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About Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove
Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove is an award-winning Belgian landscape and wildlife photographer. In 2016, he threw his life upside down and moved to Iceland. The past years, he dedicated most of his photography to documenting the Central Highlands and volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Most recently, he has received international attention for his dedication and work at the Fagradalsfjall eruptions. He even self-published a book covering the events of the Geldingadalir eruption from day one.
How Jeroen ended up finding my passion for photography, sold all his things and migrated to a beautiful, but cold, rock in the North Atlantic.
Fascination With the Arctic
Jeroen found his passion for photography very early on when he discovered an analog Canon SLR (the Canon AV-1) in his parent’s attic at the age of 10. Learning how to use it, caused him to be immediately fascinated by photography. Complementing that fascination, he was fortunate enough to travel with his parents to unspoiled, and sometimes distant, countries such as South Africa, Canada and Norway during his childhood. Those travels, together with the many National Geographic and BBC Earth documentaries he watched, developed his respect and admiration for nature tremendously.
In 2012, after discovering the raw beauty of the Icelandic nature through the Sígur Rós music DVD ‘Heima’, he travelled to Iceland for the first time with his local scouts group. After arriving to the country, the group stepped on a bus and started their journey by hiking the Laugavegur trail. This 4-day experience in the Icelandic Highlands deeply changed something in Jeroen. This change is very difficult to describe to people who have not experienced it themselves. It was as if he no longer felt at home in his own country. As if someone turned a switch in his head causing him to realise, he was not where he was supposed to be. It took him a long time to truly understand this new feeling. In search of an explanation, he kept travelling to Iceland again and again, hoping it would help him find his place.
Jumping Into the Deep End
After about a dozen trips, he decided Jeroen had enough of travelling back and forth several times per year. He kept wondering what it would be like to build a life there. Some time in early 2015, he decided he had to give it a shot and started preparing the next chapter in his life. This change in thinking came after he realised he would probably only regret that which he would not even have tried. After all, in his mind, the worst that could happen was that he would have had to return to Belgium. He didn’t want to end up being that person who had to keep wondering “what if” at a later stage in life. That same year, as if it was a jigsaw falling into place, he also met the person who he is now raising a wonderful daughter with.
In early 2016, he sold all my belongings and resigned from his job as an IT technician. Shortly after, he bought a one-way ticket to Reykjavík. He stepped onto the plane with a few suitcases and began his new life in Iceland. He quickly found a job in IT for a travel agency and picked up where he left off. To this day, he hasn’t regretted this drastic change in his life for one second.
Photographic Creative Block
At the end of 2019, he started guiding for a travel agency with the idea he would start up his own company later on and continue guiding more trips. Unfortunately, in came COVID-19, which put all those plans on hold. A confluence of events caused him to lose his drive to go out and photograph. He didn’t shoot as often as he wanted and he couldn’t find the energy to continue on with the constant upkeep of his social media accounts. At the end of 2020, he felt as if he was in a kind of photographic creative block. It prevented him from pushing forward to his goal: owning his own photography-focused business.
Eruption of Inspiration
And when Jeroen least expected it, his drive and passion for photography was reinvigorated by a series of events he had never thought possible. At the end of December 2020, he was treated to polar stratospheric clouds, which was something he had been wanting to see for ages. A month later, after carefully planning his shoot, he photographed one of the most incredible Aurora Borealis displays in years. And as the cherry on top, a few weeks later the wildest photographic rollercoaster of his life began: the eruption in Geldingadalir. All of these things combined, reinvigorated his lust for landscape photography.
Thanks to the Geldingadalir eruption, and his work surrounding it, 2021 became a milestone year in his photography career. Because of his dedication in photographing the eruption, he gained an increased interest in his work. This allowed him to finally take a big leap forward, one he dreamt of for many years. He started his own business in Iceland and became a full-time photographer & guide. At the end of 2021, he also released my first book, which is called New Earth – a Photographic Journey of the Geldingadalir Eruption.
What’s Important To Jeroen’s Photography
In his photography, Jeroen tries to go by a few personal guidelines which have become increasingly important to him:
- It’s about the story. To Jeroen, photographs are strengthened by having a good story to support them. Photography is the art of capturing memories and those memories deserve to be told and shared. He tries more and more to tell people that story. He tries to tell them what effort goes into posting that single 4 by 5 image on Instagram for them to enjoy.
- Nature is beautiful on its own. Jeroen spends little time editing his photographs. He believes in trying to do as much as possible in-camera. This goes hand in hand with doing only basic processing on his photographs. He enjoys the struggle of witnessing that beautiful moment more than adjusting photographs and compositing them.
- Respecting that which he capture. Jeroen has the utmost respect for nature. He is a landscape and wildlife photographer to show to people that which should be protected. He always tries to convey that message to his audience and others he meets while being outside and photographing. In the age of social media, respecting nature, and conveying others that message, has never been more important. No photograph or video is worth damaging nature in any way (off-roading, recovering a drone by leaving marks on very fragile soil, …).
- Gear is important but shouldn’t get in the way. The camera and lenses Jeroen uses are important as they are the one thing allowing me to create his work. However, he tries to stick to a minimal approach when it comes to gear. For example: Jeroen uses only two lenses. He used to be that person who had every single focal length available and carried around a variety of lenses. But he found that a lot of gear only got into the way of photographing. He ended up spending a lot of time deciding what to shoot with, instead of just shooting. Limiting his available gear has only improved his photography. In addition, he is always on the lookout for shrinking his gear: smaller lenses, smaller bodies, a more lightweight drone, …
What Gear Does Jeroen Use?
Photography & Videography
Below you can find a list of the camera equipment Jeroen uses on his photography endeavours.
- DJI Mavic 3 Classic
This very capable drone was the obvious next step after flying a DJI Air 2S and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro. The latter even partially melted flying too close to a volcano. He really enjoys the extended battery life and excellent image quality.
- Canon EOS R6
Jeroen uses two Canon EOS R6’s as his main stills and video cameras. He especially enjoys using these cameras and find it has no shortcomings for what he is using it for. To him its greatest advantages are the form factor, weight, terrific autofocus system and excellent image quality.
- Canon RF 14-35mm f/4 IS USM L
This small, light-weight, ultra-wide angle lens is one of the best additions to his gear after he changed from his 16-35mm EF lens. The fact that it’s a stabilised lens is a welcome feature in addition to the sharpness. He also wrote a short review on this lens.
- Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM
Jeroen has always enjoyed using big telephoto lenses and this 100-500mm lens was the obvious lens to get after he switched to the EOS R system. The stabilisation together with the brilliant sharpness makes this a dream lens to own for all wildlife + landscape photographers.
- Kase Revolution Circular Magnetic Filters
Jeroen rarely uses filters but when he does, he wants them to be as small and compact as possible. These magnetic filters have zero color casting and have a super handy magnetic system. This means there’s no more need to screw on filters.
- DJI Mic
To make my YouTube videos Jeroen decided to go for an easy to use, no nonsense, wireless microphone kit. He looked into many different models and the DJI Mic stuck with him.
Below you can find a list of the other equipment Jeroen uses on his photography endeavours.
- f-stop Ajna DuraDiamond (50l) backpack
- Peak Design Capture Clip
- Leofoto LS-284CEX tripod
- Leofoto VH-30-R tripod head
- Rode VideoMicro
Previously Owned Gear
Jeroen has owned and used a lot of different gear throughout the years.
- DJI Mavic
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- DJI Air 2S
- Canon AV-1 (analog)
- Canon EOS 550D
- Canon 6D
- Canon 5D Mark IV
- Canon EOS R
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III
- Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM
- Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM
- Tamron 70-300mm SP F/4.0-5.6 Di VC USD
- Samyang 14mm F/2.8 Aspherical IF ED UMC Canon
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
- Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM II
- Canon 1.4X Extender III
Awards & Certifications
Below you can find a list of relevant awards, nominations, certifications and selections throughout Jeroen’s photography career.
- Honourable Mention in the Wildlife category at the reFocus 2022 One Shot Photo Contest (awarded by reFocus – September 2022)
My photography Hungry Puffin got an honourable mention at the reFocus awards. The complete contest results can be seen on the reFocus One Shot Awards website.
- Silver Award in the Abstract category at the reFocus 2022 One Shot Photo Contest (awarded by reFocus – September 2022)
My photography Lava Dragon got a Silver Award (2nd place) in the Wildlife category at the reFocus awards. The complete contest results can be seen on the reFocus One Shot Awards website.
- First Place in Abstracts at World Landscape Photographer 2022 (awarded by WLP – July 2022)
My photograph Lava Dragon got first place in the Abstracts category at the World Landscape Photographer 2022 awards.
- Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2021 (selected by Capture The Atlas)
Selected by Capture The Atlas as a Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2021 with my Volcanic Aurora Borealis photograph, taken at the eruption in Geldingadalir.
- Canon Young Talent 2021 (selected by Canon Belgium)
Selected by Canon Belgium as one of 2021’s Young Talents. I got the opportunity to speak at the Photo Days in Brussels, Belgium.
- PX3 – Silver Award in the Nature/Landscape category (awarded by Prix de la Photographie Paris – June 2018)
Obtained the a Silver Award at Prix de la Photographie Paris 2018 awards.
- PX3 – Honorable Mention in the Nature/Landscape category (awarded by Prix de la Photographie Paris – June 2018)
Obtained an honorable mention at Prix de la Photographie Paris 2018 awards.
- Land und Meer Fotowettbewerb 2016 (awarded by CEWE and Land Und Meer magazine – April 2017)
First prize in the Land und Meer Fotowettbewerb, a German magazine (link to the publication).
- Finalist at FEP Photographer of the Year Awards 2016 (awarded by FEP – March 2016)
Certified finalist in the landscape category at the FEP European Professional Photographer of the Year awards 2016.
- FEP Landscape Merit Award 2016 (awarded by FEP – March 2016)
Obtained the FEP Landscape Merit Award at the FEP European Professional Photographer of the Year Awards 2016.
- EP Qualification (awarded by FEP – December 2015)
The European Photographer (EP) qualification aims to recognise competence and a professional standard for those who earn their lives as Professional Photographers. It is designed to complement the lack of a specific title to uphold the professional status.
Publications & Press
Below you can find a list of relevant press publications for Jeroen’s photography career.
- 3 Op Reis – Meradalir (BNNVara – 05/02/2023 – Footage starting at 08:00)
- Assenaar exposeert met wereldvermaarde foto’s van Ijslandse natuur (Ring TV – 22/10/2022)
- Jeroen (35) schoot adembenemende beelden op rand van uitbarstende vulkaan, nu stelt hij zijn mooiste IJslandse natuurfoto’s tentoon (Nieuwsblad – 20/10/2022)
- IJs, vuur en Asse (Randkrant – oktober 2022 – 01/10/2022)
- Fotografie in IJsland – Puur, net als de natuur (Shoot magazine nummer 98 – 31/08/2022)
- See Iceland Aglow in Volcanic Eruptions (Scientific American – Digital: 28/08/2022 – Print: 01/11/2022 )
- Het vastleggen van de nieuwe aarde (Natuurfotografie.nl magazine nummer 61 – 14/08/2022)
- Breathtaking Film and Photos of Iceland’s Recent Volcanic Eruption (PetaPixel – 09/08/2022)
- Belgische fotograaf maakt knappe beelden van lava spuwende Fagradalsfjall (De Standaard – 09/08/2022)
- Belgische fotograaf maakt spectaculaire beelden van vulkaanuitbarsting in IJsland (Het Laatste Nieuws – 08/08/2022)
- Indrukwekkend natuurschoon: Belgische fotograaf filmt uitbarsting van Fagradalsfjall in IJsland (VRT Nieuws – 08/08/2022)
- Photographing Adorable Arctic Fox Cubs Emerging From Their Dens (PetaPixel – 26/07/2022)
- Vurige Fotografie in New Earth (Shoot – 19/07/2022)
- ´Jeroen stond urenlang beelden te schieten op rand van uitbarstende IJslandse vulkaan en dat levert hem nu prestigieuze prijs op´ (Nieuwsblad – 15/07/2022)
- Capturing Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord Icebergs in Sub-Zero Temps (PetaPixel – 06/06/2022)
- Recensie New Earth (Natuurfotografie.nl – 02/04/2022)
- ‘Op IJsland mocht ik als jonge vader vier maanden thuis doorbrengen met mijn dochter’ (De Standaard – 12/03/2022)
- Fotograaf Jeroen (34) schoot wekenlang plaatjes van spectaculaire vulkaanuitbarsting (Nieuwsblad – 05/01/2022)
- La magie spectaculaire des aurores polaires (Paris Match – 14/12/2021)
- Dit zijn de mooiste foto’s van het noorderlicht van het jaar (Weekend Knack – 12/12/2021)
- The 25 best aurora pictures of 2021 (The Daily Mail – 10/12/2021)
- Les plus belles photos d’aurores polaires de 2021 selon le site Capture the Atlas (GEO France – 09/12/2021)
- Las mejores fotos de auroras boreales de 2021 (National Geographic Spain – 09/12/2021)
- Northern lights photographer of the year – in pictures (The Guardian – 07/12/2021)
- 15 Photos From the 2021 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year (PetaPixel – 07/12/2021)
- “Ik leef samen met de natuur en doe alles meer op m’n gemak” (Het Laatste Nieuws – 06/11/2021 & 18/11/2021)
- My Journey in Photographing Iceland’s Volcano Eruption Over 10 Weeks (PetaPixel – 16/06/2021)
- Het moment waar Jeroen al vijf jaar op wachtte: “Alles rondom ons werd rood. Overweldigend” (Nieuwsblad – 05/06/2021)
- Vlaming wacht vijf jaar voor hij perfect kiekje kan maken: “Een geweldig gevoel” (Het Belang Van Limburg – 05/06/2021)
- “De natuur doet het grootste deel van mijn werk, ik leg alleen vast wat ik heb gezien” (Magazine) (Vlamingen in de Wereld – 11/05/2021)
- Iceland’s Eruption and the Northern Lights Captured in One Photo (PetaPixel – 26/04/2021)
- Photographing Volcanic Eruption Up-Close and Personal (Fstoppers – 28/03/2021)
- Dramatic Images and Film Document the Beauty of Iceland’s Lava Flow (PetaPixel – 24/03/2021)
- Indrukwekkende beelden: natuurfotograaf Jeroen fotografeert vulkaanuitbarsting in IJsland (Radio 2 – 23/03/2021)
- Jeroen maakt waanzinnige, unieke beelden van vulkaanuitbarsting in IJsland (Brabants Dagblad – 22/03/2021)
- IJslandse Belg maakt machtige beelden vlak bij vulkaankrater (Het Laatste Nieuws & VTM Nieuws – 22/03/2021)
- Vlaming maakt unieke beelden van vulkaanuitbarsting in IJsland (Nieuwsblad – 21/03/2021)
- Knappe foto’s tonen Asse van uit de lucht (Nieuwsblad – 20/07/2015)
- Jeroen Van Nieuwenhove opent vanavond eerste fototentoonstelling in cc Asse (Nieuwsblad – 20/03/2015)
- Fotograaf uit Asse verbaast met knappe IJsland-foto’s (Nieuwsblad – 15/01/2015)
- Asse omgetoverd in prachtig sneeuwlandschap (Nieuwsblad – 28/12/2014)