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Featured Photographer Gallery

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Tom Schandy

If my pictures can be used as an eye-opener for the need to conserve the natural heritage, I will be very happy…

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Featured Photographer

Tom Schandy

About

I am a Norwegian photographer, born in 1962. Since the age of 11 nature and photography have been my all-absorbing interests. I have a Master in ornithology and worked part-time for more than ten years as a conservation and information adviser for the World Wide Fund For Nature. The rest of my time was devoted to nature photography and writing. In 2000 I resigned my employment at WWF and made a one hundred percent commitment to working as a freelance photographer, writer and author.

I have written hundreds of articles about nature and wildlife, but now I am concentrating on creating books. So far I have been involved in more than 20 book projects, and half of them I have published myself on my own publishing house – Tom & Tom – which I run together with a friend also named Tom.

My book “Magnificent Africa” has been my greatest success. It was printed in Norwegian, Swedish, English and Spanish and has sold around 50 000 copies. It also received the “Panda Book of the Year” Award given by WWF Sweden for the best description of nature in words and pictures. My photos have also won awards in several international nature photography competitions, including BBC‘s “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”.

The aspect of nature conservation forms a vital part of my photography and the conveyance of my knowledge of nature. If my photos, books and articles on nature and wildlife can be used to promote the enjoyment of nature and inspire nature conservation and biological diversity, then much of the purpose has been achieved!

Website: www.tomschandy.no/

Interview

Why nature photography?
Since I was a small boy, nature has been my 100 % absorbing interest. I love the landscape, the flowers, the insects, the birds, the mammals – the diversity of life! When I understood that it was possible to make a living out of nature photography, my dream came through.

Even after more than 30 years behind the camera, I have not lost the inspiration and fascination for nature. To work as a nature photographer is more exciting than ever – simply the best job on the planet. My inspiration is the good work of all my colleagues – in books, articles, competitions and now also Wild Wonders of Europe! A strong motivation for doing nature photography is the conservation aspect. If my pictures can be used as an eye-opener for the need to conserve the natural heritage, I will be very happy…

What's best about it?
The best is to be out there – on a glorious morning – with willing subjects posing in front of the camera.

And to get the pictures published afterwards, to show the public the need to take care of the natural wonders. To be an ambassador for wild nature is a strong motivation for me. To open up the eyes of the public to spectacular nature.

What's worst about it?
The worst – well – not to be able to carry everything you want to carry. When the weight of the backpack is so heavy that you fall over and twist your ankle – and you need helicopter support to get out of the wilderness. Yes, I did - but on the way home I got close-ups of a great grey owl – every cloud has a silver lining…

And even worse – to pack, pack, travel to airports, get through security, wait, wait, long flights … hotels in cities. A real pain. But when the pain is over, and when you are in the field – behind the camera – in front of the subjects…it is worth it.

And it is pity that it is impossible to be in several places at the same time. Springtime in Northern Europe is frustrating – everything happens everywhere – and you have to choose just a few targets.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Capercaillie play in the early morning in a Norwegian forest – between 20 and 25 April – with plenty of females – a better experience is difficult to match…

Or an early September morning in Sarek National Park in northern Sweden – with the biggest moose bulls in Europe – and with the dramatic background of wild mountains… Could it be better? I long to return…

Or a perfect day on Spitsbergen – with polar bears, walruses and ivory gulls. Top of the world, in several respects…

What's in the bag?
Everything – a few different cameras and a few different lenses. For birds and wildlife I love my 500/4.0 and 300 2/8. I always take my Schactler tripod along.

Your specialities / skills?
Well, a difficult question. My favourite subjects are wild animals and birds. I am used to travelling to remote areas of the world, to design travels so I come home with something interesting for articles and books. I am very project oriented – and quite good at fulfilling my dreams of discovering the natural world. The combination of text and pictures is maybe a speciality. I like to write – and I think writing is very important to get MY message out. Pictures alone are not enough…

What will you do in your next life?
Continue with the rest of the natural world. One life is only enough to cover just a few parentheses of the rich diversity of this spectacular planet. Maybe I get the chance to see a snow leopard.

3 tips for beginners
1) Learn as much as possible about the natural world. You must be INTERESTED!
2) Look at pictures, books, articles, from all over the world. Study what kind of pictures that appeal to you.
3) Try to do things differently. Do not choose the easiest target – find a target that not so many have photographed.

Mission

My mission is Wild Caucasus in Russia , and the mission was completed last summer. At first I was a little bit sceptical about visiting this political trouble zone – but after the mission – I love Caucasus . A fantastic place – a real wonder of Europe . What a mountain range - I would love to go back…

Best Picture

Best Picture

Difficult. From among several candidates I choose fighting moose in the blue light of a late evening in Sarek National Park .

What's cool about it?
I have strong feelings for it. It is not sharp, but it has a rare mood which I like. The dramatic action - two big bulls fighting, evening light, long exposure – it is a fairytale picture…

Could it be better?
It could have been sharper and technically better, but if this picture had been pin-sharp in good light – it would not have been my best picture…

Behind the Scene
I was making my dinner in Sarek National Park – after hiking around the whole day without getting any special pictures. The soup was just starting to boil when the first moose appeared – and seconds after, another one appeared – only 15 metres from our dining room door in the middle of the wilderness. And then they started to fight right in front of our eyes. A marvellous experience.

Date: September 1999
Location: Sarek National Park Sweden
Gear: Nikon F5, Nikon 70-200/2.8. Aperture 2.8. Exposure approx. 1 second, 400ISO.

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