Sascha Teschner: putting wildlife into focus
Sascha Teschner has been the driving force behind our DMFF website for years, but of course, that’s not his sole preoccupation. As well as being a mountain lover, he also plays in a metal band Circle of Silence, attends many concerts and is involved in organising events such as Pinkpop, the largest rock festival in the Netherlands. But he’s also an avid wildlife photographer. We were curious to find out more …
Tell me, how did you get into wildlife photography?
It became a real passion at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Not that I hadn’t taken wildlife photos before. I guarantee, if you’ve ever been walking with me, you’ll know I stop a lot!
At the start of the first lockdown, I decided to walk to work every day. That was in the spring, so my daily commute by foot every morning would be accompanied by the sound of the dawn chorus. I must admit it was then that my photography got a bit out of hand. I make the trip in at least one direction every day and it’s different every time, depending on the season, the weather and the time of day. From close up, I’ve always experienced nature very intensely, whether on long trips or in a nature reserve. That has only intensified over the last year!
Many people take wildlife photos, what makes yours different?
I’m not the type to spend a whole day in a hide, I have neither the patience nor the time. Instead, I keep my ears peeled and my ears pricked. That way there’s always something to see, whether it’s dramatic scenery, the changing weather or the fauna and flora, but especially birdlife.
I love recording the day-to-day changes and the diversity of the landscape. My camera seems to sharpen my senses. And as I have limited resources to work with, I rely on creativity, an eye for detail and knowing what’s the best time. I might not shoot the perfect photo, but I sincerely hope I’m able to catch an exciting piece of everyday nature.
Which animals do you like to photograph the most?
The robin is without a doubt the most inquisitive. I have a large collection of those. You can spend minutes watching a robin at close distance and they’ll stare back at you with an equal amount of curiosity. Another of my daily rendezvous is with a heron. You can almost hear him thinking, “there goes that paparazzo again”!
Do you ever go to a specific area to get shots of new forms of wildlife?
No, not really, but if I’m on my travels, I’ll read up beforehand and plan ahead. As I’ve already said, my time is scarce, there’s often the four of us and you have to compromise. But the good thing is, my boys are included too. On a stroll through the woods they find looking for birds just as exciting as looking for street art in town. And boys will be boys, so they love mud and climbing trees!
Animals are always moving, so they are hard to photograph. How do you manage this?
Move with them! That’s probably the best advice. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve chased squirrels or the sound of a kingfisher. Some of the best places to take photographs often attract the crowds. It’s not that I don’t like taking pictures there, but with a little bit of enterprise you can climb a bit higher or get a bit muddier to take a better photograph. And if not, you can always come back tomorrow!
What do you do with your photos? Do you share them with others or keep them for yourself?
I take them for my own enjoyment, but I do share with others, not just for fun, but to inspire them too. Whatever I take pictures of – a festival, a sports event or a journey – they can always be used for other purposes, perhaps for publicity. That goes with my profession I think: they can always be tied in with current events or activities. I get a positive response and knowing that my photos are appreciated is always good.
Which photo are you most proud of and why?
Probably the photo of a Kingfisher in my local woods I’ll take tomorrow. I’ve tried countless times to get the perfect photo, but so far in vain. I would be really proud of that, if only for my staying power!
Last question: how can we start taking wildlife photographs ourselves? Any tips?
I could say get the right equipment and be patient, but I think my most important piece of advice to is just enjoy your surroundings and attune your senses. You’ll always come across something exciting that way and perhaps be able to get a decent shot. And if not, you will have at least enjoyed the experience!