Our Ducktail Rainwear team always encourages the reader to be more mindful of our impact on nature and its’ surroundings. And there’s no better way to gain more knowledge about this topic other than to hear it from a person who spends most of his time there. Meet a wildlife photographer, Marius Čepulis, and explore nature through his eyes.
Hi Marius! Before we dive into questions, could you introduce yourself to our readers, who might not be familiar with you?
Hi, I am Marius, a dude from Šiauliai, Lithuania. I am related to nature in one way or another for the most part of my life: I have been an ornithologist since 13 years old and nature photographer since I was 15. Also, I have finished a master’s degree in zoology, I am the author of several books about nature, too and I have a Facebook page with more than 100 000 followers with whom I keep a conversation and share photos.
Along with that, I write articles about wildlife and host a TV show „Gamtininko užrašai (“Notes of the naturalist”) which is broadcasted on Lithuania’s national TV channel. Often, I visit schools where I educate children and work as an adviser for the minister of Environment, too.
Besides being in nature and taking photos, I also enjoy diving, traveling to the mountains and skiing as well as dancing.
On your social media platform, you upload many breathtaking shots of various animals and landscapes. Have you always been interested in wildlife and landscape photography? And how did you discover your passion for it?
Yes, I have been interested in nature from early childhood, maybe even since I was still a baby. I discovered my passion for photography when I was a teenager. But it was nothing serious at the beginning, I just clicked a button and that was it. Later on, I got more seriously interested in wildlife photography.
Why have I chosen wildlife photography in particular? Well, because I was interested in nature and I enjoyed photography. So naturally, I connected two of my interests into one.
Your field of work requires long hours of waiting in one place to get that desirable shot while being hidden in camouflage and various hides. How do you manage to endure that? Are there any items that are “a must” to take with you, besides your camera?
Honestly, it is important to have a fully charged phone and the newest version of “Angry birds”. Alright, I don’t play games anymore, but I read a lot. That’s why my phone always helps me to endure the long, empty periods while nothing is happening. Meanwhile, when I have subjects to take photos of, 9 or 16 hours fly by so fast.
Since we have already mentioned the various camouflage and non-camouflage hides, how much your creativity plays in creating these hides? Have you created any hides or costumes that looked funny but worked well with gaining the trust of animals?
Yes, I often mask as a hummock or a patch of grass. I have even created a swimming swan that was accepted by all other swans – and even got hit to its head. Besides these hides, I have also tried building a fake horse. However, that was a failure as no bird have ever seen such a horrific creature, so they flew away. On the other hand, I can get pretty close to deer without being noticed. They don’t run away as long as they don’t feel the smell of me. But it is quite scary to mask as a half-paralyzed horse in the middle of a farmer’s land.
What was the biggest and most memorable challenge that you faced while taking photos of wildlife? Is there anything that you would approach or do differently now?
The biggest challenge is that you never have as much time as you would like to. That is the only challenge. Everything else is possible. If not in a year, then in 20 or 30 years. There is one plant that I’ve been attempting to take a photograph of for 5 years now. And the more you know, the easier it is to avoid various difficulties. On top of that, in wildlife photography, luck is very important, too. You cannot tell a wolf to come and strike a pose for you.
As a wildlife photographer, you know a lot about wildlife and the risk of people interfering in the natural habitat of animals. What 3 DONT’S would you give to our readers who might accidentally get close to less common animals?
Firstly, if it is possible – never interfere. Nature perfectly solves everything by itself. If there is an injured animal, it will be taken care of by an eagle or a wolf. A little bird that fell out of the nest will also be helped by nature itself. It is not our – humans’ – business.
Also, we don’t need to feed animals (well, maybe except for the small sparrows that come to the feeding table). Along with that, don’t touch wild animals and their little ones with bare hands. And most importantly, do not leave rubbish out in nature.
What are 3 things you’re looking forward to do next? E.g., personal or career growth-related projects, goals, or upcoming adventures.
I want to keep writing books because these days I spend most of my time filming for television shows instead of doing photography. Because of that, I’m starting to conceive ideas about making a wildlife documentary. I also want to keep educating others, it will always be my priority.
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
Don’t love nature. It doesn’t need our love because we are monkeys that cannot show genuine love to it. We need to learn how to respect nature the way it is without discrimination against anyone. From the standpoint of nature’s mechanism, a tick is not different from a swan. When people understand that, my job will be done. Or at least close to it being done.
Thank you, Marius, for sharing your thoughts and experience with our readers!