Iurie’s life as a creator first began when he moved to Iceland in a quest for photographing Icelandic nature in 2006. Iurie Belegurschi first became interested in drones after practicing aerial photography extensively with small planes and helicopters.
He explains that “There is something addictive about soaring through the sky above the landscape and capturing it in photographs. However, flying by plane and helicopter can be an expensive hobby. With a drone, you have more options for flying in your own time. It’s also a great new platform for photography, which is fun while allowing you to play with new technology. Over the years, the demand for video has begun to grow. I turned myself towards moving images as a more in-depth way of telling a cohesive story with my work.”
Working with drones is an absolute blast, as they really allow me to unleash my creativity. It can also be an intense experience, as you have to remain calm even under stressful conditions. I have to push the limits of what the current drone technology is capable of. I need to go faster, closer and lower to create new and exciting visual aerial elements. As a drone pilot, you have to be focused and on your game 100% of the time. Safety is the number one priority.”
What’s your day to day like and how do you generate new ideas or plan out your next shoot?
The weather in Iceland can be very unpredictable. As such, I plan my shoots well in advance, using the weather as a last minute opportunity. Usually, I’ll have an idea of what I’d like to shoot and from that, I’ll know when the best time to visit will be. For example, ice caves are best accessed during winter, whereas the Highlands are best for the summer. This helps me to pick the right time of year to go out to shoot. Having taken the season into consideration, I’ll also do a bit of in-field research by scouting for compositions at my destination. So that I can return when the lighting and conditions are optimal for the shot that I have in mind.
What is your craziest story from Iceland?
One of the craziest experiences of my career was when I photographed the Holuhraun eruption in Iceland during 2014 from a helicopter. I had been waiting for a few years for an eruption to occur and had envisioned how I would capture these shots. A volcanic eruption is not something you can photograph every day, so it was probably the most amazing thing that I’ve ever photographed!
The experience had my heart pounding, the doors of the helicopter were open and I didn’t have any protective gear with me. I could actually feel the heat from the volcano during the shoot. It was a bit scary. Particularly when the helicopter began to jump up and down. I had to use my creativity and to work fast. The continual movement made it very difficult for me to capture each shot. In the future, I’d consider using a drone instead… mainly for safety purposes!
How did you get into photography?
I first got into photography at an early age when my uncle converted the bathroom in our family’s home into a darkroom. My earliest memory of using a camera was when I was given an old Russian camera to take to school in order to photograph my classmates. Even though I didn’t know much about photography at the time, my passion was ignited. I knew from then that I would be taking pictures for many years to come.
Like this, I began pushing myself to create better pictures, which resulted in the discovery of a deep passion for photographing the landscape. This led to me pondering whether it could be a possible career choice. These thoughts didn’t last long as photography soon became a calling – a lifestyle almost. When I finally undertook a few jobs as a photography guide, I realized that there was a lot of satisfaction to be derived from it. Also teaching photography and being able to share my passion with others. It was at that point that I decided to make the transition from hobby to career.
How has your work evolved since you started?
When I first started out in photography, I concentrated mainly upon traveling around Iceland and capturing its spectacular landscapes. Even my company, Iceland Photo Tours, was focused upon providing educational photography workshops in and around Iceland.
These days, I am able to spend some more time traveling far and teaching as well as exploring and photographing other beautiful destinations. As such, my portfolio of places that I want to share with others has grown massively! Rather than concentrating solely on Iceland, my company now offers photography workshops and tours all around the world.
Do you have any tips for young creators ?
Use the best equipment that you can afford for the circumstances that you will be photographing in. Do your research, so you’ll know which cameras and drones will suit you best. Also, look for which add-ons will allow you to customize your drone to fit the images that you hope to capture. It’s also important to familiarise yourself with drones regulations. Mastering the controls of your drone will also contribute to your success, as you’ll be able to film properly with adequate speed and good maneuvers for the best possible shots.
How do you get inspired?
It is easy to be inspired when you live in a place such as Iceland. The weather is ever-changing, the lighting conditions are amazing, and the landscape is so diverse. There is something to photograph in every corner as Icelandic nature is very diverse, from epic waterfalls to black sand beaches, majestic mountains, etc. Not to mention the beautiful dance of the Northern Lights!
What are your next projects?
The next very exciting thing coming for me is the opening of a photo gallery in downtown Reykjavik. This gallery will showcase my work from both Icelandic nature and abroad, including a lot of my brand new drone photography. I am planning to install touch screens at the exhibition, which will allow visitors to interact with the photos and videos in a modern and stimulating environment. It is my hope that this will inspire others to look at the world in a different way. Furthermore, to immerse themselves further in the extraordinary beauty of the landscape all around us.
How would you describe your aesthetic these days?
Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. I aim to capture photos of the landscape with interesting compositions in the best light that is possible. So that the final image is able to change a person’s response to their environment. Besides, I don’t always follow compositional rules. I like to create a sense of depth with my shots, that will make them look realistic and dynamic. I achieve this by utilizing perspective and finding the right angle while having compelling foreground elements that work in harmony with the middle and background elements.
Another thing I like to do is keeping an eye out for patterns and shapes within the landscape. Forming intriguing contrasts with their surroundings. Shadows can add more dimension to images, which helps them look more realistic and natural. My aesthetic is always evolving, in the end, it’s about observing the situation and concerning factors such as the weather, lighting conditions, etc. Which will allow you to shoot your subject at its best.