Wildlife photography requires a lot of patience, skill and perseverance. “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy”, Henri Cartier-Bresson* once said. When I saw the ‘Wildlife photographer of the year’ exhibition in Victoria, I remembered some beautiful shots of animals by Felix Mueller, a young photographer from Toronto. Let me introduce you to him and his work.
Felix Mueller, can you tell us the story behind this amazing picture?
Felix: After having bought a cheap 28mm film-era lens, I was interested in trying out a new technique that I saw on a Youtube video called “an introduction to high-magnification macro photography”.
What does that method require?
Felix: All that I needed was my new lens – but reversed – and my camera. I started by taking pictures of inanimate objects up close, but soon moved on to things that were both living and small enough to fit the frame.
Were insects a good start?
Felix: Indeed – and they were perhaps the only objects that I could shoot as I would never harm an insect for a photograph. So I was very lucky to have found such a magnificent bug that didn’t move a lot.
I took a couple photos using the reversed lens technique I learned from the video, with it proving to be a real test of my steady hand to make sure the depth or field was right and that the dramatic features of the insect were captured in greatest detail.
Felix: I am 21 years old and my fondness for wildlife and nature began at a young age. My interest in wildlife photography came later, when I started taking pictures of local nature areas such as the County Forest and Nature Parks in Dufferin County, Ontario.
As for my nature photos of animals, these opportunities came seldom. But these photos are often the most rewarding ones, because you capture such an amazing moment with the wildlife you share your environment with.
What kind of camera are you using?
Felix: I use a Pentax K7 with 2 lenses, a 28 mm film-era lens and a 28-300 Pentax AF.
Do you prefer digital or film photography?
Felix: My first camera was digital, even though I grew up knowing how to use my father’s old Ashai Pentax that he used on his travels. The truth is that both digital and film photography lend themselves to certain situations, and professional users of either format are more than capable of using their creativity and skill to produce the breathtaking shots, not the camera. In the end, it is most often a good imagination that trumps camera format. That being said, once the photos are taken, it is a different story entirely. In that case, I have to go with the digital camera, as you can take multiple photos, upload them quickly to the computer and sharing them is much easier.
Any other pictures you would like to share with my readers?
Felix: Oh yes, this baby red squirrel that I caught just as it was learning how to climb. It is one of my favourite photos because it captures a rare funny and positive moment.
… and a rather unusual one, too!
Felix: That is right, but then again baby animals are much more approachable than their jittery parents.
Thank you, Felix Mueller, for sharing your story with my readers.
* Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered to be the father of photojournalism. He was an early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography.