Stunning Portraits of Animals in Their Natural Habitat

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Stefano Unterthiner’s work is about as intimate as you can get to wildlife and other exotic animals. Based on the proximity from which these were taken,  one would think Unterthiner gets this close by using  a remote-controlled camera mount often employed by those shooting dangerous species.  Unterthiner does not use any such gadgets, and he often gets to a distance of less than a meter to the animals. Typical of his wildlife shots are images where he often catches the animals off guard and by surprise. His photos can perhaps be described generally as lighthearted, a quality they posses even if the animal subjects happen to be predatorial. He is able to strip our preconceived notions about some species and present them in a manner with neutrality, devoid of any bias.

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Unterthiner usually devotes ample time, sometimes months doing prior background study before each project, and he frequently spends months while out in the field. He prefers not to focus on single images, but instead build a narrative through many images that documents the animals’ behavior and environment.  Unterthiner carefully chooses his sequences to feature the animals at their most natural and vulnerable. He employs a trademark wide-angle approach which lends the intimacy his shots are so known for. His work also contains a variety of outstandingly successful motion-blur images. He says that it’s a simple technique, humbly crediting the fascinating work to luck. “But you are never sure about the final result,” said Unterthiner. “This is probably what I like about motion blurs—the unpredictable result that you may be able to get.”

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Unterthiner spent his initial years shooting in the Gran Paradiso National Park and traveling around the mountains of the Aosta Valley region. He started more serious photography at 17 and went on to pursue studies in zoology. In the fall of 2000 he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Once he consummated his studies, Unterthiner went back to Italy and started his career as a zoologist. Through all this he always had a camera nearby, and it was not long before his pastime turned into a passion and profession. See his wonderful work here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I’m talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.