Michaela Skovranova doesn’t think you need to hop on a plane to see something awe-inspiring.
“I’m a big advocate for exploring what’s around you, and not necessarily having to travel far away for projects, [instead] learning on your doorstep and in your immediate environment,” the Melbourne-based photographer says. “And that creates really beautiful results, because you’ve become quite intimate with your space.”
Skovranova has a decade’s worth of experience in the field, which has led to her working with the likes of National Geographic, TEDx and Facebook. She has explored shark-infested waters off the east coast of Australia, reefs in Far North Queensland and even towering ice caps in Antarctica. Her favourite place to shoot is in the water. “I like to focus on breath-hold snorkelling – or free diving,” she says. “And a lot of my work focuses on the first few metres of water, at a depth where you don’t need scuba diving equipment, where a lot of the larger creatures inhabit, and where there’s a lot of natural light as well.”
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Skovranova’s work will be on display at Unhurried by Nature, an exhibition by Broadsheet and The Glen Grant at Marfa Gallery from August 12 to 13. As one of just five local photographers featured at the exhibition, Skovranova says her works will show off local beauty. “It’s quite exciting because this region is actually very plentiful in wildlife, both above and below water,” she says. “So I’ll be presenting some underwater photographs from the peninsula, from Port Phillip Bay [alongside] some of the landscapes around the buildings on the water, as well.”
Though her work is polished and often exhibits a tranquil quality, Skovranova says that nature photography is one of the more unpredictable styles of shooting. “It changes from day to day, and it’s very dependent on the conditions. So I try and work with the environment rather than push against it,” she says. “You can do all the prep work as much as possible, but it’s not until you’re in it – whether that be in the water or out in nature – that you really know what you’re working with.
“So you have to be prepared for lots of different possibilities and be as open-minded as possible as to what can happen and what encounters you might have.”
Not unlike other professions (whisky-making springs to mind), nature photography requires ample patience and perseverance. Skovranova says there have been times where she has waited for months and months to get the perfect shot. “So what I would do usually is go back to the same location continuously,” she says. “So you might go there for sunrise or sunset – which is when the wildlife is most active – and then, of course, there’s a limited window of opportunity when the light is there. And then nothing happens, so you go back the next day. It can be very, very frustrating, but that’s just how nature works.”
Watch: Getting Lost in the Image With Michaela Skovranova
"What I love about the ocean is it's an ever-changing landscape," says photographer Michaela Skovranova. As a specialist in nature photography and the underwater world, Skovranova's skill is as much about patience as it is technical prowess.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The Glen Grant Single Malt Whisky.