Interview with Miguel Lasa, a NatureScapes Birds Forum Moderator

by Miguel Lasa | June 1, 2012

© Miguel LasaSpanish born Miguel Lasa has been taking photographs for more than 30 years. He has traveled the world in search of nature and wildlife subjects, spending time in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Arctic. His photographs of wildlife have earned him a number of prestigious awards, including winner in the Creative Visions of Nature category in the 2008 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and runner up in the International Wildbird Photography Awards in 2005.

What’s your favorite walk around lens?

I like my Canon EF 500mm f/4 and my EF 300mm f/2.8 lenses. They are very sharp with excellent image quality. Sometimes I add a 1.4x converter to get closer to the action. When convenience is key, I enjoy my Canon 100-400mm f/5.6 lens.

When did you first become interested in photography?

I became interested in photography at age 10, but became more serious about it at 20 when I got my first 35mm film SLR, a Canon 1000 FN. I started with landscape photography then wildlife become my passion. I started traveling the world in search of wildlife: the USA, Canada, Africa, Scandinavia, Spain. In these places the landscape became alive with beautiful wildlife, birds and mammals, from polar bears to lions, leopards, cheetahs and Indian Tigers, eagle, and ospreys. I traveled to warm tropical and cold arctic tundra environments. I learned to dive and take photographs underwater. Photographing wildlife has become my passion.

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?

I always want to give my photos an artistic and wild feeling. Wildlife is beautiful. With my photography I want to show the beauty of nature in its environment and its armory of light and color. Light and composition are very important to me as I want to create photos with natural wildlife patterns, light and shadows. Weather can change your photography so much. I like sun and golden light but my favorite photography is during snowy and misty days when shapes and moods become alive.I also like blurry artistic photos. They are so creative – you could look at them forever.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would it be?

My favorite location is the Arctic. I love taking pictures of polar bears. The light is low in the horizon and creates superb light compositions. I like working in the cold temperatures. I feel better and more creative then. Snowy and rainy days are my favorites for photography. I could be so creative with the light and shapes of changing weather. The coldest temp I have ever been was minus 50 centigrade while photographing polar bears in Canada. It was really cold!!

Can you describe that “moment” when you knew that photography was something you just had to do?

After visiting the Farne Islands in UK for puffin and bird photography, I decided to concentrate on wildlife and travel the world. While traveling the world I discovered new species, their natural environments and their behavior. I learned to blend in with nature while taking my photos. Wildlife and nature is now my passion. I love to be in the wild.

Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?

I am self taught and have learned a lot at home and in the field. While I didn’t have a single hands-on mentor to show me the ropes, many great photographers inspire me all the time.

About the Author

Miguel started taking photographs as a teenager when his mother gave him a film SLR as a birthday gift. Since then, photography has become his passion. He began by photographing landscapes, but his most recent interest is wildlife and birds, sparked by the Wildlife Photography of the Year books. Miguel has traveled the world in search of wildlife subjects and has visited Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, India, Canada, USA, Alaska, Norway, Finland, Ireland, England, and Spain. He has recently began to pursue underwater photography with dive trips to Maldives and the Red Sea. Miguel's work has been widely published and he has won numerous photography awards including the first place in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition Creative Visions of Nature category and visitor's choice award in 2008. His winning image "Polar Sunrise" was displayed in an exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London. Visit his website at: www.miguellasa.com.

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