AND THERE’S THE ELK!
— photo Giacomo De Donà / october 2015
Then the evening falls, the mosquitoes increase in number,
shadows thicken and only its great mass, supported by those grey
trunks perfectly camouflaged in the vertical pines, hint at it’s presence.
Every place has something characteristic that sets it apart and every habitat has a species closely linked to it. Forests are habitats that have always fascinated me, especially in cold temperate climates. Mountain forests and obviously the enormous uninhabited areas in the North.
The longing to explore those places is strong and the emotions you feel looking at scenery like that is really difficult to put into words, but images may help.
Every year the yearning to migrate northwards gets stronger, almost a necessity and every year going home becomes a challenge but one that we willingly accept.
A place as rich and mighty as the forest wouldn’t be the same without its inhabitants that live there and nourish it. I’m grateful to be able to observe them.
I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given to make contact with them, to live like them in their world , our world.
The silence of the forest, never still, is broken by the wind amongst the trees at night. The morning awakening accompanied by the pre-historic singing of the Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica). The slow walk around the edges of peat bogs and lake shores heard in advance by the trumpeting of cranes and wild swans.
Then the evening falls, the mosquitoes increase in number, shadows thicken and only its great mass, supported by those grey trunks perfectly camouflaged in the vertical pines, hint at it’s presence.
And there’s the elk!
Sweden is the country with the highest density of Elks in the world. In fact, here the forests are home to three times the number of Elks in Canada and 10 times those in Russia.
A male Elk can weigh up to 700kg! These kings of the forest are imposing figures with their majestic antlers. The animal sheds its antlers in winter which start growing again in spring and are fully developed in summer when they are shown off to win over the females.
Generally these animals are timid except in the mating season in Autumn. Despite their remarkable dimensions they aren’t easy to see. They usually stay well-hidden in the woods during the day, feeding on plants and shrubs. Sometimes it’s possible to see them trotting through the marshes, pastures and fields during their brief forays out of the woods, mainly at dawn and dusk.
The presence of Elk is fundamental for their habitat as eating up to 20kg of food a day and constantly trampling the terrain, they keep the undergrowth under control.
Giacomo De Donà was born in Belluno in 1987.
Belluno is a small town situated in the north of the Veneto region at the foot of the first high hills and mountains of the Dolomites: the Belluno Dolomites. These mountains are largely impassable and uninhabited compared to the more open and rolling landscape of the Dolomites further north.
The Dolomite mountains are made up of closed-in rock formations ,vertical in type and impenetrable in places. Behind each outcrop, a pinnacle conceals a perspective prompting a hundred more. Silence reigns here. You have to keep looking around to search for space, the openings blocked. Not everything is easy to find. Often paths, things, topics have to be looked for. Giacomo De Donà began his career as a wildlife photographer in this complex and stimulating environment.
Photography has become the means of exploring new lands, living even closer to nature, digging out it’s very form. He does most mountain sports, especially rock climbing and skiing. These are other ways of being connected, other views and contacts with an inspirational and shared environment.
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