Author: youngnaturephotographers

10 May 2018

Feeding the Vision by Bruno d’Amicis

If I should name the thing that makes visual arts really unique then I would choose the importance of previsualization occurring in the artist’s mind. More than the mastering of a specific technique or an exceptional taste for composition, this is such a peculiar skill, which one must develop personally in order to temporarily transcend from the self and visualize something that is actually invisible, but likely to happen, and thus plan the next move to capture and recreate it in a piece of art. As amazing as this can sound, there is no magic involved nor some sort of practice smelling of New Age, but instead something lying super deeply in our genes.

Our very ancestors, prehistoric hunter-gatherers, in fact, have regularly practiced this for millennia. They were keen on observing their wildlife prey or competitors, which they would later depict on cave walls. They carried into the caves a strong mental image of the animals within themselves. In doing this transformation some sort of trance was involved. More than an ecstatic stage, this could have been something like a deep concentration leading to an intellectual communication with the outer world – shamanism? We think that they prepared themselves for hunting by previsualizing and thus predict the (yet invisible!) animal moves, and so effectively plan the following chase. For them, carrying out a succesful hunt was a matter of survival and thus knowledge of the outer world and of the species living in it was everything. This tradition dates as back as 32,000 years ago, at least: the age of the graffiti found in the famous cave “Chauvet” of France.

Needless to say, all this easily applies to wildlife photography. The late photographer Galen Rowell in one of his essays poignantly wrote about the importance of “seeing from the heart” as basis to take a memorable image. An image that he explains is born deep in ourselves but which somehow eventually “happens” in front of our camera. Our job, then, is to conceive this mind picture; exploit our knowledge of the subject or the area in order to be at the right place at the right time and put in practice our very best technique to translate this image into a timeless photograph of it. Something to preserve the moment and share it with others. Doesn’t it sound familiar?

Nobody invents anything new, we all know that, but it fascinates me to think that with our beloved passion we are simply keeping on doing what people started practicing thousands and thousands of years ago. After all, wasn’t a renowned cave art expert, Jean Clottes, to define art as “the projection of a strong mental image on the world”?

Yet, despite this ancient and amazing adaptation of our advanced primate brain, each of us shows a different way to undertake this process. And is this very individual approach to the realization of a previsualized image is what we call “style”. In a nutshell, the influence of personal vision on some physical and technical moves/choices.

But then, how is this “vision” born? As a wildlife enthusiast, I subconsciously started nurturing my imagination already a child. Beautiful book illustrations and cartoons on TV shaped my first perception of the natural world. Later, with magazines and nature documentaries, but also with movies and fictionary literature, my mind bestiary grew and with this the empirical scenery in which I now move and operate as a photographer. My greatest passion is to look for rare and skittish species and photograph them in their habitat. As also many of you surely know, it is so difficult to portray something that demands so much work just to be seen… To achieve this, everything must first start in the mind. The process begins with me fantasizing of something – an image from the past that lied somewhere in my grey matter pops out and triggers an idea. I then strive to make that idea (my vision) meet reality by phisically and intellectually operate. Surely, this happens only sometimes, but everything is about that powerful drive that comes from inside. Photography becomes then a mere excuse: the fullfillment is all in the process. To better explain this, let me borrow again some words from a French, my friend and photographer, Laurent Nedelec: “My favourite process starts with a dream of a picture. I then undertake my quest with the subject and, when it all comes together, it ends with a memorable picture. It enriches myself.” Amen.

Although this could probably seem belonging to some purely individual experiences, it surely does not apply only to wildlife photography. This process deals also with all the other unpredictable variables (light, weather, timing, etc.) that we desperately try to control as outdoor photographers. We shall keep ourselves aware that there is not only luck nor technique behind a great image or a good photographer. Remarkable pictures start in fact already from the darkest corners of our mind and thrive on the soil fertilized by real life experiences. This precious vision is naturally born with us and it can surelly molds our actions. But is our responsability to keep on feeding it everyday with the emotions nature provide us with.

Website: brunodamicis.com

Instagram: @brunodamicisphoto

 

*Many thanks to Bruno D’Amicis in name of Young Nature Photographers community for his contribution with this article.

14 Apr 2018

The feelings behind – Jan Leßmann

Jan Leßmann
Young nature photographer (b. 1993) from Germany, based in Greifswald

Nature photography is a way for me to tell stories. Stories about the beauty of nature, destruction of nature and about the little things in your personal environment. My often abstract pictures try to highlight individual elements of the great chaos, create new visions and draw attention to them. In a minimalistic way, I can let my creativity run in photography. Often I let myself be guided by my surroundings, let myself be inspired and go into the landscape without a goal. Nevertheless, I sometimes look for certain pictures that fit together and create a larger story about a specific topic. My favorite picture is about a barn swallow flying over the water. The picture combines all the qualities that I seek in photography. Minimalism, Love to Nature and a story to tell.

At the moment I started a project about our relationsship with our environment. What is nature? Are we part of it? Why do we alyways thinking in terms of “Man” and “Nature”? We are part of a big ecosystem, interacting with life surrounding us. There should be no difference between “nature” and “agriculture”. Why do we subdivide our landscape into national parks with untouched nature without human influence and hostile, agriculturally used land in which humans have great impact? Agriculture should be part of our environment, providing living resources for all the living communities, including the human species.

 

The Picture

I was at a meeting of the GDT at Kummerower See in Northeast-Germany, where we started together early in the morning for a photo tour. Unfortunately the expected fog was not there, the birds did not act interesting and after some time we slowly started our way back home. With the thoughts already at breakfast we waited for our small ship, which brought us back to the opposite shore. Out of the corner of the eye I noticed several barn swallows flying close to the water, always in the same circles. With a certain image in my head, I put myself close to the edge of the river with the wide-angle lens and waited for the swallow. After some time they got used to me and past me very close. With a 1/4000 second I was finally able to capture the swallow and its shadow. If you look closely you can also see the mosquito, which is hunted by the swallow. The special thing about this photo is that it was absolutely unexpected and unplanned. We were already on the way back from our photo tour, the light was hard and conditions were not perfect. Especially in such moments I like nature photography. With open eyes and a free mind good pictures can be created regardless of the light and the situation.

 

Discover more in his website: www.janlessmann.de

11 Apr 2018

Interview – Lasse Kurkela

Lasse Kurkela (b. 2003)  is a young nature photographer from Southern Finland and he has been interested in nature and animals most his life. Lasse with his family has spent a lot of time out in nature. Lasse has received several awards for his photographs.

He have been awarded in many international nature photography competitions and he received recently a very special distinction, the annually environmental achievement award from his home town in Finland.

 

Hello Lasse, first of all, thanks for joining youngnaturephotographers community! We have prepared few questions for you, to know more about you and about your passion, nature photography. Here we go!

 

First things first. When this adventure started? When your passion for nature photography began.

I started photography because my father did it and i wanted to try it with him. – By the age 7 years Lasse started increasingly to photograph nature. Soon after he was traveling with his father around Finland and other Nordic countries photographing nature and animals.

 

What you enjoy the most about nature photography?

Most I enjoy seeing the animal or landscape after a long wait or preparations, then seeing the good photos in my camera


What is your next shot, what you would like to photograph…to travel…

I’d like to see a lynx but so far it has been too difficult.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the beauty of nature.

What is the best photo tip / recommendation that ever have told you?

The best tip I’ve heard is to be patient and humble.

 

What is your favourite picture?

My favorite picture is the wolverine and magpie, I was 9 years old when i took it.


Could you explain an exciting or memorable story lived on the field?

For sure!

In late October 2015 our friends told us that suddenly at their photohide they have seen wolves visiting, confirmed by automatic remote game camera. Two days later me and my father travelled the long 7 hours car drive to spend the weekend at that photohide in middle of remote forest, so just wolves around us.
During the long car drive on one Friday evening the owner of the photohide forwarded us frequently photographs from his automatic remote game camera placed at the photohide. Pack of five wolves was nearby the photohide most of the afternoon and evening. Latest game camera photographs arrived just 15min before we parked our car on side of a remote forest road, some 1km away from the hide. I walked very quietly towards the hide with my father in completely darkness and hoped that we wouldn´t scare the pack of wolves away when we were getting closer to the photohide.

-Scary to some, but not for a young nature photographer, … next morning Lasse got this photo: 

Another story…During the last couple years I have spent well over 50 days in photohides in trying to capture some photographs of wolves. Most of the times I have not gotten any photographs, but hoped for better luck next time. It has been particularly difficult to capture winter photographs. Winter of 2014-2015 I was total of 14 days in photohides hoping to be able to take photographs of wolves on snow. Out of those days I saw a wolf, between sunrise and sunset, only once – and this is the wolf.

This photograph was taken on 18. October 2014 from a photohide in remote forests of Joensuu, East Finland, nearby the Russian border. The frost on the ground is due to very cold morning temperature, -17 C°. I had been overnighting in the photohide with my father for the second night already. During the night we didn’t have heating on, because any smell, sound or light could have scared the wolves. Luckily I had a new very warm winter sleeping bag…
When I woke up that morning I saw the pack of wolves far away in the distance, but unfortunately they all left just before sunrise. We had already decided to leave the photohide, but luckily we waited for some more time as this young wolf in the photograph suddenly appeared almost one hour after the pack of wolves had left the area.

This wolf came straight towards the photohide from the forest behind. The wolf took some time to observe perhaps for the other wolves and also tried to capture ravens irritating him. Luckily my camera was pointing towards the wolf and I quickly started to take photographs carefully one by one, with my camera set in quiet mode and wrapped with some textiles to further reduce shutter noise.


On our way back home my father told me, that he had been very worried that moment, that I would somehow miss this unique opportunity to photograph the wolf, by using some wrong camera settings. Afterwards he saw from my photographs that I didn’t – and I guess he is also happy to be here today with me

Short story for this: https://lassekurkela.kuvat.fi/kuvat/Palkittuja+valokuvia+…+Awarded+photographs/20130901-_LD41944.jpg

 

What you would like to share with other young nature photographers?

Mainly what I would like to share with other photographers is to Be patient and enjoy the moment, and don’t expect too much from yourself.

Working in something new?

Not really, we travel as we please and based on current events.

What photographers inspire you?

Hannu Hautala and Eero kemilä, both are very experienced photographers.

Many thanks for the interview Lasse. We wish you the best!

You can find our more about Lasse at:  www.lassekurkela.kuvat.fi

05 Apr 2018

Hi! That’s Young Nature Photographers community

Young nature photographers (YNP) is an international community of young nature photographers, a platform to facilitate connections and meetings among all its members.

YNP aims to promote respect and love for our environment, discovering and showing all its treasures and biodiversity through the photos taken by the upcoming photographers.

We can also help partner organizations or sponsors in other cities and countries host local YNP events and welcome any inquiries in this regard.

YNP is an original program developed by Pangea International, a non-profit organization based in Spain, founded in 2018.

Pangea International aims to promote and broadcast the art of photography and to contribute to the environmental defense, the conservationism and the environmentalism.