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Interview with three wildlife photographers

We recently got introduces with three wildlife photographers from Greece and asked each two questions. First question was to introduce themselves and where they were based. On the second question we asked to share details about a photo which they took.

Mantis religiosa © Panagiotis Dalagiorgos

My name is Panagiotis Dalagiorgos and I am a photographer from Greece, mostly specializing in macro photography. Most of my shots, including the one in this exhibition, are taken in Kozani prefecture, which is where I come from. I recently moved to Athens in pursuit of a professional career as a photographer. I got my first camera on June 2020 during the pandemic lockdowns. My mental health had declined when the lockdowns began, because I lost my job (I was working as a DJ at the time) and I was forced to move back to my parents' house after 14 years. Nature photography really helped me through this situation, and has since then become a way of life. I love exploring nature and the amazing small world and try to make the best pictures I can out of it, always prioritizing the well being of my subjects. My goal as a photographer is to make people more aware of the beauty that is all around us but often goes unnoticed, and also learn about the importance of smaller beings and their major role in preserving our ecosystem.

The photo of is a low angle backlit portrait of a Mantis religiosa next to a small mushroom. I was hiking in an area I visit frequently for macro photography, in a forest near Servia, Greece, when I spotted this female Mantis religiosa. She stopped moving as soon as I approached, trying to avoid me relying on her camouflage. It's a very common species in my area, so I tried to frame it creatively. I went for a low angle shot, utilizing just the natural light that was coming through the trees, and placing my camera in an angle so that the brightest part of the image would be around her head, just like a halo on religious paintings (drawing inspiration from "religiosa"). The mushroom was a nice supporting element in my scene. It helped balance my frame by adding some "weight" on the right side. I used a fast shutter speed (1/2500 sec.) because I was shooting directly towards the light source and didn't want to expose my highlights, and a wide aperture - f/2.8 for bigger bokeh balls and selective focus. My post processing was pretty simple, I just boosted the contrast a bit and shifted my white balance slightly towards blue, because I think it works best with the aesthetics of my frame.

Dalmatian Pelican © John Mihopoulos

My name is John Mihopoulos and I am a wildlife photographer based in Germany. I photograph wildlife in Europe but also in Africa. I am green origin and my profession is chemical and environmental engineer. I ve started to photograph wildlife in Africa since 2004. I have dedicated my skills especially to the bird photography since 2016 !

The shot of Dalmatian Pelican was taken in an early cold morning in Kerkini lake before sunrise. It become cloudy and I was on a fishing boat. The pelicans were attracted because of the fish, flying around us. I was lucky to get the landing pelican during special moment of sunrise, reflecting the sun rays on the water. EXIF data: 100mm, 1/2500 f4.5 ISO 2000. Post-processing includes a raw development with minor adjustment of contrast and illuminance, WB with camera raw.

Hoopoes © Nikos Liouskos

My name is Nikos Liouskos, I am a Greek living in Athens. I work as a civil engineer and own a construction company. I started with wildlife in 2017, influenced by my best friend, yet I enjoy photography since I was 15 years old. As a student I had a dark room, where I developed black and whites back in the day. My main genres in wildlife are birds, mammals and insects. 80% of my wildlife shots are in urban environments! I look for small, neglected biotopes in cities and inhibited areas and my effort is to prove them significant. In reality, I extensively work on each small location, until I have exhausted all wildlife that I can photograph in them. It is amazing how much wildlife there can be in these urban oasis!! It helps me defuse and I shoot 2-3 times per week. The remaining 20% of my wildlife photography comes from Athens’ wider perimeter and I also do 2-3 longer trips with my friends, which I fairly enjoy.

The image of Hoopoes, is the result of exactly what I describe above. My experience at the time was relatively small as well. I shot this in a neglected small park, only 500m from my home. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, I spotted this hoopoe family and spent 4 hours with them! I remember that I called my family to inform them that I’ll be late for dinner, as I was having too much fun to go back. I still remember that day! My gear for this shot was a Canon eos 1D mark iv + Sigma 150-600 C. EXIF: 1/1600, f6.3, iso 640, -1/3ev. Basic crop and LR edits.

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