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My name is Jeroen and I’m a Belgian nature photographer who specialises in photographing wildlife and landscapes with great passion. I have been living in Iceland since 2016, using it as my base to explore and capture the raw beauty of the land of fire and ice and the Arctic region in its entirety.
How I ended up finding my passion for photography, sold my things and migrated to a beautiful, but cold, rock in the North Atlantic.
Fascination With the Arctic
I found my passion for photography very early on when I discovered an analog Canon SLR (the Canon AV-1) in my parent’s attic at the age of 10. Learning how to use it, caused me to be immediately fascinated by photography. Complementing that fascination, I was fortunate enough to travel with my parents to unspoiled, and sometimes distant, countries such as South Africa, Canada and Norway during my childhood. Those travels, together with the many National Geographic and BBC Earth documentaries I watched, developed my respect and admiration for nature tremendously.
In 2012, after discovering the raw beauty of the Icelandic nature through the Sígur Rós music DVD ‘Heima’, I travelled to Iceland for the first time with my local scouts group. After arriving to the country, we stepped on a bus and started our journey by hiking the Laugavegur trail. This 4-day experience in the Icelandic Highlands deeply changed something in me. This change is very difficult to describe to people who have not experienced it themselves. It was as if I no longer felt at home in my own country. As if someone turned a switch in my head causing me to realise, I was not where I was supposed to be. It took me a long time to truly understand this new feeling. In search of an explanation, I kept travelling to Iceland again and again, hoping it would help me find my place.
Jumping Into the Deep End
After about a dozen trips, I decided I had enough of travelling back and forth several times per year. I kept wondering what it would be like to build a life there. Some time in early 2015, I decided for myself I had to give it a shot and started preparing this next chapter in my life. This change in thinking came after I realised I would probably only regret that which I would not even have tried. After all, in my mind, the worst that could happen was that I would have had to return. I 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, I also met the person who I am now raising a wonderful daughter with.
In early 2016, I sold all my belongings and resigned from my job as an IT technician in a law firm. Shortly after, I bought a one way ticket to Reykjavík. I stepped onto the plane with a few suitcases and began my new life in Iceland. I quickly found a job in IT for a travel agency and picked up where I left off. To this day, I haven’t regretted this drastic change in my life for one second.
Photographic Writer’s Block
At the end of 2019, I started guiding for Belgian travel agency with the idea I would start up my 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 me to lose my drive to go out and photograph. I didn’t shoot as often as I wanted and I couldn’t find the energy to continue on with the constant upkeep of my social media accounts. At the end of 2020, I felt like I was in a kind of photographic writer’s block. It prevented me from pushing forward to my goal: owning my own photography-focused business.
Eruption of Inspiration
And when I least expected it, my drive and passion for photography was reinvigorated by a series of events I had never thought possible. At the end of December 2020, I was treated to polar stratospheric clouds, which was something I had been wanting to see for ages. A month later, after carefully planning my shoot, I 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 my life began: the eruption in Geldingadalir. All of these things combined, reinvigorated my lust for landscape photography.
Thanks to the Geldingadalir eruption, and my work surrounding it, 2021 became a milestone year in my photography career. Because of my dedication in photographing the eruption, I gained an increased interest in my work. This allowed me to finally take a big leap forward, one I dreamt of for many years. I started my own business in Iceland and became a full-time photographer and guide. At the end of 2021, I also released my first book, which is called New Earth – a Photographic Journey of the Geldingadalir Eruption.
What’s Important to Me
In my photography, I try to go by a few personal guidelines which have become increasingly important to me:
- It’s about the story. To me, 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. I try more and more to tell people that story. I try 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. I try to spend little time editing my photographs. I believe in trying to do as much as possible in-camera. This goes hand in hand with doing only basic processing on my photographs. I enjoy the struggle of witnessing that beautiful moment more than adjusting photographs and compositing them.
- Respecting that which I capture. I have the utmost respect for nature. I am landscape and wildlife photographer to show to people that which should be protected. I always try to convey that message to my audience and others I meet while being outside and photographing. In the age of social media, respecting nature, and telling 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 I use are important as they are the one thing allowing me to create my work. However, I try to stick to a minimal approach when it comes to gear. For example: I use only two lenses. I used to be that person who had every single focal length available and carried around a variety of lenses. But I found that a lot of gear only got into the way of photographing. I ended up spending a lot of time deciding what to shoot with, instead of just shooting. Limiting my available gear has only improved my photography. In addition, I’m always on the lookout for shrinking my gear: smaller lenses, smaller bodies, a more lightweight drone, …
What Gear Do I use?
For some of these items I have added affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase an item via such a link, I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Photography & Videography
Below you can find a list of the camera equipment I use on my photography endeavours.
This small little drone was the obvious next step for me after my DJI Mavic 2 Pro partially melted flying too close to a volcano. I really enjoy the light-weight form factor without compromising image quality.
I use two Canon EOS R6’s as my main stills and video cameras. I really enjoy using this camera and find it has no shortcomings for what I’m using it for. To me its greatest advantages are the form factor, weight, terrific autofocus system and excellent image quality.
This small, light-weight, ultra-wide angle lens is one of the best additions to my gear after I changed from my 16-35mm EF lens. The fact that it’s stabilised is a welcome feature in addition to the sharpness. I also wrote a short review on this lens.
I have always enjoyed using big telephoto lenses and this 100-500mm lens was the obvious lens to get after I 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.
I rarely use filters but when I do, I want 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.
Below you can find a list of the other equipment I use on my photography endeavours.
- f-stop Tilopa DuraDiamond (50l) backpack
- Peak Design Capture Clip
- Leofoto LS-324C tripod
- Rode VideoMicro
Previously Owned Gear
I have also previously owned a DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Canon AV-1 (analog), Canon EOS 550D, Canon 6D, Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon EOS R as well as following assortment of lenses:
Awards & Certifications
Below you can find a list of relevant awards, nominations, certifications and selections throughout my photography career.
- 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 my photography career.
- 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)