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Grzegorz Lesniewski

What attracts me the most in wildlife photography is that thrill of the unknown and the unpredictable.

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Featured Photographer

Grzegorz Lesniewski

About

Born in 1972 in Lublin , eastern Poland . Environmental biologist. Dedicated birdwatcher since 1985. An active member of many ornithological and ecological organizations. At the beginning of the nineties he is guiding foreign birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts through the wonders of eastern Poland for almost 8 years. He starts photographing nature in 1994. At first, mainly birds. After a while, he also turns his attention to other fields of nature photography, such as other vertebrates, landscapes and flowers. The major subject of his interest is native wildlife of Poland . As an environmental biologist, Grzegorz is trying to picture interesting animal behavior and interactions between species.

Website: www.grzegorzlesniewski.pl/

Interview

Why nature photography?
Since my childhood, Iíve always been interested in nature. I grew up in a big city so I missed contact with wildlife all the time. As a young boy, I could watch jackdaws and wagtails feeding in grass behind my block of flats by hours. At primary school I started to write my diary of every single excursion to the countryside. It helped me remember these exciting moments spent in the field. Soon I discovered much better way to save my wildlife memories Ė photography! Thatís how it started.

What attracts me the most in wildlife photography is that trill of unknown and unpredictable. Thatís why I never take pictures of captive subjects or animals in controlled environment.

What's best about it?
Iím lucky that nature photography has become my life-time passion. It gives me very healthy distance toward daily life and people. My passion helped me survive difficult moments in the past and gives me the power to go on at present. Moreover, when you take a deeper look into intimate life of other creatures, you start taking care about your own one .

What's worst about it?
Permanent luck of sleep. I cannot sleep when I plan my projects. I donít have a time to sleep when I realize them and then I cannot sleep again when I think about the opportunities I missed and things I could have done better.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Certainly, Poland , my homeland. I love to work in the environment that I know and understand. It helps me get closer and deeper into the life of many native species. The more I experience Polish nature, the better I see how many things is still ahead of me. There are enough exciting subjects to stick to my country for the rest of my life!

I deeply believe that ďwild wondersĒ can be found everywhere, even in our backyards. It only depends how many efforts we put to discover them.

For the past two years, I have been concentrating on my project of photographing big Polish predators in the wild Ė wolf, bear and lynx. It is definitely the toughest and the most thrilling assignment I have ever undertaken.

What's in the bag?
Since the beginning I have been using Canon as its equipment has never failed me. At present I use two camera bodies 1Ds Mark III and 1D Mark II and whole bunch of lenses: 600/4 IS, 300/2.8 IS, 100-400 4.5/5.6 IS, 24-70/2.8, 16-35/2.8. I donít have a flash lamp in my bag, as I tend not to use artificial light in nature photography.

Your specialities / skills?
I can call myself a European photographer, as I deliberately decided to focus only on European nature. Iím specially devoted to photography of animal behavior and interactions between species. I try to stick to one place or one species for years in the quest for the decisive moment. While in a hide, I stay there as long as possible without leaving, very often days or even weeks. It lets me assimilate with the nature around.

What will you do in your next life?
Be a wolf or a bear, to better understand it!

3 tips for beginners
1. Free your mind and be focused.
2. Öso, leave your wife at home, but donít forget to reward her your absence, when you are back.
3. Find yourself a very good friend, with whom you can spend two weeks in one hide.

Mission

I will go to Austria to photograph marmots in the Alps . Iím happy to do it, as Iím very keen on rodents. Iíve already got some experience in photographing marmots in Tatra Mountains in Poland . They are very sociable animals that live in both spectacular and dramatic environment. I will try to show their wide and complex range of behavior as well as portrait them in striking landscape.

Best Picture

Best Picture
Grey Wolf (Canis Lupus).

Carpathian Mountains , Poland . About 100 packs of wolves still strive along Polish eastern borderland. Although now strictly protected, population is declining due to illegal hunting.

What's cool about it?
One year of preparations, 300 hours of non-stop waiting in a small hide and 3 minutes to fulfil my dream of photographing wild wolf in Poland. For me, these are very special 3 minutes of my life.

Could it be better?
Certainly it is not my best picture, but in contrary to many others Iíve taken, it has that huge emotional essence that I am looking for in wildlife photography.

Behind the Scene
It was interesting experience, waiting in a hide for so long and witness how wolves were slowly accepted our presence. For the first time, we noticed them on a third day, as female with cubs approached a hide in a daylight. We didnít dare to take any picture. We were too afraid to scare them off. We didnít know that for the next chance we will have to wait for another 10 daysÖ

All the time I was accompanied by my close friend, Marek Kolodziejczyk. I would like to thank him for his assistance.

Date: December 2006
Location: Bieszczady, Carpathian Mountains , south-eastern Poland
Gear: 600 mm lens frozen on one end and totally wet on the other.

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