The first thought that passed through my mind while gazing over his photography collection on Instagram, was that I could pleasantly hang each of them on the walls of my apartment and stare at them as much as I could. As an art gallery geek, I already imagined the journey of those captures from the app to the exhibition walls, nurturing for a moment the idea of reserving fine arts to the private closed doors, where the art pieces are handled more gracefully than on the hands of the internet. A useless thought however, since the very same photographs have attracted thousands of followers and fans into his Instagram Page, supporting his great work and finding beauty in every image.
He is a professional travel photographer from Kosovo, exploring and capturing views around various destinations of the world, as well as Albania. He is distinguished for his landscape photography which offers more than the eyesight could offer, for the dedication and high skills he has. His work is worth the art galleries, as well as this interview we had with him, to learn the stories behind the lens and the beauty of this adventurous job.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Meet Bleron Caka,
the travel photographer explaining the journey to the final photographic gaze !
- Which came first for you, the travel or the photography?
Both, in my opinion, are related. Every trip I go, I carefully consider how I should spend the time I have there to take quality images. Generally speaking, I make trip plans based on the sites I’d want to photograph. Nevertheless, this does not imply that I merely travel for the purpose of taking images before returning home. I take my time to visit the location and explore as much as I can.
- For sure the images you have captured being a travel photographer are breathtaking, but how would you personally describe your photography style?
Thank you, I do my best to stay consistent with my photography style which lately has tended toward artistic landscape photography. I make a lot of effort to locate the ideal location and photograph it at the right moment, which is typically blue hour or golden hour. Moreover, post-processing is crucial since it helps a photographer stand out from the crowd.
- Did you previously have any formal training in travel photography?
I’ve learned a ton about travel photography via online courses and tutorials from various photographers, but I have to admit that one’s biggest learning resource is everyday photographic experience since you pick up new skills as you go and it’s a never-ending school.
- How many countries you have visited and photographed so far?
I haven’t traveled as much as I’d like, but I’ll include a few locations that many photographers consider must-sees. I have traveled to Nepal and the mountain ranges that stretch into Nepal from the Himalayas. My recent travels to Iran included stops in the Lut Desert, Damavand Mountain, Salt Lake of Sirjan, and Persepolis. The Lofoten Islands in Norway, a well-known tourism location, were one of my favorite vacations. Another beautiful location I’d suggest is Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is best to visit in the fall for photographers.
- What’s your favourite kind of landscape to photograph?
Mountains. I love everything about long days of hiking and climbing to a particular location where you can take the photos you’ve always wanted to take in a constantly changing environment. Also, nightscapes, as you cannot see everything with the human eye, but fortunately, our sophisticated cameras enable that, and I must admit, it’s a completely new experience to know how to navigate and get lovely photographs out of it.
- What’s the best camera for your kind of photography?
There are no right or wrong answers to this. Even a phone camera can be used to take a decent photo. It’s necessary for any photographer to have the tools at their disposal that allow them to capture the photos they want, but what’s more crucial is capturing something at the right time. I’ve seen moments captured in photographs using the most basic of cameras; all you need to do is be present at the appropriate time and location.
- What things should always be in the bag of a travel photographer, besides the camera?
Apart from the camera, you should always have the right lenses for the trip. In landscape photography, you definitely need to have a wide-angle lens, standard zoom, and telephoto lens. A tripod is a must have as well as filters, extra batteries, memory cards, head lamp etc. If you’re also a fan of hiking and camping, then you’ll need a bigger bag.
- What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced to get the photo you want?
Travel photography has its own challenges such as when you meticulously organize your trip and the weather refuses to cooperate or prevents you from reaching a specific location. The Neowise comet only visited our hemisphere in 2020 for a brief period of time, and you could only see it soon before dawn. I had to schedule my hiking and camping trips around the moon’s position and the weather in Kosovo in order to capture the image I had in mind on top of the Decan Mountains. Everything went smoothly, and I managed to get the image of the comet “striking” the mountain.
- Is it better to travel alone in order to take better pictures , or in good company?
Although I have tried both, I prefer to travel with friends. It’s critical that anyone you are with is aware that you might spend a lot of time with your camera in particular locations or at a particular time. Because of this, it’s always preferable to travel with other photographers who share your desire to take stunning pictures. Fortunately for me, the folks I travel with are consistently highly supportive of what I do and go above and beyond to support me in my work.
- Which is that place in Albania where you have taken the most incredible shots?
I must say The Accursed Mountains (Bjeshket e Namuna). The dreamy mountainous landscape of this part of Albania has given me a great opportunity to capture some of my most incredible shots, and it always makes me go back.
- Do you find time to connect with the local cultures while you’re working and traveling?
My favorite part of traveling, aside from the photography, is interacting with locals and learning more about other cultures. I learn a lot and it gives me different perspectives in so many issues. When visiting Iran recently, I was amazed by the people’s hospitality, their ancient culture and customs, as well as their dreams and hopes for freedom. I wish more people could experience Iran for all that it has to offer.
- While taking pictures around Albania, you have the chance to experience many destinations.What are the 3 places you always return to for food, comfort and relaxation?
Albania offers a wide range of options, whether you want to unwind by the sea or in the highlands distant from civilization. I keep returning to Permet and staying at Vasilika and Ilir’s Guesthouse, which embodies the best of Albanian hospitality. Because of its remoteness and sense of freedom, I adore Gjipe. Enjoying a large cup of coffee in the Gjirokaster Bazaar being surrounded by history. Theth, as there is nowhere else quite like it.
- Which Albanian city would you choose for an urban photoshoot?
Gjirokaster or Berat. The antiquity, uniqueness, nobility. Everything about the two cities is royal and almost poetic.
- What’s your favourite food you like to eat when traveling in Albania?
Also for you: What to eat in Albania, between byrek and baklava
- How do you think has Instagram influenced the travel photography? Has helped it or not?
It has greatly helped in finding new locations and promoting tourism areas that otherwise wouldn’t have attracted as much attention. For photographers, it’s a terrific platform to spread the word about their work and highlight locations that others might not visit if it weren’t for a beautiful shot or film they had seen there.
- What tips or advice do you have for other aspiring travel photographers?
First off, packing light makes everything much simpler. Spend time with the locals and try to grasp their way of life and perspective on life, after all. Third, remember that the journey, not the destination, is what matters. You may occasionally be unable to reach the destination, but you should still be able to take pleasure in the journey. Lastly, always try the local food.
- Where would you like to travel next and why?
Iceland during the northern lights season in the near future.
Namibia due to its distinctive culture and desert landscape.
Dolomites, as it provides a photographer with a ton of exploration opportunities.