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Florian Möllers

Dreaming of a time-machine that would increase the chances for a reportage about the life of Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Featured Photographer

Florian Möllers

About

Life couldn’t be better at the moment.

Why’s that? Partly, because I am listening to the “The Killers” while I write these lines. Partly, because working for WILD WONDERS means a lot to me. Mostly, because I am at home.

After 6 years at Uni, 4 with GDT, 5 as a vagabond nature photographer and 11 times moving house, this new home provides me with a long-missed perspective for my life. Nice rivers for fly-fishing and some rocks for free-climbing close-by. Several pairs of eagle-owls and white storks are in the area, as well as lovely beech forests with an increasing number of boars. Every now and then one of our dogs pops into my office and says “hello”. And the Spanish red wines and the white ones from New Zealand taste so much better in the company of my beloved wife.

Website: www.florianmoellers.com/

Interview

Why nature photography?
At the age of six there had been a few memorable forest walks through boar and deer territory with my granddad, a naturalist and journalist with DPA. They left a strong impression in me. Since then my fascination for nature increased by the minute and the idea of finding ways to report about it, in pictures and writing, ruled out the perspective of a university career or a life in the lab.

What's best about it?
Nature itself. The fact that she surprises me and delivers frequent bursts of sheer happiness and unexpected awe, wherever I am on this planet.

What's worst about it?
Sales and marketing. I am not born for that important part of the job at all. Computer work as I don’t have a clever enough system set up for making the most out of my images. Playing cool when even my grandma doesn’t like my pictures anymore.

At the end of the day, the amount of frustration compared with the amount of time invested compared with the amount of money in the bank.

Favourite species and places in Europe?
Species like boar, mink & cormorant, that keep holding up the mirror in front of us two-legged animals, showing us how we still fail to behave on this planet.

City wildlife, as it teaches us respect and what neighbourhood really is about.

My faint idea that, yeah, there are loads of amazing places in Europe is suddenly proven to be reality. Now I am confused and wouldn’t know which one to mention first.

What's in the bag?
Always: a compass, an old table cloth (for drying wet lenses), a tiny carved pig (for luck), and a knife. Almost always: the whole shebang, just in case – two bodies, 500, 100-400, 28-135, 17-40, converters, extension tubes, cable release, gradual grey and polarizer filters, spare batteries and memory cards, 1 flash + spiral cable, reflector.

Your specialities / skills?
My background in biology helps a lot. I don’t want to miss my language skills and my respect towards the animals and the people I work with. I have a good sense of anticipation and a feeling for a good situation. And even I have my moments of enlightenment.

What will you do in your next life?
That James Bond idea will probably never work, which is a shame, but in the best of all worlds and as a compromise to never driving one of those Aston Martins I could figure to set up a few camera traps for a reportage on black panthers for National Geographic, win four awards in the very same year with them at WPOY, earn loads of money with the images and retire soon after with my wife and our dogs in British Columbia or New Zealand.

3 tips for beginners
1) Follow your heart when you choose your subjects.
2) Think about composition, again and again.
3) Try your best to maintain a healthy distance to the quality of your work.

Mission

My first mission for WILD WONDERS led me to Hungary to photograph red deer during the rut. It failed, I failed, the deer failed.

I will give it another try next year at other places in Europe , maybe in Spain , Poland and The Netherlands.

For my second mission I will focus on cormorants in Denmark . The discussion around this bird fascinates me and would be worth a fully-fledged reportage within WILD WONDERS. I will restrict myself to pictures from a colony though that I have worked at before and hope to deliver images that will show that cormorants are more than just the bad black fish-eaters.

Best Picture

Best Picture
Brown Bear and Fox [c], Germany

What's cool about it?
Apart from the David & Goliath impression, the exclusivity factor. I am almost sure that no one else on earth has ever photographed such an encounter.

Could it be better?
Loads better! The angle is too steep – I would have loved to be on eye-level with the fox (in the water at best with a short tele lens).

The composition is lacking impact – again due to the perspective (and my aim to keep the fox in the central AF field) it is weighted too much for the right. It is not pin-sharp and it misses a little bit of some special light. And – it was taken in captivity.

Behind the Scene
This bear, called “Regina”, is probably THE most photographed and published bear in Europe – together with her mate “Fritz”, who died a couple of years ago. Regina still lives in the enclosure of the Bavarian Forest NP in Germany and had three cubs that year.

It was getting a bit dark and several other photographers left the place when all in a sudden one of the cubs chased a fox out of the bramble bushes and right into the arms of Regina . She cornered it at the little pond. The female fox tried to fight back in the water for a few minutes but stood no chance against such a mighty enemy. The drama lasted for about 20 mins, ending with the whole family feeding on the dead fox in the dark.

Date: August 30, 2000
Location: Bavarian Forest NP, Gehegezone
Gear: Canon EOS 3, 4/500 mm L USM IS, Sensia 100, fill-flash

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