Stockholm, Sweden-based nature and wildlife photographer Serkan Gûnes (serkangunes.com) has been capturing nature at its best for six years. To this day, he is the only Swede to ever win the Eric Hosking Award, for the best portfolio taken by a young photographer. Sponsored by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum in London, the award is considered the most prestigious wildlife photography honor in the world. Born and raised in Istanbul, he moved to Sweden in 2000, at age 20. Two years later, he received a camera from his wife, which shifted his passion from guitar playing to photography. Gûnes has been published in Scandinavia, Turkey, England, France, Germany, Holland and Japan, and lectures and leads workshops in nature photography at Stockholm’s Fotografiska Academy and East Africa. Here, Gûnes explains how his H3DII-39 enhances his “poetic, unique image style and keen sense for light,” as one client aptly observed. . .
I have always been moved by the variety of light throughout the seasons. How light and nature interact, the drama of weather and its effect on nature and wildlife intrigue me. Nature as Art, and the beauty of it all - it’s all there waiting for me to capture it.
For years, I shot with a 35mm digital camera, but I never really was satisfied or comfortable working with it. It felt a bit like I was wandering around with a pebble in my shoe. When my demand for quality images started to exceed what my 35mm was capable of delivering, it was time to move on. I sold my Canon equipment and bought a Hasselblad H3DII-39.
In one week, my H3DII and I became “best of friends.” We’ve been together for just under a year now. Hasselblad is the ultimate high-end camera system. It provides an unsurpassed level of image quality, delivers outstanding detail and color, and is functional, sturdy and easy to use. The Phocus 2 software is very helpful with my workflow. I love the magnificent dynamic range, which feels elastic and endless. As a nature photographer I don’t tamper with or manipulate my images. The elasticity opens up a whole range of new opportunities for my work to stay true to what I see and feel out there.
I began to see a dramatic change in my images. The true color, contrast, 3D feeling, and phenomenal resolution all bring back the feel of transparency film. With my H3DII, I am confident that what I see in the viewfinder will be in the final image! In contrast, with my 35mm digital camera there were always some scenes I wouldn’t bother shooting because I knew the detail would be lost. My dream is to have an H4D-40 for my wildlife photography and an H4D-50 for my landscape work.
Hasselblad in the Field
My portfolio speaks louder than words. Here are my descriptions of four images I shot with my Hasselblad H3DII. See images at left.
- I shot these mountains in Rondane, Norway, in September 2009, with a borrowed H3DII-50 and a 210mm lens. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Big and wild! The pictures were captured in the evening light, fall colors covering the valley.
- Four giraffes at Lake Manyara, Tanzania, taken in February 2010, wandered by during the last light. I captured the moment where the wild and beautiful come together, with my H3DII-39 and 300mm lens.
- When I saw the impalas in the camera’s viewfinder, I was hoping the colors and the feeling of cartoon-like animals would be captured as I had envisioned them. When I captured this image, in February 2010, my H3DII-39 and 300mm lens did not disappoint!
- It was a magical moment when, in March 2010, one of the world’s largest animals came out from nowhere in front of my frame, at Lake Manyara, Tanzania. With my H3DII-39 in hand, I moved swiftly to capture the elephant in this unusual environment - flowers and green trees instead of grass or sand. Very strange.
My first book, Beyond Stockholm, will be published this coming fall. I also have a large exhibition scheduled at the Natural History Museum in Stockholm. With my H3DII-39, I plan to take nature photography to the next level, push the envelope, see how far I can run with it.
Finally, I’ve found a camera made by innovative, dedicated engineers who have a true passion for photography.
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to visit Serkan Gûnes website for more info, portfolio etc.Text by Alice B. Miller