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Erlend Haarberg

My strongest weapon is my patience, that again comes from my interest.

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Featured Photographer

Erlend Haarberg

About

Erlend Haarberg is living in Middle-Norway and has been a professional nature photographer since the beginning of the 1990s. Besides numerous international awards, he won the title “the nature photographer of the year” six times between 1986 and 2000 in Norway. He is focusing primarily on birds and mammals. His images can be found in dozens of books in Norway and he is regularly writing articles for magazines in Scandinavia.
Nowadays he is working together with his wife, Orsolya. Their first collaboration produced the book “Lapland – the Alaska of Europe” recently published in Hungarian and English.

Website: www.haarbergphoto.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
I have been interested in nature since my early childhood. The deeper my insight and understanding became in nature, the larger my respect and admiration grew for it. The point is to enter into the spirit of the animal I am working with. After some time, with the aid of skills, patience and a bit of luck, pictures are coming that stand out from the rest. This is a feeling that is indescribable.

What's best about it?
First of all the possibility to spend much time out in the nature, either in the forest nearby my home or in some more exotic places.
Then the whole process from the birth of an idea, through planning the work to finally capturing the image.
And finally, the freedom to choose what to do next.

What's worst about it?
When the clouds of mosquitoes are biting me crazy on a white summer night or when the freezing cold is biting in my toes, it happens that I ask myself, what the hell am I doing here? But this is just cosiness compared to the hard hours and days in front of the computer that became a necessity after the digital revolution.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
My favourite species is always the one I am working with for the time being. The more time I spend on a topic the more interesting it becomes. Mountain hare, deer and willow ptarmigan are the animals I worked mostly with which resulted in a fascination for these species.

My favourite place is Sarek National Park in Sweden, where I spent altogether a year so far in a tent in different seasons. The inhospitable majestic mountains that give refuge to a rich animal life gives me the feeling of real wilderness.

What's in the bag?
Like a rule, always too much. The bag is expanding steadily with my growing ambitions. In the last two years a Nikon D2X camera and a Nikkor 4/500 were my constant accompanies. A 2.8/17-35, a 2.8/35-70 and a 2.8/80-200 also have a fixed place in my bag.

Your specialities / skills?
When I have a good topic, I can be really determined and patient to capture the image I imagined. I like to struggle a bit for achieving my goals, and I manage best in the wild. My strongest weapon is my patience, that again comes from my interest.

What will you do in your next life?
As the possibilities are unlimited in nature photography and I can only experience a small part of the natural world during the years given to me, I would carry on doing what I started in this life. I hope that there will still be something wild to take pictures of…

3 tips for beginners
1) Spend a lot of time in nature, there might be exceptions, but the best pictures are not coming after a whirlwind tour in the wild.
2) Find your own projects, try not to do like all the others.
3) The goal should be the joy of the time you spend on capturing your images, and a good picture is the bonus.

Mission

In November I will be climbing mountains and looking for chamois and alpine ibex in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy. This is going to be my first visit to Italy ever. The weather and the skiing/walking conditions are the challenging factors of my mission. I hope that it is going to be a cold winter in the Alps in 2008. I wish for many days with snow and then some very cold, clear days for a change... Snow/snowing could give that extra that is needed to create PICTURES. I will use lenses from 17 to 500 mm. I hope to capture images about animals in the landscape, portraits and interesting behaviours under the ongoing rut. Enough plans for the ten busy days I got for this project.

Best Picture

Best Picture

What's cool about it?
The picture about the fighting hares was taken in the previous century. Yet this picture has qualities that makes me both proud and happy after 15 years I got it on film. This is undoubtedly a quality mark. I am constantly on the chase for the combination of magic light, good background and an animal doing unique behaviour. In this aspect the capture of this moment is fulfilling all the criteria I set for a good picture.

Could it be better?
For a perfectionist, it can be frustrating to always find a mistake with a picture. To develop your capabilities, it is important to be critical of your work, but it is also important to be able to be happy with pictures that are not 100% perfect. In my eyes there is only a theoretical potential to make this picture better.

Behind the Scene
The picture was taken nearby our mountain hut, where I was feeding hares with apples (the most beautiful shiny apples I could buy in the shop, I was eating second-class myself…). The hares are nocturnal so they were coming to eat the apples during the night and fighting often occurred among the animals. The problem was the light, the lack of light, precisely. In late spring, although the hares started to change coat, the days began to be longer so I could catch this rarely-seen moment in a late evening.

Date: sometime in the early 1990s…
Location: Vauldalen, Norway
Gear: Nikon F3, Nikkor 5,6/600 mm

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