I guess every wildlife photographer has it, yes every photographer in general probably has it too. But the animal photographer in particular seems to. Everything he or she does before the shoot is aimed at one thing – capturing the right moment. That’s what it’s all about! Except that this moment, when the finger presses the trigger softly, can often be very costly. But beautiful because of it. And it is not all about money.
By the time you decide that this is the right moment, you have sweated a hundred times, often overexerted yourself unnecessarily, or sat in hiding for hours. The mounting tension reaches a climax when the anticipated something finally emanates from the focusing matte or the LCD screen. And at that moment you are suddenly ensnared by some irrational state. Not only does your eye know, not only does your mind know, but your heart tells you that it’s now, that it’s here. For a fraction of a second you finally have your eye to eye. A paused breath, a slight movement of your finger. The euphoria of the opening shutter: a soft, subtle bang!
I think it’s something like looking into an animal’s soul. Like with human photography – looking for and discovering someone’s personal self. That’s what this eye to eye is for me. Infernally difficult and obliging (easy, probably, for anyone who hasn’t seriously tried it), but – I guarantee carrying a colossal load of emotions and satisfaction from communing with a living creature and its emotions. I will say more: such face to face sessions taught me more about the nature of my subjects and sometimes gave me more truth about nature than traditional hide-and-seek sessions and photographic romps. Well, and they gave me something else. They liberated me from hypocritical norms…
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