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Magnus Lundgren

Wildlife is like a great football game. Unrehearsed, exciting and it does not try to be anything other than what it is.

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Featured Photographer

Magnus Lundgren

About

Well, let’s try to keep it short…my underwater obsession started with a whispering broken voice in our family TV-set. Jaques-Yves Cousteau came straight through the screen with his boyish curiosity and “let’s go and have a look” message. I was very young and I was very hooked. He was a great man and a great inspiration!

For a long time photography was secondary to many other things in my young mind and life. After studies I caught a travelbug and again I found that string of inspiration that Jaques-Yves touched long ago. During my travels I was physically touched by the great sea. Since then my mind has been busy with the sea and I love every inch of it.

Inspiration is the key. Mother nature always brings some sort of rugged unsentimental truth to me. She inspires and makes me just plain happy. I am convinced that Wild Wonders of Europe will inspire a great crowd exposing the fantastic European wildlife we all need to support and protect.

Website: www.aquagraphics.se/

Interview

Why nature photography?
It is not about choice. It is more like a passion, or a nerdy madness and at the same time a great adventure. It all starts in my admiration and respect for the wild world and continue into something that make me very happy. My god that sounds so pretentious. Almost like a rock ballad from the eighties but nevertheless that is the way it is for me.

What's best about it?
OK, it is like a pyramid. In a great shooting moment contact with the base of the triangle is lost, and also contact with the middle for that sake. The subject, my eye, the camera, knowing that this will be the peak of action just before it is happening. In that moment I loose everything else. I am solely in the top part of the pyramid. That is the best part! Does that make sense to anyone else?

What's worst about it?
Family and friends feel sorry for me. You are spending time in the cold, wet, dark and hostile sea. They missed that this is the best part. The downside is all the afterwork of a shoot. Sorting images, retousch, and cleaning gear etc. This is time that I could have been “out there”. Sometimes my fantastic wife looks at me - Magnus, why do You do this? And she has to wait until I smile to have a clue.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Recently I have been into photographing sharks. The interest started as a personal fascination but it slided over to show the true image of the sharks. They are under great threat from man. My favourite shark in Europe is the tiny and striking velvet belly. My favourite place is Norway ’s coastline, the longest in the world. Every deep fjord seems to have its own character and features.

What's in the bag?
Underwater photography is over the top excessive equipment wise. I travel a lot and I always hear myself making excuses like “All this is camerastuff. I only brought two pairs of shorts and two t-shirts. I swear!”

I am a Nikon guy and UW photography is a lot about wide angle and macro. My most used lenses the last year are the 10,5 mm FE, 12-24 mm and the new, and finally a fast, 105 mm macro.

Your specialities / skills?
I am specialised in underwater photography. I started out in the small world. I was a bit of a “wise arse” purist and did not consider obvious subjects to be that interesting. I guess I was just young and energetic. I have changed since then but this “phase” taught me to see both the obvious and the not so obvious in a scene. I have also been told to make a personal impression in the image.

What will you do in your next life?
Reincarnation? Well, if reborn as a human I guess geographically ideal would be Norway . Living in a hut, by a fjord two steps from a salty, dark sea full of mysteries. My mother should be a filthy rich dive instructor and my father a world-reknown biologist on to something. I would of course spend my time in the fjord with a camera from a very young age and they wouldn’t mind.

3 tips for beginners
1) Use your imagination, challenge your ideas
2) Turn your subjects into individuals
3) Respect, relax and enjoy in nature

Mission

Two missions and a wild card.

First mission is to a salmon river in Norway to find 20 pound atlantic salmons doing their journey up the river. My brain is cooking with ideas but local conditions will set the rules. It will be a running river, cold water and I need the big silvery guys up very close and personal.

Second mission is about marine life in the northern Atlantic sea. The idea is clear in my mind and to be synchronised with Florian and Staffan to stay inside the missons frame. We are also looking for the main characters in the wild and salty Atlantic sea. The schedule is not fixed but most likely autumn/spring.

The wildcard points to the orcas of Norway that last year decided not to be “business as usual”. Less individuals went into the narrow fjords and therefore this is a bit unsure. We are in planning mode, it is a great challenge and hopefully I will be in the water with these giants while they are hunting the herring.

Best Picture

Best Picture

What's cool about it?
This actually a Lilliputian action shot! The reason I like this image is the movement, the graphic texture and the surprise factor. One thing I always look for is to find two completely seperate species that choose to do things together. Like this amphipod surfing on top of a larvae seastar, Asteria rubens.

Could it be better?
Everything can be better including this image. To me it is a bit like writing a poem. You have to decide when the idea is done. This idea is one that I consider done.

Behind the Scene
I was in Sognefjorden on a long decompression stop at five meters depth and quite frankly a bit bored and cold. So I started to shoot larvae seastars to make time go faster. Shooting while hovering in midwater on closest focus was tricky to say the least. One larvae had some dirt on the top so I changed subject after 4 exposure. I realised later that the dirt was this cool amphipod on a sunday ride.

Date: 2004
Location: Sognefjorden , Norway
Gear: Nikon D70, Sea & Sea housing, 50 mm macro, double Hartenberger strobes and a lot of diving equipment.

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