Markus Varesvuo

Markus Varesvuo

Canon Explorer, Finland

Please share a bit about your background as photographer.

I guess I was born interested in nature, and it made me navigate to things like the biology club we had in my school when I was just ten or so. I had friends who shared this interest. And I lived in an area on the eastern fringes of Helsinki with lots of forest around us. We spent much time outdoors, and watching birds provided us with something to do. It was fun and exciting. Eventually it led to photography, first with my fathers camera and at about 15 I got my first own camera body.


What type of photographer are you?

I am a professional wildlife photographer, working full-time in my chosen field, which is bird photography, since 2005.


What are your favorite motives?

Bird photography was something I did pretty much constantly albeit in varying levels of engagement as life rolled on. At some point I started to harbour the idea that I would like to turn my hobby into a career and in late 2004 I quit my day job as the head of a group of media companies and set up my own business as a bird photographer. It has been my path since and I hope to continue until retirement at a very late age.


Which products do you use today?

Canon has been my choice since way back when, and now I have been a Canon Explorer for some years. At the moment I have two EOS-1D X Mark II bodies plus a 5DS R. Lens choices depend on the project and the target. Some birds are photographed from afar, which requires long tele lenses and extenders, others allow one to get closer and work with a birds-in-the-landscape approach, and then I can use wide angle lenses. Up until about three-four years ago, for well over a decade the 500mm was my number one lense. Now I vary my lenses more, ranging from 24mm to 600mm. 70-200mm is a very good lens and I use it quite a lot. The new, much lighter 600mm is probably the lens I use most. I use Shutter Priority, because I want to control movement.


Can you tell us about a photo moment which you will never forget.

My favourite photography moments are probably on the Norwegian bird island Hornøya in the Arctic Ocean. The birds are so many and so free and fearless, the conditions vary from great to fantastic, from a photographers point of view, meaning a lot of extreme winter weather.


Can you give an advice to someone who wants to develop in photography.

I decided to use my knowledge of birds as the bedrock for my professional photography. Also, choosing birds means you are not stuck to certain habitats or areas or style of photography. However, I specialize in European birds, one lifetime is not long enough to do all the birds of the world as well as I want to cover them. Although, sometimes I venture further out, Japan for example, as a bird photographers dream holiday, or I follow European birds to where they winter, such as North Africa. If you want to get serious about photography, observe. Study your subject or the world around you. Especially if it is an animal, learn their behavior, -for two big reasons! One: it will help you in your photography as you will learn to anticipate action so you are ready for it, instead of always being helplessly late. Two: you avoid doing harm to your subjects. Number two is actually rule Number One.