Nikon Imaging | Suomi | Eurooppa

Imagine having the world as your office. Imagine your models not caring one iota about their appearance. This is the fortunate situation, Roger Brendhagen finds himself in, approximately 300 days of the year. Although born in Oslo in 1968, this Nature Photographer extraordinaire and his family later moved northwards, settling in the beautiful countryside province of Hedemark. The forestry, wildlife, mountains, rivers and valleys of this area certainly played a role in Roger’s choice of photographic themes.

Roger has photographic affiliations with Nikon and the World Wildlife Federation (WWF). He has extensive experience taking nature photos and submitting articles to both magazines and newspapers, amongst these the Norwegian Vi Menn, A-Magasinet, Aftenposten and Dagbladet as well as many others spread across Europe. Brendhagen is a jury member at various photo competitions, often taking part in them. He has won several prizes, including an award in the Nordic Nature Photo Contest.

How has your career progressed?
I started taking pictures when I was around 12 years old and nature has always been a big interest of mine, so it came natural for me to also take picture of it.  My other big interest was music and that became my profession until I turned thirty. After that I started to write as a journalist and used the camera more and more. Until I used the camera more than I wrote. My photo career had a boost at 2002 when I went to Antarctica and stayed there for 3 weeks and came home with extraordinary pictures. That gave me confidence to sell pictures and have lectures. In 2007 I got a call from Nikon which came to change my world forever. They wanted me as their ambassador, and the rest is history.

How would you describe your style?
I try to capture the animals “personality” and I like to use a low perspective and a good rim-light. I think that describe my style pretty much.

Do you have a favourite image?
My philosophical answer is that I haven’t taken it yet. But if I should choose a picture from my archive I have some favourites of course. For example, the arctic fox under the full moon capture in Dovre, Norway.

Most challenging shoot?
Once again, it’s the arctic fox under the full moon. Inside my head, I always have some images that I try to “get out”. And this image is one of them. It took me almost ten years to finally succeed. There is approx. 150 artic foxes in Norway – and one full moon every month. So, it was not an easy task…

Is there any species you particularly prefer to photograph?
I’ve always been fascinated of snakes – so I spend a lot of time to capture snakes around the world. I also use a lot of time to photograph the Musk oxen, the Arctic foxes and the Brown bears in Scandinavian countries.  

How does your workload split between work for yourself and commissions?
I rarely do commissions, but I have a couple of clients that I shoots some commercials for. And I like to do that if I can be apart in the creative process before the actual shoot. If not – I turn the assignment down.

Have you always been a Nikon man?
Up to 2007 I used another brand – but when Nikon launched the D3 – they called me, and wanted me to test the camera. And they told me that they wanted me as an Ambassador if I was satisfied with the gear. I signed up the next day!

Which lenses do you use?
I have almost everything that Nikon ever have produced! But my main lenses are the 600mm. When I´m going on a photo expedition I bring along three Nikon D5 cameras, along with the 14-24/2,8, 24-70/2,8, 70-200/2,8, 200-400/4, 600/4 and the 800/5,6. And of course the 60/2,8, 105/2,8 and 200/4 for macro photography.

Is there any such thing as a ‘typical' working day, week or month?
Although many people assume that, as a wildlife photographer, I spend most of my days travelling, I actually spend a lot of time at the computer. I do quite a bit of writing for magazines and websites, I do a lot of social media, photo editing and of course lectures and workshops.

What would be your dream assignment?
I'm dreaming about to spend a half year in far north in the arctic. To capture the magical landscape – hopefully photographing the Polar bear in the Northern light – and write a book about the whole experience.

Do you have a photography confession to make? (We promise we won’t tell…!)
One time I was on my way into the Mountains of Dovre to photograph the Arctic fox. My photo sack was heavily packed with two cameras, 600/4 mm, 200-400/4 mm and the 70-200/2,8 mm. After one hour walking – I took my camera up to capture a Musk ox. Then I found out that both my batteries were still on my hotel room – in the charger…

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don't judge your own success by other people's success. Compare yourself with only with yourself.