We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Tatiana Pechenina (@pechenina) describes her passion for photography and how it has influenced her travels.

I’m from a town called Kolomna, Russia, which is about 100 km outside Moscow. I started taking photos when I was in high school — I got my first camera when I was 16 or 17 and just started experimenting with it. Now photography has become my biggest passion in life. 

I’ve always loved going to new places and taking pictures. When I was a child, I traveled a lot with my parents, and they would always take photos of the places we visited. Though I started by simply taking pictures of my everyday experiences, I eventually began to tackle more interesting subject matter — I traveled by myself to new locations to capture beautiful moments. Eventually, my photography went from being a small project to something much bigger.

As a tourist, I like to see the most famous places in the countries I visit, but now I’ve also started looking for more interesting places, such as cafés, small shops, and nice little streets. Or I’ll go into nature to see lakes, mountains, and spectacular scenery.

When I first started taking photos I wasn’t consciously thinking about composition, framing, or timing. But I learned a lot by studying other travelers’ photography. Now I try to capture images that are more interesting and have started looking at the world around me in a more unusual way.

I’m a bit lazy when it comes to editing, but it can be like meditation when I’m in the right mood. I’m not a big fan of airbrushing, changing the sky, adding flying birds or Northern Lights, or altering photos in any massive way. I don’t want to show my viewers something that never happened in real life. But there’s nothing wrong with making a photo a little brighter or more colorful, or cropping out unnecessary details. In that way, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

Photography is a reason to go places I’ve never seen before. Take Aomori, Japan — it’s far from Tokyo so many tourists don’t go there. I had never gone to Moscow in the wintertime until photography led me there. I end up seeing a lot of beautiful places because I want to get good photos. While I don’t always get the perfect image, it doesn’t matter. For me, photography has opened a door to the world.