Wild Wonders of Europe Launches Biggest Ever Nature Photography Project

Image: Pine Marten by Peter Cairns | www.wild-wonders.com

If you love nature, drop everything and sign up today for updates from Wild Wonders of Europe. We predict that this project will do for nature photography careers what CSI did for criminology. The haunting stillness, rich landscapes and sense of communion with nature that the photographs convey will make you long for a quiet cover in a remote glen with the weight of your lens in your hand. The stated goal of Wild Wonders of Europe is "to reveal the amazing natural heritage of Europe and to inspire a desire to save it."

TreeHugger met with Florian Moellers, Wild Wonders' Director of Communications, to learn what Wild Wonders of Europe is all about. We share this plus an exclusive photo peak into the galleries for TreeHugger readers -- just over the fold.Florian Moellers selected the special image below of dolphins breaching for spectators in Moray Firth, Scotland, for TreeHugger to share with our readers. It is just one of a couple dozen images in the teaser galleries at www.wild-wonders.com. These images by the project's directors -- Staffan Widstrand of Sweden, Peter Cairns of Scotland and Florian Moellers of Germany -- hint at the promise of 90 missions by 55 of Europe's top professional photographers in 44 countries over the next two years. As missions are completed, the bounty will be posted for all to see.


Image: Dolphins breaching by Peter Cairns | www.wild-wonders.com

To relax you while you read about the project, we have spiked this piece with photos that Wild Wonders has released for use by the press in publicizing the Wild Wonders project. Warning: these will whet your appetite for more.


Image: Fallow Deer in Snow by Florian Moellers | www.wild-wonders.com

Wild Wonders is the brainchild of Niall Benvie and Staffan Widstrand, stemming from their meeting in Alaska at the World Wilderness Congress in 2005. "People know nature and wildlife in exotic places," Florian reflects. Then his eyes light up as he lists examples of what Europeans probably don't know about their own back yard:

  • The second largest canyon, after the Grand Canyon in the USA, can be found in Europe (Montenegro)
  • Two pairs of White-tailed Sea eagles (comparable to bald eagles in size and nature) and 10 pairs of Common cranes can be seen in the city of Berlin
  • The Netherlands' Oostervaardersplassen national park recreates primeval marshes using Konik horses and Heck Cattle as modern substitutes for Tarpan (marshland dwelling, reed-eating horses) and Aurochs (wild cattle), both of which are now extinct.
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Image: Blue Flower by Staffan Widstrand | www.wild-wonders.com

Finding partners has been a challenge, especially because the "product" will not fully exist until the missions start. But gradually the list of major names has grown. The key media partner is National Geographic, which will publish an article in the standard 'zine and a special edition featuring Wild Wonders; the book of the project and a documentary following the photographers on their missions will carry the yellow frame as well. Nikon offers financial support and equipment. Epson will support the printing of large-format reproductions of Wild Wonder photos which will go on tour during 2010 - 2012 to coincide with communications around the EU Countdown 2010 Initiative.


Image: Brown Bear by Staffan Widstrand | www.wild-wonders.com

The first of 90 missions sends Finnish photographer Markus Varesvuo to the Puszta landscape on the banks of the Tisza River in Hungary. For each mission, Wild Wonders creates a wish list of target species: Hoopoes, Orioles, Rollers, Bee-eaters in the Puszta for example. Missions are not restricted to wildlife, but will also cover landscapes and natural phenomena such as volcanoes of Europe. Each mission is expected to result in 10 - 15 thousand raw images which will be edited down to a couple thousand for the archives. And, of course, a few gems which will inspire citizens of Europe and the world to look at nature with new eyes.


Image: Wild Boar by Florian Moellers | www.wild-wonders.com

Via ::Wild Wonders

Tags: Animals | A Picture Is Worth | Artists | Biodiversity | Birds | Conservation