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Juan Carlos MuŮoz

My camera became an easy tool to keep nature close to me.

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Featured Photographer

Juan Carlos MuŮoz

About

All my life I loved the birds and the wild. Ever since I was a teenager I didnít enjoy clubs and discos that much. I spent most of my free time in the countryside. I felt quite good doing long walks into the forests, climbing mountains and watching birdsÖ When I finished my degree in Biology - with a major in Ecology - photography turned into a professional way to show the most wonderful landscapes and wildlife of the world. As a biologist I wanted to tell the people about our natural heritage. I donít like speaking in front of an audience or teaching biology. I just want to have a look with my camera and push the buttonÖ After eighteen years doing it professionally today itís still amazing!

I guess the personal vision I show with my photos of landscapes and animals is based on my patience. I always try to capture a special atmosphere, the natural spirit of our planet. My house is situated in a green valley in Northern Spain. I feel quite good living over there, we chose it. However, I need to travel, always with my cameras, to feel alive.

Website: www.artenatural.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
I have my degree in Biology and photography is my way of staying close to my passion: the wild side of our planet. Moreover, I love trekking very much and ornithology.

What's best about it?
For me itís amazing to discover new places, to make an effort to raise a beautiful landscape or to shoot the wildlife at the best moment. I never hesitate to try one more time, if I have the chance to. Only the disponibility of time puts limits to shoot another time. The most gorgeous experience with nature photography is that you feel free to choose where you are going and what you are doing.

What's worst about it?
To live of nature photography is quite hard. This work is very dificult to put a value on. Most often people donít see the great effort you have to take in the wild to capture the image.
Likewise the changes when your are away from home are quite heavy. Different countries, people, meals, hotel rooms at the end of the dayÖ and even worse: you donít have your family around you, your books, the relaxed feeling of your houseÖhome, sweet sweet home. Sometimes I feel really tired after working in a hideÖ but when I see the photos, they encourage me to do it again.

I had my worst experience when trying to shoot mountain gorillas. The bloody war between Tutsis and Hutus was at boiling point. I was in Uganda and every rental car wanted to cross the border with the old Zaire. I walked alone with my luggage and equipment. I saw the terrible situation of the refugees of Goma camp. Afterwards I shot the mountain gorillas. Iíll never forget the cruel situation of these people and the vulnerability of the amazing mountain gorillas.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
I love the big concentrations of Gannets. The friendly attitude of Great grey owls. The colourful colonies of Flamingos. About all I love to shoot the Great bustard. I have spent great moments during the mating season and the gorgeous display of this spectacular Spanish bird. The Arctic is my most amazing background of Europe. When it comes to landscapes I love the mediterranean oak forests and the great fall colours of the northern deciduous forests of Spain. For a long time Iíve been publishing a lot of photos of my passion: landscape photography. Now, with the digital technology, Iíve done a lot of shots of wildlife and I hope to keep growing with it.

What's in the bag?
I never forget my tripod and binoculars. During most of my trips I bring a second camera body. It depends on the journey and the place. Always in my bag: my favourite music and a small seahorse. The first time I travelled without my wife she lent me her lucky charm. Since then the seahorse always travels in my pocket.

Your specialities / skills?
I suppose my long professional trajectory show a fit image of myself. I usually travel a lot in Europe and all over the world. Iím a reference among the spanish nature photographers.
Iím steady in my opinions. Sometimes that is a problem because you loose some assignments but until today I never regretted this attitude. I donít want to be the winner with my photos. Iím a quiet man. I just want to show a different sight of the world. I want to keep in my image a situation unique and unrepeatable. I love to share the country work with the people who love doing it. Above all itís quite good to meet other photographers. Wild Wonders is for me an excellent situation to reflect about the great wild side of our continent. And that is a kind of heritage which can just be shown in great images. I hope I always felt a 'wild wonders spirit'.

What will you do in your next life?
Can I repeat it? Probably I will be a nature photographerÖ

3 tips for beginners
1) Be quiet and donít run.
2) In the wild you must be respectful with the elements.
3) First you must know the place then you must choose the best moment. And day after day you must bring your bag home full of illusions and dreams.

Mission

About the gannetry of Bass Rock, Scotland, UK
I went there almost twenty years ago. After that first time Iíve been there several times. Always when I return one more time I feel an astonishing moment. To be surrounded by thousands and thousands of gannets, itís quite amazing. You have a lot of opportunities to shoot them. You feel so excited that you canít stop.

About the Red Kite Roost and Common Buzzard, Wales.
I heard a lot about this site and everything seems interesting. Iíll try to be the most creative photographer on the site but I know the limitations of the subject and the place.

Best Picture

Best Picture
Great Bustard male displaying. Steppe of Extremadura, Spain © Juan Carlos MuŮoz

What's cool about it?
This is one of the most emblematic spanish birds. Itís the heaviest flying bird. Look at itís feathers, the colours, the size of the animal, the heavy backgroundÖ everything likes me so much. During a lot of years it has been my personal challenge.

Could it be better?
Yes, of course. Always you can do it better. Iím going to Extremadura every year during the courtship season and I try it one more time as I did with the first photo.

Behind the Scene
The most hard moment is when you arrive to the hide at the end of the night before the day gets up. Everything is dark around you, you feel the coldest of the night over your shoulders and the stomach needs a warm cup of coffeeÖ

After all the day shooting the best moment arrives at the evening. Because around the Great Bustard always I meet good friends. We enjoy shooting together, sitting around a good dinner everyday, speaking about nature photography and rising the friendship.

Date: 31st March,2005
Location: Extremadura, Spain
Gear: Canon 20D, 500 mm/4 Canon + 1.4x converter, 1/200 f/5,6, ISO 200.

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