Tell me you’re a photographer without telling me you’re a photographer.

I find it overwhelming to describe myself as a photographer; it is just a hobby of mine, it is one of the multiple ways I connect with the beauty of nature, it is about sharing this with those around me. To answer your question, though, let me say that sometimes I assess a situation based on lighting and shapes, so it’s probably where I am closest to being a photographer.

What is your favourite story featuring wildlife?

There are many stories to tell. However, my favourite ones are those where I get “adopted” by my subjects who consider I am one of them. It was a while ago, I was a beginner in wildlife photography and I had installed a few remote camera traps close to some badger setts as I wanted to understand their behaviour. A fox who had recently given birth came to live in the neighbourhood; her litter was only 2 or 3 weeks old. I went to check on the cards and batteries but, since I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible, I decided to go there after sunset. While I was checking on the camera traps, four fox cubs came close to me, curious but apprehensive. Then two more came out of the den. I stood still, afraid they might get scared and run away. After they smelled me and decided I was no threat, the cubs decided to play together, catching each other’s tails, biting ears. It was then I slowly drew back and sat down to watch them play like innocent, harmless toddlers.

I returned to see the fox cubs a few times, making sure I wasn’t intrusive. They were aware of my presence, of course, yet they kept playing without worrying. They had adopted me so we watched a few sunsets together. It was breathtaking!

Which animal was the most difficult to shoot? I saw your photo featuring the cuckoo fight, could this be one of your top choices? (I wish I had your luck) Am văzut fotografia cu lupta celor doi cuci, bănuiesc că sunt în top? (eu nu am reușit să-i prind până acum).

The photos of the two cuckoos fighting are, without a doubt, one of my best shots. And it’s also quite a rare thing as I have never before seen anything similar. Anyway, it was nothing strenuous or very hard. It’s true I was there to take pictures of cuckoos; I had chosen the spot carefully, so that it was eye-pleasing and then I waited, well camouflaged, next to a hawthorn bush; it was drizzling and without knowing it, I eventually got wet to the bone. The fight for territory between the two cuckoos was, in a way, an unexpected reward for my patience and persistence.

Last year, the most difficult animal to capture was the red deer. In the mountains it is almost impossible to catch it into the great wide open, without a lot of vegetation or obstacles. On flatter ground it is different, though. Therefore, the greatest challenge was not finding the stag; it was taking its picture against a pleasant backdrop, bathed in good light. Many attempts later, with a little help from my friends, after driving hundreds of kilometers and waiting for countless hours, I finally got to take a few shots that I really like.

What has the wildlife taught you so far?

They have taught me that in nature there is no good and evil; they don’t act in terms of useful versus useless; balance is the key! I have noticed that, although the animals strive to find food and survive in harsh conditions, they never waste anything. This is a priceless lesson for us – efficiency and resource management – which is crucial for any species whose aim is to survive and flourish.

What is the most frequently-asked question you get?

Most often – and mostly from beginners – I am asked about the settings and equipment I chose to use. It’s something I never did myself (go to a professional photographer and ask “What are your settings?”), although I used to worry and wonder a lot if my settings were right. Photographers who are more experienced usually ask me how I approach my subjects ,whereas the advanced ones, like you, seem to just appreciate the pictures; they don’t ask any questions because they know. If I were to ask a famous photographer one question, it would probably be about light and composition.

If I asked for a gift, which of your photos would you give me? Why?

You could choose one of my cuckoo fight photos, since you mentioned you like them so much! Which animal do you dream of capturing with your camera?

Care este animalul pe care visezi să-l fotografiezi?

Oh, there are so many on my list… From Africa’s wildlife to polar bears (I noticed you took many pictures of the latter). Nevertheless, I have been recently haunted by this idea of taking pictures of a whale and her calf. It would be fascinating! I think it would be a unique opportunity to share real emotions, to show what a special connection the mother and the calf enjoy in that huge underwater realm full of mystery.

I know you have been to Iceland - one of my favourite countries. What did you think of it? (I cannot forget the Skogafoss raven, it’s a wonderful shot!)

Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you liked it!

I was profoundly touched by Iceland. It is a tremendous paradise full of contrasts; its landscapes are otherworldly, the atmosphere there is so different from anything we’ve seen in Romania. Iceland is always spectacular. I have been there twice and I would always return, again and again!

In terms of wildlife, Iceland has validated my point, namely that animals, when they come across humans, respond mirroring the way we have treated them. In Romania most of the birds are afraid of us; a fawn would run away and hide if it saw a photographer. In Iceland, even if you don’t wear any camouflage gear, birds and animals seem to be unintimidated by humans. It is quite easy to get close to them and if you blend in and keep quiet, they let you stay around. I recall a pleasant encounter on a tourist trail: a bird flew so close to me, trying to deliver the message that I was trespassing her territory, that I could only photograph her head, although I was carrying the wide / landscape lens. To me this means the people of Iceland live in perfect symbiosis with the fauna, unlike our fellow Romanians.

Please describe 2023 in one sentence.

2023 has been a remarkably good year that has brought unexpected joy and unforgettable experiences.

As a photographer, what do you expect from 2024?

I don’t make resolutions photography-wise. Not anymore. There is less and less time for photography in my life recently. I won’t stop, don’t worry, I will only slow down a bit because these are the current times. There are a few personal projects on my list but I’d rather keep quiet for now.

I wish I am healthy and more serene in 2024, taking everything as it is. I also want to connect more with good photographers – those who are not competing with others, only with themselves – with supportive people (who just know when you need help), with those people who use photography to build, not to crumble. That’s what I wish.

You’ve spent quite some time outdoors in the wild, have you noticed any climate change effects?

Definitely! They are obvious! The landscape has changed, the animal behaviour and the weather are, by all means, proof that climate change has had an impact on the environment. The changes have affected the natural cycles and the balance of local ecosystems. Not too long ago it was relatively easy to shoot animals in winter, but there has been very little snow lately, although in the past winters used to be long and harsh in my area. In summer there’s extreme heat, a challenge for those species that need shelter and a fresh water source. Some species are not migrating anymore. So yes, the changes are obvious and we, the humans, out of sheer greed and lack of interest, are denying how vulnerable our ecosystems are to climate change and we choose not to take immediate conservation measures to preserve what’s left of our environment.

How do you take care of the environment?

I do a lot of things. The pictures I take and the messages they carry are meant to make people aware how important it is to respect and protect the environment. I don’t throw litter outdoors; on the contrary, I pick up whatever I find and dispose of it correctly. I am an involved citizen: I bring it to the attention of local authorities if I see a place has turned into a garbage dump in my attempt to minimize the negative impact of our species on the environment. As I frequently wear camouflage when I walk outdoors, in the wild, some people think I am a forest ranger, therefore I profit and scold them for any constant abuse or try to lecture and educate the ones who care enough to listen. I have recently told such a story on my Facebook page. Anyway, I feel there’s more I can do to help protect our nature and look after the wildlife.

And now, to wrap up, please fill the gaps:

If you were an animal, you would be a...

I think I’d be a wolf. I admire wolves for their independence and the community spirit they demonstrate. Or I might be an eagle. I love how free they are when they fly up in the sky, how they see the world from there. Or I might be a red stag. I like their dignity, their gracious walk as well as their ability to cope in different environments. Or I could be an owl. I just love their elegance and their expressive faces, they make me smile every single time. Well, I am sure you got the gist.

Your favourite quote is...

“When you have lost the connection to nature, you have lost yourself” – Ansel Adams

Your other hobbies are...

I also love travelling, exploring new places and discovering other cultures. I like to get lost in the beauty of a good film, I like to revisit dialogues that are meaningful to me. And I am also trying to regain the lost pleasure of reading because through books we can travel the world and find new ideas.


Interviurile cu oameni care au apărut, cumva, în viața mea. Oameni pe care-i admir și care, la un moment dat, au încolțit ceva în mine și au făcut să răsară o idee sau un gând bun. Am simțit că e rândul meu să-i descopăr și să mergem mai departe de aparențe. Cred că, cu cât au mai mult spațiu să se arate, cu atât și noi devenim mai împliniți.