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Bruno D'Amicis

Önever mind if your pictures will be dark or slightly out of focus, as long as they will be true!

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Featured Photographer

Bruno D'Amicis

About

I am a passionate, sometimes naÔve, wildlife nerd. I love everything that crawls, flies or swims - especially if I can find and photograph it! I have always been fascinated by the natural world: I consumed books about animals and travelled hundreds of kilometres just to watch birds. All this led me to a M.Sc. in Biology. I am a wildlife photographer since 13 years and a professional since 3. My work has been published in magazines, books, calendars, etc. I won a few awards and travelled 25 countries. This is not just a job. Preparation, commitment, experimentation, frustration and satisfaction flow together into something with no schedules or holidays: a lifestyle more than anything else .

Website: www.brunodamicis.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
As a kid living in a big city, I didnít have many chances for wildlife encounters. So, I was always daydreaming watching the documentaries of Felix Rodriguez de La Fuente or admiring the pictures of Airone magazine. I realized the immense power images have to influence our imagination and inspire people with the issues of nature conservation. So I borrowed my dadís SLR and got hooked forever.

What's best about it?
I love the slow pace photography imposes me with to adapt myself to the rhythms of the wildlife. It allows unique and privileged insights into the life of many species. Besides, this job offers me the chance to visit incredible places, to meet fantastic people andÖto be able to show all this to everybody when I am back!

What's worst about it?
I donít like to be away from home for a long time. Besides, I canít say I love to run down from a mountain ridge in a thunderstorm with 25 kg of equipment on my back!

In general, I am a fan of truly wild images and thus I am disappointed to see so many photographers working only with captive animals or travelling all to the same locations and striving to repeat the pictures taken by others.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Hard to say, since I am interested in almost anything living between the Arctic and the Sahara desert. Surely I have a strong connection with my homeland in Abruzzo and its rugged nature. Chamois and the Brown bear are thus among my favourite subjects and the main reason why I began taking pictures. Besides, I love the Mediterranean , its diversity, colours and perfumes.

What's in the bag?
The choice for my photo equipment has always been influenced by its weight and cost. I love to backpack and stalk wildlife by exploring remote mountain ranges or valleys; besides, I did not win any lottery yet. Thus, a good pair of binoculars, two camera bodies, two flash units, two zooms, a macro lens and a 300/2,8 with converters mounted on a carbon-fibre tripod is all I carry with me.

Your specialities / skills?
I have a strong drive to find my subjects in the field. It happened that I became specialized in mountain species and especially bears and ungulates. Still, I love to crawl on my stomach if there is a frog to photograph. I strive to give a wild feeling with my images and to always frame my subjects with plenty of space around them to show the tight connection between species and habitats.

What will you do in your next life?
I wish I could be a well-paid wildlife painter just travelling with a brush, some watercolours and a big sketchbook. Much less weight and costs than photography, with probably the same fun and results.

3 tips for beginners
Just one: be authentic! It has become hard to find true images of wildlife in the habitat. Try to stay away from easy-to-reach locations or captive animals. Find your subject, learn all you can about it, spend time with it and, if endangered, use your images to advocate its conservation. European wildlife can be shy, so never mind if your pictures will be dark or slightly out of focus, as long as they will be true!

Mission

In spring 2009 I will be photographing brown bears and their spectacular mountain habitat in the Slovakian Tatra. As I have been working in the area already since three years, I have an extensive knowledge of it and this spring expects many bear cubs. The work is not easy, because I do not rely on any baiting to attract these elusive animals, but instead choose to stalk them. I sleep outside in the mountains and walk along the ridges in an attempt to spot the bears before approaching them. My backpack full of food, equipment and a long lens is a heavy burden. I will also use a camera trap along wildlife trails (it lets the animals take pictures of themselves without the presence of the photographer).

Best Picture

Best Picture
Long-tailed duck in the Baltic Sea

What's cool about it?
It is very hard to choose one best picture! Surely, this one ranks among my favourites. I like the smooth and highly reflective surface of the Baltic Sea on that day. Then, the bird looking at me almost hiding behind its long, sword-shaped tail reminds me of a Samurai ready for the battle.

Could it be better?
Fog and the blue light of earlier that day would have been great. A bit more space between the eye and the tail could also have improved it.

Behind the Scene
Want to know the real story? Well, it was cold, grey, I had to pee and my legs were stiff from crouching on a rock at water level for three hours!

Date: February 2007
Location: Island of RŁgen , NE Germany
Gear: Canon 30D, 300mm IS f/2,8 + 2XTC.

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