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  • Look Deeper: On a mission to explore Europe beneath the surface with travel photographer Tomas Sentpetery

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    It’s safe to say that many of us will be familiar with Europe’s popular travel destinations, but not many will be aware of what lies underneath these places.

    Tomas Sentpetery isn’t your average photographer. An adventurer with a vibrant photographic style and far-reaching travel experience, has allowed Tomas to capture some of Europe’s most impressive landmarks throughout his career.

    Yet Tomas enjoys discovering more hidden and unexplored places, looking for new angles and perspectives that will challenge photographers and travelers alike to experience something different.

    An original photography series, released by Nikon, sees Tomas use Nikon cameras and lenses to ‘look deeper’, delivering powerful images of Europe’s popular travel destinations, from both above and below the surface.

    The results? Well, they’re pretty special.

    By Tomas Sentpetery

     

    Tomas Sentpetery, alternative travel photographer
    Self-taught professional travel photographer, Tomas Sentpetery, on a mission to explore what’s underneath Europe’s travel destinations


    An original approach to travel

     

    There are hidden worlds all around us, so for this project, I was keen to show there is more to tourist destinations than we might expect.

     

    The five European tourist destinations I visited – London, Paris, Krakow, Naples and Spain’s southern coast – are havens for travellers and travel photographers, gracing the viewfinder of many cameras over the years thanks to their diverse cultures and world-famous landmarks.

     

    However, there is always more to places than we might initially see, which is why, armed with a selection of NIKKOR FX and DX lenses and Nikon camera bodies, I explored and captured some of the extraordinary places that live beneath these familiar locations.

    Aldwych underground , London secrets, London's Big Ben, travel photography, look deeper, city secrets
    London’s Big Ben & the abandoned Aldwych underground station
    Above ground image: A F-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

     

    Barrio de Cuevas in Guadix, Spain secrets, travel photography, look deeper, travel secrets
    Barrio de Cuevas in Guadix, Spain, housing Europe’s largest cave complex
    Above ground image: AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

     

    What lies beneath  

     

    From the abandoned passageways of London’s underground network to the stunning Wieliczka salt mines near Krakow, via the expanse of Spain’s Barrio de Cuevas, the largest troglodyte cave complex in Europe, Tomas’ images show there are still unexpected places just waiting to be explored.

     

    The locations I visited throughout my travels provided an interesting visual disconnect between the familiar, bright and vibrant above ground locations, compared to some fascinating places lying just below the surface that boast their own powerful history and charm.

     

    The Wieliczka salt mine was a real highlight for me. Who’d have thought that hiding underground the Krakow metropolitan area – just a 45 minute drive from the city centre – would be one of the most valuable monuments of culture in Poland? A mine that, reaching depths of 327 metres and featuring 178 miles of underground passages, was nothing short of an underground salt metropolis! Chambers chiselled out of rock salt, underground saline lakes, unique salt sculptures and majestic timber constructions – it was incredibly photogenic.

     

    I also loved exploring the beautiful and colourful coastlines of the Naples region – a place I have already booked to go back and explore later this year.

     

    Krakow secrets, Wieliczka salt mines, travel photography, look deeper, travel secrets
    Above ground in Krakow and the Wieliczka salt mines, located near the city
    Above ground image: AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

     

    Naples secrets, underground travel photography, look deeper, travel secrets
    Ancient Bourbon Tunnels wind beneath the region of Naples
    Above ground image: AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

     

    The right kit for the right shot

     

    Whatever you’re shooting, you must have the right tools to make the most of the environment and subjects around you.

     

    This is especially the case when you’re on your feet all day exploring different cities – the last thing you want to happen is realise the perfect lens for a certain shot is sitting in your hotel room. For this project, I had to think smart. I used NIKKOR DX lenses on the Nikon D7500 to photograph the ‘surface’ of Europe’s travel destinations*, and NIKKOR FX lenses on the flagship Nikon D850 to capture beyond this.

     

    The Nikon D850’s combination of resolution, speed and light sensitivity and impressive ISO range of 64-25600 meant it was perfect for bringing out colours in low-light environments. It was ideal for exploring spaces like the disused Aldwych underground station and the historic Les Catacombes of Paris.

     

    I paired this with the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED – a mixture of super-fast wide-angle and versatile prime lenses, perfect for helping me exaggerate perspectives in often quite tight interiors.

     

    Above ground, the D7500 is the ideal camera for any discerning adventurer – lightweight, with a slimline tilting monitor which allows photographers to focus and shoot from even the most challenging of angles.

     

    The AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED’s high optical design meant it was ideal for capturing landscapes, while the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR and AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR’s lightweight design helped with handheld shooting on the move. Pairing these with the D7500 allowed me to adapt to the challenges of each location with ease.

     

    Paris secrets, Paris Musées’ Les Catacombes, underground, alternative travels, travel photography, look deeper, travel secrets
    Parisian city views stand above Paris Musées’ Les Catacombes de Paris
    Above ground image: AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED.

     

    Kings Cross, Renaissance Hotel secrets, London secrets, underground, alternative travels, travel photography, look deeper, travel secrets
    The historic Renaissance Hotel sits above London Postal Museum’s disused Rail Mail
    Above ground image: AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
    Below ground image: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED.

     

    You must enter these places with an open mind and a willingness to push yourself and your equipment to find the hidden beauty within every space.

    For me, this project highlights the importance of doing your research before you travel and not being afraid to look that little bit deeper. With the right kit and a thirst for adventure it’s possible to deliver stand-out travel photography.

     

    A full list of the equipment Tomas used during the shoot:

     

     

    *London Big Ben image taken on the Nikon D800 and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED

     

    About Tomas Sentpetery

    Slovakian-born and London-based photographer, Tomas Sentpetery, is an experienced landscape and portrait photographer. His vibrant photographic style is characterised by shots of London’s famous landmarks framed by dramatic skies. Tomas has also travelled extensively across Europe and relishes uncovering hidden and unexplored places. With his latest image series, Tomas hopes to engage and inspire travel photographers to ‘look deeper’ when embarking on their next adventure.