How can a honeymoon shape the rest of your life?
To get an answer to that question, I interviewed the Spanish Nature photographer Oscar Diez. Oscar is a multi-awarded nature photographer and part of his work is published in various magazines and books. He is partner of the Spanish photography associations AEFONA and FONAMAD and partner of the Spanish Society of Ornithology SEO. Interested in all disciplines of nature photography, he likes to shoot birds, landscapes, mammals and reptiles. Nowadays he even starts to take his camera into the water to shoot the underwater world.
Oscar was highly commended at the NPOTY contest 2020 in the category ‘Birds’ and runner-up at the NPOTY contest 2017 in the category ‘Mammals’. Time to get to know this versatile nature photographer better.
Oscar was born in Madrid, Spain. Since he was a child he has been a lover of nature and all living beings that inhabit the earth. But it was only during his honeymoon trip in 2001, enjoying a safari in Kenya, that he discovered his passion for photographing the animals around him. Every single day during that trip he realized he could not stop photographing them. In April 2005 he bought his first digital camera and since then he became successful is his work as a nature photographer.
Jenkins' Whipray, Maldives, Oscar Diez
“As long as I can remember my parents took me to the country at weekends and to remote beaches during the summer. So as a child I felt I was always in close contact with nature. This really stimulated my love for the natural world.
As a photographer I consider myself to be an autodidact. Nature and the countryside have been my tools to learn all I know. Spending time in a “hide” to observe without being noticed by everything around you, is one of those feelings in life that leaves me speechless. It offers the opportunity to study the behavior of birds and other animals, which in return helps me to photograph the most interesting moments.
Common Starlings, Oscar Diez
I have always been studying different nature photographers. I don’t have specific photographers that I admire, I like all the different aspects and diversity in their work. Working with them taught me a lot and many of them I consider to be friends.”
“I work as a travel guide for wildlife photographers. It gives me the opportunity to share everything I love about being outside, observing the environment and everything that lives there. When I organize trips for clients, I want the results to be the best possible for them. So I plan and organize everything as meticulously as I can, leaving nothing to chance.
Iberian Ibex, Oscar Diez
But when I go on a research trip to a particular country or area, then after having found out what is most interesting in that particular area, I let myself go a little. See what happens, what crosses my path.”
“What I prefer to express with my photos is the freedom I feel when I am outdoors, showing nature through my eyes. I am quite puristic with my images. So I try to capture nature as true as possible, no double exposures and preferably very little post-processing.
Great Egret, Oscar Diez
I feel attracted to all disciplines in nature photography. It can be birds, landscapes, mammals, reptiles and nowadays even the underwater world. But no matter what or where I photograph, I will always try to achieve to showcase the protagonist, and to build a story around it by showing the environment of this lead character.”
“I spend much time outside, on my own but also with groups of people, and I have experienced that the more you know about things, the easier it is and the more natural it becomes to like them a lot. And if people start to like nature, they almost always start to take care of it instead of destroying it.“
Griffon Vulture, Oscar Diez
Furthermore I think photography is a perfect tool to reach out to many people. Not everyone is able to spend time outside. So with showing them the wonders of nature through photography, we can bring the beauty of nature to them and raise awareness for the importance of nature to all of us.
Black-necked Grebes in flowerfield, Oscar Diez
“For me it is interesting to participate in competitions like Nature Photographer Of The Year for two reasons. The first is because I enjoy competing and seeing how my work is valued. The second reason is that it is in my interest to become known to the audience as a travel guide for nature photographers, so people will book photography trips with me.
To photographers thinking about entering competitions, my advice is not to be obsessed by shooting just to win competitions. It is much more important to go out and enjoy nature a lot. And if this produces award-winning photos, consider that the icing on the cake.”
Wild Guatemala, Oscar Diez
“I don’t enjoy being active on social networks like FB and IG and I have to admit it costs me a lot of effort. I think this is more common in my generation. But at the same time it is clear to me that I have to be active in social networks to be visible. If you want people to get to know you and travel with you, there is no other way.”
Iberian Lynx, Oscar Diez
“Clearly the pandemic restrictions have been very hard and frustrating for everyone. But I have been out as much as possible, either walking around my area or to the places that were open. We just have to deal with it.”
At the end of the interview I asked Oscar the following question: “if you could ask another nature photographer one question, who would that be and which question would you ask?”
Oscar answered: “I don’t have that question at the moment. I am sorry, I can’t think of anything!”
Flowerfield, Oscar Diez