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Maurizio Biancarelli

I like Marcel Proust's saying: "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes."

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Featured Photographer

Maurizio Biancarelli

About

I was born in a tiny village dispersed in the mountains of Umbria, in central Italy, very close to the Sibillini Mountains and as a child, I spent most of my time exploring a green countryside teeming with wildlife. What a nice start for a nature photographer!

Then I have been a pharmacist for (too) many years, but now I feel very lucky to be a full time natural-history photograher, happy to spend a lot of time close to Nature, like in my childhood. I am attracted by the complexity of the natural world, by the sudden, powerful flight of the peregrine, by the incredible structure of a kelp emerging during a low tide or by the astonishing beauty of an ancient oak. I try to understand the subtle relationships between the living things and I always try to convey a sense of wonder in my pictures.

I think of photography like an art able to draw the observer's attention, affect his emotions, challenge his perception of the natural world and in such a way convey the photographer's message. Simplicity in composition and a careful choice of the light are the keys to be successful. I made four books on my region, Umbria, contributed to many others and several images have been awarded in major competitions.

My work is internationally featured in various nature magazines and I had solo exhibitions in prestigious venues like the Europarliament in Strasbourg, the Italian Cultural Centre in Bucarest, and in Nanchang, China during the Living Lakes International Conference.

Interview

Why nature photography?
To stay as close as possible with the natural world, to feel part of it, to live at my own pace, to take my time looking around me, following the rhythm of Nature.

What's best about it?
I feel to be in a privileged position as a photographer compared to other people, because I have the possibility to live an important part of my life following a great passion, a deep interest.

I can be free to practise what the ancient Latins called “Otium”, the opportunity to have enough time just for his own creativity, a real gift in a society running faster and faster and with the obsession not to “waste” any minute of time.

I like to share my emotions with people through my images and like to exchange my personal vision and experience with other photographers. In this sense, Wild Wonders of Europe gives me an extraordinary occasion to work side by side with many colleagues.

What's worst about it?
Well, I could say cold, frost, wind and whatever other uncomfortable condition in the field, but this is not the worst aspect for me, as I consider it normal for those who chose to live close to Nature. Much worse wasting a lot of time in order to sell pictures, to speak to boring people and also stay too much time in front of the computer.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
I like to work in my home area, because I like it and I also feel deeply rooted in it.

The opportunity to come and come again to some locations is a real bonus, as more possibilities arise to get the best out of these. But I also hide (not too much) a great passion for the Far North: great light, barren, magnificient landscape are very attractive to me, and also the special wildlife living in.

So I often go to Scandinavia, where I can experience a special feeling of loneliness, not possible in other parts of Europe nowadays, at least not at the same extent.

Trees and forests represent a real passion for me; woodlands represent the first untouched habitats where our ancestors and an abundant wildlife roamed free; now those forests have been deeply transformed by humans over the centuries, but I still feel a sense of mystery and reverence in front of an ancient, huge tree or under the canopy of an old wood.

What's in the bag?
I use three formats: panoramic, medium and small, so I always have a lot of equipment to carry in my rucksack. I normally use a camper van for my photo trips and carry all the stuff with me, but I choose a selection of it to take with me for different shooting sessions when in the field.

I also have a variety of tripods; I find them indispensable and I am always looking for the lightest and sturdiest on the market, so I spent a real fortune on them!

I switched to digital very recently and I like its many advantages on film.

Your specialities / skills?
My professional track shows an attitude to be a “generalist” in nature photography, so I think versatility is one of my major capabilities. I also manage to render the spirit of a landscape with atmospheric shots and a personal view of an ordinary, familiar location. Structures and details pictures are also among my best images.

What will you do in your next life?
Sure I will be a painter.....wildlife painter of course!

3 tips for beginners
1) Try with a location you like close to your home and very often go there
2) Take your time when in the wild and look carefully around.
3) Always use a good tripod.

Mission

My first mission is Plitvice NP, Croatia.

It's a place I know and love and where I spent several weeks long time ago, before the devastating civil war. After that I came to Plitvice just once and found a different world, with different people and the signs of the terrible conflict still there; apparentely the place did not suffer from the war and is still now a fantastic water realm.

Plitvice is beautiful and has many visitors from everywhere for this reason; this is good, but I realise I must work hard when there in order to get beautiful, but fresh images.

I am thinking of using a boat and taking flight shots, but I also want to keep an open mind, because I am sure Plitvice magic will suggest me what to do when I will be there.

My second mission are the beechwoods with bluebells not far from Brussel. I must confess I did not know of their existence so far, but this is very stimulating and I am very anxious to see the “blue forest” at its best.

I will try to use a variety of lenses to get different pictures, stay on the ground or, maybe ......climb a tree?

Best Picture

Best Picture
Kelp during a low tide in Runde,island, Norway

What's cool about it?
This image is still one of my favourites after many years: it is one of those picture engendering a sense of wonder to the observer, because it is difficult to immediately understand which kind of subject it is. You must have a second look and it is amazing to notice how different people see different things in the photograph.

The overcast light is perfect for rendering the structure and details of the kelps and for giving the picture a sense of matter.

Could it be better?
Sure it could be different.
I think you could “navigate” into the picture and find other interesting closer frames.

Behind the Scene
I was in Runde island in Norway to take pictures of puffins, but that morning the weather was not collaborative at all, with thick clouds hiding most of the hill.

I decided to try along the seashore because the low tide was uncovering the seaweed amidst the stones, so I went there with my Hasselblad in search of a nice subject. I took several good pictures in a short time on that occasion, but this is my favourite.

After such a long time, I still remember the atmosphere: a pair of Oystercatcher chasing each other and making a lot of noise calling and flying over my head while I was photographing, the good smell of the sea and the rain that was just about to come.

Date: June 1998
Location: Runde island
Gear: Hasselblad 553 with 120 mm Zeiss makro planar, Velvia 50 film

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