Giedrius Lukoševičius, CTO & Technologist on Photography and Cycling

There are a few things that I love about photography. The world we live in is dynamic and forever changing. Each remarkable moment disappears in the past – capturing that moment allows you to go back in time and enjoy it once again. You can explore the scene and discover details usually hidden from your eyes (it’s like a “save” button). Then you can share it; we multiply our best feelings when we can share them. I like shots that add some emotions for the viewer and unveil the reality from some unusual point of view that is otherwise not seen. The best shots are made without any planning and preparation. Just a flash of the moment.

My name is Giedrius Lukoševičius. I am a family guy from Lithuania, passionate about modern technology and science. I am lucky enough to enjoy my work, and I have no sensible line separating it from my after-hours activities. My motto is “be different or die”. So, no grey colours. Let’s break old customs or habits. Do something in a new way. Monotony is a killer.

When I was initially choosing my profession, IT was something unknown and in its early stages. I got in touch with it accidentally when my classmate discovered a programming intro class at the local university. I had no idea what it was and what computers were at the time. We went to see what it was, and I was amazed that you can create something out of nothing. So the story began.

It was stormy times: our country regained independence, and I was lucky to join one of the new university courses crafted to match western programs. I spent four years getting an applied math bachelor with a strong IT background, and then two years in computer science. Since that time, I worked in many IT positions in small companies. I was doing development, leading teams, designing software architectures, doing business analysis, managing projects, selling, consulting, and so on – so basically, I was a jack-of-all-trades (sometimes, I was worried that this made me master of none). But years of experience allowed me to build a skill set combining both dev and business worlds. I still can’t easily answer what is my job. I prefer to describe it as “assuring IT projects success and making customers happy”. And yes, I am still coding and it still has that magic.

Outside of work, I love Photography and Cycling. I first became interested in photography when I was a teenager, and my godmother brought me a photo camera as a present. It was very basic; no automation. You had to do everything manually – exposure, aperture, focus – all without seeing the result instantly. My parents got me all the missing equipment needed to process the film and to make prints. It looks like the Stone Age now, but then again, it was fun and there was some magic in that. Colour processing was too complicated, so I was doing black-and-white only. The results were not outstanding initially. But I was learning step by step, mostly from my own mistakes. So, the camera became my friend. I passed the path through colour film with several automatic pocket cameras. And then digital cameras went on stage. My first one was a Canon S50 – this was a completely new world for experimenting and quick learning. The cycle of composing, taking pictures, and seeing the results was ridiculously shortened. No more 36 shot limit per film – you can now get 1000 per one go (then remove 900 and be happy with the remaining photos).

After some time, I was feeling ready for a DSLR. Since then, my travels became more complicated; I needed a backpack to carry several kilos of load wherever I go. Now, we’ve got smartphones. I use it for photos occasionally, but there’s no fun there. The quality is limited – they offer uber-high-megapixels, but nothing about actual optical resolution and colour space. All the cool tech is still just a tool. What I most like about photography is extracting some details, perspectives, and momentary states out of the time-space we are flowing in. A successful photo can tell the story. So the backpack is still with me!

Right now, I have a Nikon full-frame D750 with an “economy” Tamron zoom lens. I liked UX and software from Canon much more, but the D750 gives a combination of a semi-pro camera and an amateur-like built-in flashlight. That allows me to minimize my backpack load.

I mostly enjoy nature, sceneries, cityscapes, and architecture. I like taking daily-life shots, grabbing some otherwise invisible aspects of our life. Making photos of people is more challenging. To get the real shot, you need to be invisible – try doing this with a clumsy DSLR! Once, I was taking a photo of my wife from the distance on an old town street somewhere in Crete. I was trying to do this without her noticing it. And suddenly, the woman ran out of nowhere screaming “look – paparazzi, paparazzi!”, pointing at me and with a frightful face. That was funny to explain to her that all is good!

I don’t have any special favourite photo, but after a day with a camera, I am usually trying to find one that I love the most. Interestingly, my last photo I remember I liked was taken with a smartphone when I stopped for a short break near our city castle while cycling during the early morning. It was a foggy sunrise, a bit of surreal mystery where everything stood still. There was the statue of a medieval warrior riding the horse with the raised sword. And the sun was just in the right spot, giving the feeling that the warrior was bringing the light to the world. And it was exactly as from our national anthem:

“May the sun above our land

Banish darkening clouds around

Light and truth all along

Guide our steps forever”

I made a quick shot. Far from perfect composition, but it was with an emotion what I care about the most.

Looking at my other activity, I also enjoy cycling. During my childhood, I spent quite a lot of time riding a bike in my surroundings. However, I grew out of it and left cycling as a part of my ended-teenager life. Then about 6 years ago, my friend shared his cycling experiences. And I got hooked (again). Four bicycles now are landed in my garage – one for each family member.

With cycling, it is simply fun to go further and faster; I am not of the age where some sports record can be achieved! But yet, it is a bit of competition against myself to prove I can do better. And then, I discovered that cycling brings something more to my daily life. Even after-hours, I am usually busy doing some stuff, so cycling allows me to take a rest, clear the mind, be with just myself, and enjoy suburbs that are otherwise hidden.

In the summertime, my wife and I ride to the nearby forest almost every day. It is a short 1-hour long route, but it is a good, relaxing path. Once per week, usually early Sunday morning, I take the longer route. It is usually in a range of 50-70 km. My favourite path goes down the riverside up to our old town, then towards the passing confluence of our two biggest rivers. From that point, you are on the picturesque river route almost all the time. It ends at the little ancient church. Then you can go back or take a small ferry boat to enjoy the other bank route.

My children are grown up, so we usually are not cycling together. But once, we spontaneously planned a trip with my son. It had to be something basic, just for a couple of hours, to open the season. We had a 6-hour-long day out. We explored a ~100 km long route with several picnic stops. We cycled a mix of bike trails, a bit of highway, a bit of gravel road, a car ferry over the river, and some forest paths. It was a good time and something to remember.

I see some parallels between my occupation and hobbies. Photography is about creativity; software engineering is the same. The aesthetics of UI is backed by that from photography. On another hand, the IT world is always at a race, so it is a bit similar to cycling.

I do not feel that my photography/cycling hobbies are somehow directly helping my career. It’s more about the wider view. I think the more different and unrelated activities you have, the more idea fusion you can bring to your work. So you don’t actually need to look for similarities in your activities, but rather for differences. That makes your view wider.

My advice to anyone interested in photography is that you have to read some books to understand how real professionals do it. But still, you can get a great photo while breaking the “formal” rules. Experiment with your camera, try to see the world from an unexpected perspective, take zillions of shots, then analyse what you did wrong and what worked. The worst thing people can do is to think that a better camera automatically brings better results. Yes, it helps (sort of), but the person behind the camera is the most important component!

Similarly with cycling, do not focus on equipment too much. Find what makes you the happiest – competition with a friend, distance, relaxing route, or maybe exploring nature? It could be many things you will particularly like.

There is always more than tech, but it is not specifically about technologists. It’s more about sharing. I think you can be inspired by discovering what others like and do. Some tech ninjas can be too concentrated on their work and tech skills. Exploring what the community does can help distract you from work in a positive way. Sometimes, you have to stop and look around. There are so many interesting things in our world to try!

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