INTERVIEW Wildlife photographer Nino Salkić

Nino Salkić is a wildlife photographer who for years has studied the habits of animals and won several awards for his work. Nino has extensively documented the lives of...

Nino Salkić is a wildlife photographer who for years has studied the habits of animals and won several awards for his work. Nino has extensively documented the lives of animals through his photographs and through his work, he is making us aware of the beauty of life on our planet.

His answers showed the depth of passion in his work and the art of photography from a different angle. All of the photos you see were filmed at Velebit mountain.

When was your passion for wildlife photography born and do you remember the first animal your camera captured?

The passion for wildlife photography was born at the beginning of my “photo career”. From my young age, I often stayed in  the nature surrounded by beautiful landscape. Initially, I mostly photographed the nature around me, but I missed something… I wanted a greater challenge so I began photographing wild animals.

Getting into the animal’s habitat,  knowing where they move, eat or when they are the most active is a great challenge. But it is also a great pleasure to finally make a good photo. I can spend hours or even days on the mountain,  without capturing one good photo, and I often fail. But I am in the Velebit wilderness, blessed with a new experience and I return to the civilization with my batteries charged.

The first animal I photographed was roe deer. Shy animal active in the early morning or late afternoon. She was my first challenge in wildlife photography. I came before the dawn on a meadow,  hid under the tree, waited… and it paid off! The result were more than good photos, and I was delighted!

Tell us more about wildlife photography. It is clear that a photographer must be experienced and prepared, but how much effort does it take?

When shooting wild animals, the most important is preparation; Knowing the habitat of animal, her habits, her movement, the days when she is the most active, etc. Along with all that, you need to plan a picture and try to get the best light on the animal. Of course, there is also equipment that makes the process easier and reduces the distance between the photographer and animal, such as a camouflage net or a camouflage tent.

But it is best to use a natural hideout. The key is also in patience and perseverance. Many times I happen to think that the animal will just not come that day, and then 10 minutes before I leave she appears and I make fantastic photos.

Which animal you most commonly encounter, which animal is the most photographed, and which animal you still didn`t capture?

Velebit is a pure wilderness in the heart of Europe. There are numerous species of birds, insects and endemic plants – the brown bear, the grey wolf, Eurasian lynx… They all make Velebit even more special.

Most often I encounter roe deer, especially in the morning on the meadows. They are easy to photograph especially when you know meadows they prefer.

There are several animals that although I often stay on the mountain I have not photographed yet. One of them is a wolf. I’ve been waiting for this animal for a long time but as I said … patience and perseverance! We’ll meet somewhere in the wild…

As we can see animals are very photogenic but are they aware of your presence. How long do you wait for the desired one? Were you ever in a dangerous situation?

When photographing animals, it is most important that the animal is relaxed and that at no time is she aware of the photographer’s presence. That is achieved by camouflage and positioning down the wind in relation to the animal. And then you wait for the perfect moment. Waiting may take a few hours or so, depending on what the animal is doing and what kind of photo you want to make. I`ve never had a dangerous situation, even with bears that many consider dangerous.

It is most important to respect the animal, regardless of whether it is a cow or a bear. It is also important not to enter into her space so that she does not feel endangered or frightened.

At the end what is your favourite photo and what is the story behind it?

To be honest, I don`t have one favourite photo, they are all in their own way special and dear to me. Each of them is telling a story. But one of my favourite is the one that was at the end also very popular – a roe deer photo captured in the deep forest in the heart of Velebit. I’m particularly proud of this photo because I won several prizes in a number of competitions and made a lot of appealing criticism.