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Competition Winner's Gallery

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Marcus Valeur

My nature photography is inspired by a familiar phrase: "Those who are afraid to fall will never fly". It is a motto I try to follow every time I shoot, no matter what the subject is.

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Competition Winners Portfolio

Marcus Valeur

About

I am a young (born in 1991), and hopefully promising, nature photographer from a small village in western Norway. I got my first own camera in late 2007, and borrowed my father's old lenses. It wasn't until 2008 I found my passion for nature photography, but I can not see my few years in the "industry" as an obstacle. Since I got my first camera both my camera bag and my "hall of fame" has increased significantly, but there is still a long way to go to the big boys.

Website: marcusvaleur.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
To be honest it was quite a coincidence that I started with nature photography. After doing "normal" photography for a while, I got my eyes up for birds, mammals and nature. Today it is about the only thing I'm shooting. It gives me many great experiences, its fun and challenging. I could not imagine doing anything else.

What's best about it?
Those times when you press the shutter button and you have this very good inner feeling. The only thought going through your mind is ďthatís the picture!Ē, even though you havenít looked at it yet. I also like that nature photography gives me the ability to save great moments and situations I witnesses out in the field.

What's worst about it?
When going home from a photo trip and thinking that you just could have stayed home, cause you havenít got a single usable shot. Another frustrating thing is that I can never lean back, looking at one of my pictures, and think "itís perfect". I just donít have that skill.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
My absolute favourite specie is the Peregrine Falcon. With its incredible beauty, coupled with its characteristic hunting technique, its brutal force and extreme speed, it is my obvious favourite species. I have a lot of favourite places, but Sjernaroey in South-West Norway is a place I enjoy taking pictures at. It is very beautiful there and has great opportunities for nature photography.

What's in the bag?
Nothing special, to be honest. My perception is that good equipment is important to get the pictures you want, so it is natural to me that my bag is not exactly light-weighted. I really like long lenses, and I simply love to use wide angle lenses for my nature photography, but on the other hand I could not live without my 300/2.8.

Your specialities / skills?
I donít think I got any special skills, but I like to ďthink outside of the boxĒ, create something that few have seen before, to go my own ways. I always try to overdo myself, in the never-ending challenge to get the perfect shot.

What will you do in your next life?
Continue my hunt for the perfect shot, a picture where I finally can say to my self ďI am satisfiedĒ. Although it probably will require both one and two new lives, I will never end my search for the perfect picture. Itís whatís dragging me.


3 tips for beginners

1. Never give up. The best shots donít come over night, they require patience and hard work.
2. Enjoy. If you donít, there is no reason to keep shooting; you will certainly not become rich by it. The main key is to have fun with your photography.
3. Find your own path! Follow it no matter what it takes. Express yourself the way you want, not the way others want you to.

Best Picture

Best Picture
Trying to gain height

Panning of a sea eagle trying to gain height after catching a fish. Photo taken from boat with a shutter speed of 1/25 sec.

Best picture I have great difficulty in selecting out my best picture, simply because I do not know what my best is. But I like this a lot.

What's cool about it? That it stands out, gets people to stop and look at it one more time. Also, the balance between the concrete and the abstract is something I like very well. I like the powerful expression of motion in the picture, since everything except the head region is moving. The close composition is also something I appreciate about the image. The high degree of difficulty makes me extra proud of it.

Could it be better? Of course it could. It could have been taken with a longer shutter speed, the fish could have been bigger, there could have been more water droplets, the wing positions could have been different, and the light could with advantage have had a more interesting character. It is far from a perfect picture.

Behind the Scene It was a beautiful evening in Flatanger, and we were throwing fish to the sea eagles from a boat. The sun was going down, and the light was disappearing, so this was one of the last dives we had that night. The eagle made a superb dive, but after it had caught the fish it took a quick right turn really close to the boat. This was the very last image in a series of more than 25 pictures. None of the images had sufficient sharpness in the head region Ė except this.

Date: 11.08.2009
Location: Flatanger, Norway
Gear: Canon 1D Mark II, 300mm f/2.8L - 1/25s, f/2.8, ISO 100

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