in in the latitude that we're subject to the tilt of the earth much more than at the equator. And we can see this change quite dramatically as you pointed out with the course of objects in the sky throughout the seasons, and especially the sun's because for two months of the year in the summer at the heart of the summer, the work oriented towards The sun all the time, right that we were tilting towards the sun all the time. So we get the midnight sun and we obviously so that means we get the sun at midnight, although it's low on the horizon, but it's still, you know, it's quite weird. Start at midnight.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:05:16 Say it never actually sets.
Adrien Mauduit 1:05:19 Nope, it never set. So it just it grazes gently the horizon, the northern horizon at midnight, and then it goes up again, at one two in the morning. And it goes up, it never sets, but it goes up in the sky again. So it gets brighter. That's so you get? Yeah, so you get different lights, you get to see the landscape hit by the lights from, from an angle where you could never see at other locations. You know, it's like in Valley, for example, your favourite location, your favourite COVID, as you say, behind you, yeah, it looks like a nice Cove by the beach, let's say, you know, it's quite stable in Valley because throughout the year, the sun, the sun does the course or the sun doesn't change that much in the sky. Try to imagine the sun. Most of the year, it doesn't hit that Cove. But then in the winter for somebody else, or in the summer, for some reason, at midnight, boom, you get the golden light from the sun. From there hitting the cove. It's like you're getting for landscape photography is just perfect, because you get to see things that you could never see otherwise. So it's
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:06:30 Yeah, you get we get forever golden hour. How awesome is that? Right. It's cool. All right. Well, that's that's a really good advice. You know, I love that the two resources that you talk about? And I'll be sure to put it on the link as well. Yeah, they believe it or not, there are a lot of apps in the Apple Store. But don't trust them.
Adrien Mauduit 1:06:56 Yeah, no, I, I think the app are quite misleading because they give you the raw data without I mean, some of them do explain what the raw data I mean, but they have it, a lot of the apps have it wrong, because they dumb it down so much, that they start making mistakes in their own explanation. And that's just not how the Aurora happens. It's very complicated. So, you know, you can you can download the app store free, most of them are free anyways. But don't really go with the app. And trust the people that are in the field, when you come to a location because they know the overall better. And they know how it behaves, which is probably not what the app says, say at the time anyway, so
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:07:41 yeah. 100% and I think you know, what Adrian? Say was because like when I first started, I used to look at the app and go like whoa, KP seven I'd be like heading out, it's like, this is not KP said the thing that the app or most people don't understand is there's so many different small factor that affect that. So even at the lower KP you have a beat you have is to have chance to sit and you know, at a higher KP you might not see that at all. So and that's why Adrienne say Go follow the scientists because they will actually put all of this data in context so that you can make a better judgement. But yeah, thanks thanks for sharing that. And you know, if you have maybe like a couple of scientists that you recommend to follow do let me know and I'll put it on the link so that the audience can jump in and follow them as well. But also at the same time follow Adrian because when like really guys just go through his his Instagram and I mean you're blown away but find the one with the reindeer it is my favourite shot actually there is there three shots that are really love from your shot. The one that like like crazy love it is the reindeer. The second one is the Milky Way and the Aurora one like left to right. And the other one was the clouds at the crazy rainbow on the clouds. That's just insane. Like, I was like, damn, I want to see that. One day One day. Yeah, those
Adrien Mauduit 1:09:16 are the things you want. Yeah, when there you will see.
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:09:19 All right, well, Adrian, thank you very much for sparing your time teaching us auroras as well as sure sharing your journey and giving the audience practical advice that they can do to either you know, chase their passion or even just see the auroras now for those of the people who want to, you know, find out more about your work or work with you or even just one appreciate your work even more, what is the best way for them to find find find you.
Adrien Mauduit 1:09:53 So I do have a mandatory website where we all we all have website as dovers So it's three W that night lights, films. So lights and films are plural.com. But, you know, nowadays it's more I mean, we can find people more on social media. So I'm all on all major platforms. I'm also on YouTube. And I used to be on Vimeo, but I just deleted Vimeo. But I do I do, I do video as well. So a lot on, you know, Facebook watch or YouTube as well. But I'm on Twitter, YouTube, I've always under the same name, Night Lights, films or night lights. And, but if you type my name, you would also find me on Google, I'm sure that that's what comes first. That's so that's where people usually find me and they contact me any place, whether it's on Facebook or Instagram, we're, you know, via email or something like that. quite responsive. So
Stanley Aryanto - The Wicked Hunt 1:11:07 fantastic. Yeah. He's, he's a great photographer and a great human being. So do follow him, get in touch with him. And I only say that, because you know, you've been with us for about an hour, but you know, I'm just kidding. No, he is. Awesome human being. But yeah, thank you very much, Adrian for being here, sharing all that knowledge. And with that being said, well, we can't hunters, hopefully you find a lot of value and enjoy that talk. Make sure you go to Adrian page, I guarantee that you will be blown away. So you know, if there is anything you get from this, you know, go and follow Him. And yeah, it'll make your life better, I can guarantee you Well, with that being say, let us know in the comment below. Give us a little bit review of whether or not you know what you think and what are some of the things that you want to hear in the future if you have if you have any artists that you want to hear their journey or whatnot. But thank you for being here. Thank you for tuning in. And I'll see you guys next week.
Adrien Mauduit 1:12:18 Thank you for having me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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