A BIG STEP INTO MY WILD PATH

Welcome again on My Wild Path, my own journey into the wilderness. In the previous post I talked about my first solo adventure on a hiking trail and all the emotions I was feeling while being there in the woods. No one else except me and the surrounding nature. This time I want to share with you another “special connection” I created while exploring the forest. I’m going to introduce you another big reason that made me start this journey into the wild and also made me get so passionate about photography. A big step into My Wild Path!

That was actually a life changing experience for me, since it affected my whole life enormously. Those of you who know me well probably already understood what I’m going to talk about. During a nice and warm summer morning I decided to take a hike in my favourite woods. As usual, I went there quite early to enjoy the first rays of light of the day and to relax in the magical atmosphere you can find in the forest at sunrise. Once again I was blown away by the striking show that nature was offering me!

Warm light of the sun through the trees in the woods of Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve

But while I was already amazed and my mind and body were completely blended with the environment surrounding me, I still had to witness the biggest surprise! I was busy taking some landscape pictures, and that time I was taking hundreds of photos when I was hiking, even in places where I was going very often, but suddenly something else totally captured my attention. I passed a turning point on my trail, and I stopped: there was something in front of me.

Not too close, but my view was very clear. I didn’t make any other steps, I took my camera, I slowly changed my wideangle lens with my zoom lens, but I didn’t take any photos yet. I just stood there observing, for a while. There was a deer in front of me. A female. A fallow deer, to be precise. She was standing on a small hill, a bit hidden by the trees. I was watching her, she was watching me. Our eyes were not looking in any other direction, just straight to ourselves. That was pure magic for my senses!

Fallow deer standing in the woods in Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve

I felt like there was a deep connection between us. I know it may sound weird for most people, but I felt a very strong bond with that animal. It was like we were talking, communicating, each one of us sharing our own feelings and emotions. Emotions like curiosity, surprise, astonishment. The whole moment was magic, and it was actually very fast. But to me, it was like time was frozen and I was spending an eternity there.

I finally decided that it was the right moment, and I took a first photo of the deer. That was my first picture of a deer in the wild. And not only that. That was also my first picture of an animal in the wild. That’s making it even more special to me! And that’s why I have a special regard for that photo. I like everything about that pic: the posture of the deer, the trees almost hiding her face, the woods in the background that makes a perfect natural frame. But above all, I love the experience and the story behind this photo.

Male deer hiding in the woods in Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve

Today when I look at that photo (and I see it everyday hanged on the wall in my house!) I can still feel the same emotions that I felt that day. And when I first saw it after taking it, I was thinking that I could somehow condense these emotions and relive them through this media. And maybe I could also share all of this with other people, to make them feel the same. To make them try these sensations too.

That was the real life changing moment for me. My love for animals and photography was already well developed, but something changed forever in me that time. I decided that this was the path I wanted to follow. I wanted more of that, more of that extraordinary encounters, more of that heartbreaking adventures, and I wanted to print them indelibly in my mind and in my heart. That was the moment that pushed me into wildlife photography, and made my connection with the natural and animal world even stronger! That was the big step into My Wild Path!

I managed to spend some other time with that deer, and take a couple of other shots, before it was time for her to say goodbye. After one last look into my eyes, she disappeared into the woods; my hike went on with my heart full of joy. I will always be extremely thankful to that deer not only for this episode, but for having had such a huge impact in my life. In the same way, I thank all the other animals who gifted me with such precious and magic experiences and I bless every single encounter I had so far.

Female deer sitting in the woods in Acquerino Cantagallo Nature Reserve

It’s really hard to convey all the feelings I had using only words. If you ever lived a situation like this, I’m sure you understand everything I said. If you haven’t, well, I invite you to try and I assure you that you won’t regret and you will ask for more! 😉 I will definitely talk more about deer in other occasions, since they’re one of my favorite animals. I also have many other pictures to share. This was a very big step into the journey on My Wild Path. Needless to say, it affected all my following trips and journeys, that I decided to focus on reviving this special connection with nature and wildlife all around the world, in different locations and with different animals. You can find some of these photos in my wildlife gallery.

But these are other stories..

Mirko Chianucci Written by:

I'm a nature and wildlife photographer based in Italy. With a great desire to explore the world, I'm deeply in love with nature and wildlife. My goal is to raise awareness on natural environment and wildlife conservation to help preserving the amazing wonders of our planet.

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