This is a guest post from Sofie Lembrechts, about a nature photography trip to Spain. While I am mainly a photographing ecologist, she had to become an ecological photographer in order to catch the big mammals of Europe with her camera.
The story of a girl, wildly chasing a wild dream… To become a wildlife photographer.
I went to the north of Spain with Europe’s big 5. They organise ecological trips to search for the Big 5 of Europe’s mammals, and many more wild nature.
This trip went to the ‘picos de europa’, with as main goal to get in the tracks of bears, wolves, wild cats, birds, … There were two goals for me this trip. To see the animals in their natural environment and to make pictures of them…
The first goal was surprisingly easy to achieve. Jan, the guide, knew all the places and he could even make sure we saw wolves already on the very first day. It required big adventures, with hours of sea sickness on a boat or endless staring through dense fog, but the reward was big: every day we saw at least one big mammal.
The second goal however was less easy to accomplish… With only a small telephoto lens I could just not come close enough…
One day, we heard a rumour that a bear was spotted in the village nearby a hotel. This was my chance! We hid on a mountain slope till the bear would come out to look for a snack.
And there he was! Still not close enough for a good picture, but at least close enough to see him on my camera! It was very exciting to see him so close by! I’m very happy that I achieved my first goal, and I learned that it might require some next level expensive camera gear to accomplish the second one.
Just accept it from me: those big predators are even more breathtaking without bars to keep you safe.