Open Competition Winners: Surfing Festival By Raido Nurk


If you follow the Sony World Photography Awards, you already know Raido Nurk and his “Surfing Festival” picture😊He is the winner of the Estonian National Award 2022 and in the Motion category of Open Competition😊 I’m impressed by the “Surfing Festival” picture and was curious about its story, If also you’re very curious Raido’s and his picture story too and want to some tricks from him, let’s scroll down and discover more!


Firstly, we appreciate that you accepted our kindly interview request, and thank you for this chance to learn about you and your photography stories 😊 While I’m writing for the Open competition winners, really impressed by all pictures. To be honest, I couldn’t choose the best, because every picture is very beautiful from different perspectives and reflects life. That’s why I would like to learn the background of these pictures stories and here we are😊 If you’re ready, let’s start to divine up to your photography journey! 


  •    Let’s start with knowing about you more. Who is Raido? How can you describe yourself to people, you don’t know? 

I was born in Tallinn, Estonia. I have been interested in photography since an early age – I took my very first pictures with an old Smena camera when I was about 12 years old. I started pursuing photography more seriously around 2016 when I got myself my first camera  Canon 100D. Ever since then I have been dedicated to capturing various natural phenomena, landscapes, people, and more. My daily job allows me to manage my own schedule. Therefore, I had an opportunity to relocate to The Hague in the Netherlands. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time capturing the sea & amp; surfers – the Netherlands is an ideal spot for that. As kite surfing is one of my hobbies, photographing surfers has peaked my interest. I have been enjoying my new environment and found a lot of inspiration to continue my passion for photography. 


  • I checked your website and love every picture you added but my favorite is “Observer and Observable”. Because I like forest pictures, especially which combine with beautiful sky -view. Other side, tones of colors made attractive this picture more😊 You have different  kinds of many pictures in your portfolio so which kind of photos do you like to take mostly? 

  I like to photograph nature through my own minimalistic approach like fine art. Setting the  scene with an object or person gives perspective and depth. I like to find interesting or different angles, shades, lights, or patterns from land and air. Using a drone is another way for me to find and capture nature and people. 


  • You like to tag your photos like stormy evening, frozen waves, etc. Are you planning what kind of picture you will take before starting or are you capturing that moment?

  Depending on the weather and conditions around me. I get an idea of a feeling or atmosphere  I want to create. Some ideas come to me through inspiration and then I plan the shot beforehand to be able to create my vision when the conditions are right. The ideas and inspirations change in time- influenced by current conditions, emotions, and state of mind. 


  • It’s a funny question but I’m curious😊Everyone wants to have good and cool pictures. That’s why, do your friends say that as you’re a photographer, take my cool picture😊? 

(Thankfully) I do not have too many of those friends, but yes I have done some weddings and other projects, That has never been my goal or motivation, but it is something that comes  along with this field. 


  • Every country has beautiful nature, historic places, and attractive architecture. Is there a country where you would like to photograph every part of it? 

  This is a good question. It definitely changes over time as well. As I come from Estonia, I have discovered a lot of popular sites and hidden corners of it. Estonia has 4 seasons and  incredible nature – this has been a big inspiration for me. As of the World, Iceland and New Zealand captivate me with their incredible nature. There is a lot I have not seen yet and one of my near future goals is to go to Nazare, Portugal. I am curious to see the skilled surfers tackling some of the biggest waves in the world. 


  • Time to talk about competition😊Firstly, I would like to ask how did you decide to join the Sony World Photography Awards? When you applied for the competition, did you think you would win?


After years of countless photo trips, hikes, and adventures I decided it is time to sign up some of my photos for a competition. Sony WPO was open for submissions at that time and it is  the first one I’ve ever attended. I uploaded around 10 pictures for a few different categories. “Surfing Festival” was one of the pictures I submitted for the Motion category. Fun fact: I had some problems attaching the files, but I managed to upload the picture two minutes before the deadline. I am glad I did not give up. 


  • And here is the most I’m curious that what’s the story of “Surfing Festival”? I’m sure you remember that day with all tiny detail, can you mention that day with us? 

It rained a lot and it was quite cold. However, it was not really windy – I could hear very  clearly how the waves broke. I stood there for quite a while, till the point I could not feel most of my fingers and toes. I was there until there was no natural light left. It took quite some experimenting with the right settings/exposure to get all the layers sharp and as noiseless as possible. The conditions did not make that easy. 


  • What are your advice for people who don’t know too much information about photography? What’s your philosophy of photography? 

For beginners, I suggest going out every day, every free moment you have and just practice as much as you can to train your eye. Do not take photography too seriously. What I mean is that you have to enjoy the process, and give time for the process. It is really easy to make this like every other goal in your life, and to lose your path or compassion. But maybe it works the other way around for others 😊  


  • Photographers can take a picture same place and even the same thing but these pictures look different from each other for me. Because every photographer creates styles themselves. That’s why they try to catch different sides. Which details are important for you in the picture? What makes a good photograph? 

There has to be something new. It should evoke some emotion, or create new layers, colors or patterns, lines. Every detail should carry an idea and makes you think. 


  • Let’s finish our interview with your life motto. Your pictures make me feel like taking a deep breath. That’s why I thought your sentence can be “take a deep breath in every moment” Am I right😊 ? What’s your life motto you want to share with us? 

For creating something you have to have a room, room in every way, you have to have the time and space in your head to feel the surroundings or the scene that you are going to edit after taking the photos. So yes, that is surprisingly accurate – you need to take a breath and find the time and focus for getting on that flow. Photography is in its nature a “quite lonely field”, it is you and your camera. 

Kõrvemaa, sügis, väike sillaotsa järv, järv, mets, raba, Põhja-Kõrvemaa


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