Interview: Circling the Globe with Dr. Marcellian Tan to Capture the Untouched Beauty of the World

Medical doctor Marcellian Tan grew his passion for photography as an avid traveler with the desire to document his experiences. While circling the globe with his camera in hand, Dr. Tan has managed to capture photographs that truly reveal the beauty of a moment. He brings us into his reality with wonderfully dramatic landscapes and cinematic shots of subjects in their natural environment.

Preferring to rely on natural scenes over post processing, his meticulous attention to detail often finds him returning to locations, repeatedly in search of the most dramatic lighting and weather. Be it the rice fields of China, the streets of his home in Malaysia, or the barren volcanic landscape of Iceland, Dr. Tan inspires you to find places of untouched beauty and unmatched serenity.

Between his travels and his busy schedule, we were extremely grateful for the opportunity to talk more with Dr. Tan about his stunning photography for a Behind The Lens look into his portfolio.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey into photography?

I was born in Malaysia and am a medical doctor by profession. They call me Dr. Marc Tan! I would say l started my photography journey after l got my first camera, a Nikon D700 in December 2008. Prior to that l used my wife's Nikon D70 to shoot and to learn the photographic process. My passion for traveling helped me learn to take better photos.  As time went by l became more demanding and wanted to have more beautiful images. So l learnt from other famous photographers and also learned editing skills, etc

What are some of your interests?

Landscape is still my main interest in photography especially mountain scenes. l also do some street photography and shoot people in rural areas especially from the third world countries.

Your photos are rich with travel experience and adventure, what inspires you to keep creating? 

I am most inspired by the amazing untouched beauty of nature I've seen in this beautiful world. Beauty exaggerated in dramatic lighting.

What qualities do look for to make an incredible photograph? 

For landscape it's always about the location and weather; so having the right timing and knowledge of the vantage points are crucial to creating the perfect shot. Sometimes you have to go back to the same place continuously for a couple of days. I will also study photographs taken by other photographers and research how to get to that level.  It's all about composition and three things in the well composed image personally l think are; subject, lighting and details.

How do you find your subjects?

My subjects are anything that can catch one's eyes. 

You are an avid traveler with adventures in Italy, Iceland, and Nepal to name a few, what are some of your favorite places you've photographed?

My favourite place remains Italy, especially Tuscany and Dolomites.

You beautifully capture everything from landscapes to street photography to portraits, how would you define your style? What is your favorite thing about being a photographer?

As you can see, I like my images clean and vivid with a 3D feel. As for my favourite thing about being a photographer? I've enjoyed the first hand experience of all the wonderful places I've visited.

What message do you want your photographs to convey?

The world is such a beautiful place, I want my photographs to give my audience a sense of preserving and protecting nature. 

What challenges have you faced while creating?

I would say only weather! Weather has been the biggest challenge. 

What are some must haves in your gear bag?

I mostly use three lenses (wide angle, mid-range and telephoto zoom 70-200mm), a shutter remote and a sturdy tripod!

How much post processing goes into a completed photo?

I try to do minimal editing but l tend to spend a lot of time in post-processing!

What are your plans for the future?

My plan is simple – keep shooting new places l have never been and enter as many competitions as possible! 

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

To look at other photographer's photos and shoot more to improve from what you have seen in others and not be shy to ask.

Thank you so much Dr. Tan! If you would like to see more of this photographer's work, check out his website!

Are you a photographer? Would you like to be interviewed for the Behind The Lens series? Leave your links in the comments below!

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