Combining his love of nature with his skills in photograph, The 21-year-old Ossi Saarinen captures the many forest animals that live in the mystical forests of Finland with his photographic skills. From curious foxes to spiteful red squirrels, to shy deers and even grizzlies, the talented wildlife photographer approaches these enchanting creatures, revealing their most intimate and delightful moments.
Finland is almost completely covered with intact forests, tundra and lakes, making it ideal for a variety of species. Saarinen spends hundreds of hours in this picturesque landscape waiting patiently for the appearance of timid animals. The resulting images are reminiscent of a fairy tale: fox babies are captured in a playful way, majestic owls sit on snow-covered trees and squirrels hoard frantically their nuts.
We recently met Saarinen to find out what it’s like spending time photographing these amazing animals.
When did you first become interested in photography?
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At the beginning of 2015, I took my first photo with a digital SLR and immediately fell in love. My first picture showed a bird in my garden. I started with all kinds of photos, but in the end I photographed nature and especially wild animals.
What draws you to capturing wildlife?
I am very interested in nature since childhood and especially in animals. I realized that with a camera, I could record and share those incredible moments and feelings that I feel in nature.
Wildlife photography is very difficult, which makes it even more interesting. Sometimes it means hours and hours of waiting without results, but when I finally got the hang of it, I wanted everything to be worthwhile.
You’re able to get so close to the forest animals. How do you charm them into trusting you?
You can get closer to the animals of the forest. I walk carefully from afar and slowly try to get closer every day. I learned how the animal behaves and how it reacts to my presence. Over time, they trust me more and let me get closer.
Do you have a favorite creature that you like to photograph?
I find the life and behavior of these intelligent animals very interesting.Observe the life of the boys who grow up and leave the nest.I feel very happy and privileged to be able to do it.The fox-boys are also very adorable and cute and the adult foxes are beautiful in their strong orange coat.
Do you have funny stories about a certain encounter with animals?
I do not remember any exceptionally fun time with animals.But the moments in which I think and laugh often are those where everything goes wrong.One morning, near a place reserved for foxes, I waited nearly six hours for shy foxes to appear.I could not move at all because I did not want to make noise to scare foxes.The air was full of mosquitoes and they bit me everywhere and I could not help it.After hours without seeing a single fox, I finally gave up and went home.My right hand was so full of mosquito bites that I could not even take a picture with my finger as it almost doubled in size.It was also very cold and I could hardly feel my toes or my fingers.
What advice would you give to someone interested in animal photography?
Try it early in the morning and late at night.Keep your eyes and ears open, you will be surprised to see how many animals actually exist.You do not need an expensive camera and huge goals.Start with a phone and get a real camera if you think it’s not enough.Spend a lot of time in nature and with animals.The more you know about your photography theme, the more you can come and the more interesting your photos can be.Then you can choose the best and know next time what worked and what did not work.