Togs & Tales

Liana Modonova

Liana Modonova

Landscape Photographer

Hi, my name is Liana, and I am originally from Latvia. I came to Ireland back in 2008 and have stayed ever since. Throughout these years, Ireland hasn’t stopped surprising me with its beauty. From the rugged coastline to the rolling green hills, hidden coves and beaches, vibrant cities with friendly locals, its culture and rich history. I could never imagine why one would not want to keep discovering this beautiful island and all it has to offer. 

What was your path to becoming a Landscape Photographer & What was your first camera?

I became interested in photography not so long ago. Even though I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, I do love to take photos and always bring my camera with me pretty much everywhere I go. Because you know, you can always take a quick detour to explore even on your way to do some grocery shopping :).  What I love the most about it is that it helps me capture moments I feel are important to remember and that I would love to share with my friends or family. Photographs are truly powerful reminders of an event, a detail or a place you have visited, and they can also take you right back to that special moment. For me, it is important that my photographs pass on the emotions that I experienced when taking that shot. It’s so amazing to be able to go back and revisit all these incredible places and wonderful moments just by looking at the photos you have taken.

What was your favourite Landscape Adventure Story since becoming a Photographer?

My favourite adventure story ( that was the start of my photography adventure ) was my trip to South Africa almost 5 years ago. It was our honeymoon trip, and before going, my husband suggested that we buy a camera because it would definitely be worth having one while exploring such a stunning country. To which I answered, “It will be grand, we don’t need one, we have our phones!”. Cameras back then were good. They were definitely nothing like you can get now, but it was fine.

So we arrived in this incredible country with breathtaking views all around us. We started from Cape Town, travelling along the Garden Route with all the mini stops along the way, we finally arrived at Addo National Park. This is where it hit me, “Oh how I wish I was better at taking photos, oh how I wish I had skills and I had proper equipment!”
The raw nature, beautiful people, and amazing cultures of South Africa got to me and woke something inside me! It made me want to capture every single moment, every experience, and all the beauty. It made me want to share my experiences and emotions through my photographs.

What was your worst in-the-field experience as a landscape Photographer?

My worst in-field experience was probably when we went to the Isle of Skye. I was so excited to go there. I mean, planning took forever, but I still didn’t realise how long the journey was. We started our trip from Glasgow, moving through Loch Lomond and up through Glencoe towards Appin Bay. We had to stay over for a few nights there just to break up the journey. The next morning, we made our way to Skye. I was purely excited as we were passing Oban and headed for the ferry to go on to Skye. All I can think of is all the amazing photos I will take and how incredible it will be. But that’s where it all began. The fog became so heavy that all ferries were cancelled. Not to waste our time, we decided that we would go around and make a quick stop at the iconic Eileen Donan Castle. After we carried on our journey onto Skye, we crossed the Skye bridge, and yes, yes, finally we arrived! But that mist… It was so dense that we couldn’t see anything properly. I kept saying to myself, it will be OK, we still have to drive across the island and it can change. I mean, it always does in Ireland, so surely it will be the same here. But that’s not how it works on the Isle of Skye. So we arrived at the Old Man of Storr and still nothing, the fog as dense as it was and with limited visibility. We were running out of daylight and had to head back. It was quite disappointing at the time, as due to poor visibility and conditions, I didn’t get to capture as much as I wanted to. After coming back to Appin, I said to myself, “It wasn’t a bad trip and it wasn’t a waste of time, not at all.” It was only a dry run, practice for when I come back and I will be ready to take on the day full of exploring, adventure and loads of photos, of course.

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

Sunrise or Sunset? I would say both! But definitely more sunset in the summer as I can never get up for sunrise.

Where is your favourite Location in Ireland to Photograph & Why?

My favourite location to photograph is the Old Head of Kinsale. This location is close to my heart; it’s a special place and it’s always stunning! No matter the weather.

What is your favourite photograph, that you’ve taken to date, & Why?

I’ve taken so many photos and I must say I love them all! I love every single photo I take because it’s special to me. I capture the moments that I like to share with family, friends, and my followers. But I think my most favourite photo that I have taken is the picture of Vital Spark in Inveraray, Scotland. I remember when we went there, the weather was pretty shocking and there was no hope for any bit of sun. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the sun came out, and this gorgeous rainbow just appeared out of nowhere. It looked like the boat had a rainbow sail; it was just so gorgeous and perfect. I was super happy to capture it. It’s definitely so unique.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

When I go out exploring, I am always on the go, so I don’t really have a chance to set up any of my gear. Most of the time, I use my iPhone. But I do use my Fujifilm XT3 or my DJI Air 2S drone

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

When I started my journey, my adventure, I was taking photos with my phone. I didn’t have any training in photography. I just went out and took photos of what I liked. It’s not the equipment, it’s the person behind the camera! So here is my advice for anyone starting out – Go out there and explore, take photos, share your story in pictures. Be bold, be creative, don’t follow trends! The most important thing is to never give up! Equipment is only a bonus. 😉

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

The best advice I was ever given was to stay true to who you really are and what you really love doing and never change!

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment ?

It’s a tough one! I wouldn’t have just one. I am inspired by the work of quite a few photographers to be honest. They are all inspiring and amazing to look up to, as each one has a unique style, which I love! (The list is a little too long.)

Where can we find you?

© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Liana Modonova
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