Fabio holds his breath and looks through the lens. The black grouse has forgot entirely that he’s there. Fabio uses a hunting blind, which he had erected two days before he inhabited it so that the animals can get used to it as part of the landscape. It is all about that one moment. That moment is now. It is early in the morning and the daylight first appears. The black grouse ruffles its feathers. Fabio presses the shutter button. Click. Click. Click.
22-year old Fabio Hain was born in Tirol’s Stubai Valley and works as a photo retail sales assistant in Innsbruck. He first took up photography in 2011 as a way to share the natural beauty and wildlife he saw on his walks and trips in Tirol. Today, he creates high-impact wildlife photographs through elaborate effort, careful study of animal behaviour and a mastery of technique. Catching inspiring images of wildlife takes more than just good luck and photo technique. Fabio knows just how important the waiting game is in getting the shot. He has been waiting two nights to get this incredible picture. On the second morning at dawn, he captured the animal silhouettes of two ibexes in an adversarial stance. Spectacular.
Asked why he likes spending nights in camo blinds, Fabio smiles and answers: “Nature photography has deepened my appreciation of the planet and its species. I’m certainly drawn to capturing moments and creating photographs that evoke an emotion in the viewer.” However, finding wild and pristine places is getting more and more difficult in Tirol. “I very much want people to realize how extraordinary wildlife is, and how there’s magic out there all around us, stories waiting to be captured by me and my camera. I hope these stories can help raise awareness and spark appreciation and awe of nature in people, and the understanding that wild places have to be protected and kept as they are.”
Fabio tells us that he always tries to be prepared to receive luck. During rutting season last fall, he went to great lengths to be in the right place at the right time, well-practiced with his tools and technique, familiar with his subjects and surroundings, and able to anticipate and account for as many variables and technical challenges as he could. He took two weeks off—and only returned with one good shot. “Often, nothing ever happens and you leave feeling frustrated and fed up, but if you keep trying, your hard work pays off.” He will be there again during the rut next fall. “I do love my job as a retail sales assistant,” says the young wildlife photographer, “but after work I have to get out in nature.” To capture amazing images of chamois, red deer, ibex, black grouse and common buzzard. Somewhere in the mountains of Tirol.
Fabio’s Tips for Improving Wildlife Photography without Camo Blinds:
Stags have the most acute eyesight and hearing of all the native deer. It is most unusual to get close to them. It is much easier to shoot ibexes from a short distance, for example. Knowing your subject’s behaviour is critical for a wildlife photographer. I always consider how to find and approach them while minimizing my disturbance of them. How can I get close enough to get the intimate shots I want while minimizing the disturbance my presence inevitably causes? The most valuable piece of advice to achieve good results in this field is to gain knowledge of the animal.”
Fabio’s Wildlife Photography Gear:
- Sturdy tripod
- Telephoto zoom lenses (for close-ups) and/or wide-angle lenses (for landscape photography)
- Spare memory cards
- Spare batteries
- Camo net
- Hunting blind
- Sleeping bag
- Ground pad
- Food and drink, first aid kit, …