Many wildlife photographers become known for their jaw-dropping snaps of animals in the bush, or for their fierce focus on creatures that aren’t easily accessible to the public. And then there’s Konsta Punkka, a.k.a. The Fox Whisperer.

 

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~ Just chilling and enjoying the life

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A new side of wildlife

Unlike those other photogs, the Finland native prefers to capture close-ups of the animals we know and often ignore, like the common squirrel, racoon, and of course, fox. But what really sets Punkka apart aren’t his muses, but how he captures them: all of his photographs feature truly memorable animal expressions.

 

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~ Raccoon dog baby curiously looking into my camera

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“People live their busy lives in the cities and they don’t have any idea that they might be sharing a neighbourhood with a fox, owl, and squirrel family,” he says. “It drives me to go out every day to show people the perspective of the world through the eyes of fox.”

 

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~ Fox portrait taken at sunset light in Finland. Looking forward to more of these moments in the up coming months.

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The early days

Punkka started his career when he was 17 years old, turning his photography hobby into a full-time career—a career that has now included gigs for places like National Geographic, Greenpeace and Icelandair.

“I used to play drums in a wedding band. But I was never really better than average so I decided to give photography [a full-time shot] after I graduated from high school,” he says on his popular Instagram page, which currently boasts more than 1.2 million followers.

“I spent one summer holiday shooting all night and through that I found my love for wildlife photography. After I got the first fox shots I stopped doing anything else and I haven’t stopped since.”

A man on a mission

Today Punkka spends at least 200 days of the year outdoors trying to capture animal expressions. During the Nordic midnight sun season he switches his schedule to sleep during the day so that he can stay up and shoot at night.

 

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~ Found my favorite owl today. Great Grey owl watching my moves 🦉

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Meanwhile, despite fox continuing to be Punkka’s main focus, he also snaps shots of bears, deer, and other animals he comes across during such treks–both at home and abroad.

 

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~ Family portraits in Torres Del Paine. Patagonia III

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“I spend weeks and weeks every summer finding new fox families,” he says in an Instagram Q&A. “You need to spend all the nights with the families and follow their movements to get different perspectives. Of course always from a safe distance or with remote cameras. [The] more you spend time with them [the] better footage you get.”

 

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~ Curiosity

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Punkka never baits or disturbs the animals he shoots, but tries to tell a story through intimate portraits. “Intimacy can only be achieved through trust,” he says. “The animal is never just a random subject.”

Safety is also a huge concern for the photographer, especially when capturing some of the amazing bear shots that he does. To get up close and personal he dons a specific bear-proof hide with a “pipe system taking the human smell in the air” to protect him from “curious” animals.

Teaching us his ways

Having spent years on the fox-trodden path, Punkaa now shares his wealth of knowledge through workshops and by offering branded pre-sets for the amateur photographer to improve their own skills.

“Forest means a lot of different things to everyone, for me it’s a magical place full of life and different photo opportunities,” Punkka writes.

“It is a mysterious place where you can end up finding anything. For the last four years I have been focusing on capturing emotional and dreamy portraits of wildlife living close to my home or on the other side of the planet. My intentions are not to document their life, but to spend time there to get to know the animals and show what they feel and see.”

We’d say he’s definitely succeeding in that mission. Now… if only he could tell us what the fox says.