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Daniel Zupanc

...always discover what is behind the next hill. If there
are a lot of them, take a lot
of time!

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Featured Photographer

Daniel Zupanc

About

Since I was a child, my passion for nature and its inhabitants was always present. I grew up in Southern Austria, an area, where I could observe animals and discover beautiful places. My eyes have been my camera and there was no need for film. My life has changed drastically when I moved to Vienna to study biochemistry. Nice city, but no wild animals! What to do, if nature is somewhere else? I brought her into my home! I bought a camera and started to photograph nature. Finally, my love for it took me back to the place I came from. My parents understood my decision, but not why I took pictures with a camera! If some of you think that I have got talent for photography, then I can tell you: it’s not because of my parents!

Website: www.zupanc.at/

Interview

Why nature photography?
It simply makes me feel good! The silence of dawn, the sound of awakening nature, the excitement observing animals through the viewfinder, knowing it could happen something special and the magic when the light is dancing on the land till the sun is setting. And sometimes when everything is just right and a great image was born then I know exactly why nature photography! I have spent so many nice moments with my camera. Camera, do you want to marry me?

What's best about it?
Asking a nature photographer what is the best about his/her profession, is the same like asking “What’s the best about sex?”! It’s not just a satisfying result, it’s also the way how you get it! I guess that I feel the same like many other colleagues. It is the possibility to do something that I love - in wonderful places which at one point may only still exist because our pictures helped to stop the destruction of our environment.

What's worst about it?
There is nothing bad for me about nature photography, as long as I’m out! But as soon as I enter my office I think different! My good education does not allow to use words here, which could be harmful to young people. But I guess you all know what I mean.
...and there is still no lens like a 2.8/12-800mm with a built-in tripod.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
When I was working on a coffee table book about the “Hohe Tauern National Park” in Austria, I fell in love with this area. The huge diversity in fauna and flora and the scenery, from green meadows to blue lakes up to the highest peaks in Austria is fascinating. My favourite animal there is the ibex. They are beautiful animals! Strong, majestic and fearless.

What's in the bag?
I use the Nikon bodies D2x, and since November 2007 a D3. Beside a lot of accessories I carry lenses with a focal length between 12mm and 500 mm. My most used equipment at the moment is an AF-S VR 4/200-400 mm lens. The coolest thing I have in my bag is one beautiful, green roll of Fuji Velvia film, just to look sometimes at him and remember the good old times!

Your specialities / skills?
It is not easy not being shy! I do not know, why I have been selected for this project. There are a lot of other, great nature photographers in Austria ...But I can guarantee that it was a damn good decision! I think my really strong side is my huge optimism and that I never give up-and of course my modesty!

What will you do in your next life?
I will not wait 25 years again, to start with nature photography. I will probably again curve my index finger to press the trigger, and the girls will still love it how sexy I can do this!
Somebody told me that he would wish that his next life’s mother should fall in love with a Nikon, so that he can be born as a 2.8/12-800 mm lens with a size of 50 cm and weight of 4 kg. Nature photographers are crazy!

3 tips for beginners
1) If you don’t love it, leave it
2) Frustration should be your second name.
3) Do not “collect” camera-equipment, use it to its limits, get it “dirty”.

Mission

My mission leads me to Triglav National Park in Slovenia. I will photograph waterfalls, the river soca, mountains and animals like alpenbock, fire salamander, desman, marmorata trout and olm. Waterfalls are best in May and June. I will use the autumn for the river soca and some scenery, as the fall colours are beautiful in this area. It will be necessary to work together with the national park administration, local guides and biologists to achieve the best results possible.

Best Picture

Best Picture

What's cool about it?
I love the way how the owl seems to look directly into my camera. Sometimes pictures which do not look spectacular are the result of hard work, sometimes it’s opposite. This one was relatively easy to achieve. The owl was screaming because of an eagle, which landed behind me at the hand of a falconer!

Could it be better?
As long as there is personal taste and subjectivity everything can be better! A good picture is almost perfect as long as you do not see a better one from the same subject! Till now it’s almost perfect!

Behind the Scene
When I took this picture, hundreds of tourists behind me stared at the sky, where eagles, falcons and other predators showed their artistic flights. This wild long-eared owl was a regular guest at a flight show in Carinthia, Austria and tried to catch pieces of meat, which could not be caught by the predators in flight. The message of this picture: do not look at the sky, just because everybody does so!

Date: Winter 2004
Location: Carinthia, Austria
Gear: Nikon F5, AF-S 4/500 mm lens, Fuji Velvia, Tripod

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