PROFILE

Marc Albiac

A chameleon walks along a thin branch in a photo with a shallow depth of field.

Canon Ambassador Marc Albiac travelled 3,500km with three friends to the beaches of the southern Iberian Peninsula to try to find the elusive chameleon. "We were lucky and saw three different chameleons," he recalls. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens at 1/320 sec, f/2.8 and ISO200. © Marc Albiac

Canon Ambassador Marc Albiac's artistic ability and fieldcraft skills have seen him achieve world-class nature shots from an early age, including an image that turned the heads of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition judges when he was just 14 years old.

Born in 1999 in Barcelona, Spain, Marc was just five when he first picked up a Canon PowerShot G2. By the age of seven, he was making his own images with his father's Canon EOS 30D. His dad, a keen photographer, encouraged Marc's fledgling talent.

"When I was a child, even before I started to walk, I used to go with my parents to the mountains to try to see ibex, chamois and other animals," says Marc. "My father liked photographing them, so when I became older, I started to use his old cameras and began learning from him. Almost all I know is thanks to my father and what he has taught me over the years, and of course practising every time I had the chance in the field."

With family holidays and weekends focused on wildlife and photography, Marc became increasingly enchanted by nature. "Other subjects never interested me, photography was my excuse for being in nature and near animals," he says. "What has always fascinated me is the millions of ways that life is represented in nature and how two different organisms can have a common ancestor. Take whales, for example: despite being enormous and a different shape, they are related to deer, goats and chamois."

Marc's talent in photography was first recognised in 2011 when he won the Youth category in the MontPhoto International Nature Photography competition with a moonlit image of the Matterhorn mountain in the Alps taken on a Canon EOS 7D (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II).

In 2014, he won the 11-14 Years category of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition with a portrait of a conehead mantis among some brambles in his grandmother's garden in Barcelona.

"It was such a good moment," he recalls. "Being at the Natural History Museum in London with the most important people in wildlife photography was something I will never forget. It was very motivating."

Wildlife photographer and Canon Ambassador Marc Albiac.

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Specialist areas: Wildlife

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

A snake eats a much larger frog in the Costa Rican jungle.

Marc refers to this image of a snake eating a frog as "wildlife in its purest form". It was photographed at night in the Costa Rican jungle. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens at 1/250 sec, f/4 and ISO200. © Marc Albiac

The following year, Marc was a finalist in the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest in the 15-17 Years category with his shot of a jumping genet set against a starry night sky. In 2017, he was again shortlisted in this category, this time for an atmospheric image of wild boar trotting over a zebra crossing in Barcelona. The latter image also won first prize in the Man and Nature category in the 2017 Montier Festival Photo competition.

"Two of my most awarded photos are the result of two successful projects," says Marc. "I spent several months working to get the photos I had in mind. I consider the image of the family of wild boars crossing a road to be my best photograph."

The 21-year-old now collaborates with Canon Professional Services in Spain, has spoken about his work at some of the most important nature fairs in his home country, and led photography workshops.

"I really enjoy doing workshops," says Marc. "Not only to be helpful to people who are interested in my advice and want to improve their images, but because I learn as well. Speaking with other people gives you good ideas for new projects or new images."

A photo taken with a Fisheye lens shows a marmot peering inquisitively from beneath a tree stump.

Marc photographed this inquisitive marmot in the Catalan Pyrenees. "Marmots in this area are very confident," he says. Take on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens at 14mm, 1/1000 sec, f/8 and ISO400. © Marc Albiac

His passion for nature led him to study environmental biology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), sharpening his knowledge of the subjects he hopes to help protect through his photography.

"My studies help me understand how animals live and coexist in their environments in a more scientific way," says Marc. At university, he has also found inspiration for other groups of animals that he would like to photograph in the future. "All types of marine animals, vertebrates and also invertebrates interest me," he says. "Oceans are the origin of life and at present are home to lots of different animals from sponges to the blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have existed. I would love to explore and photograph the marine world.

"The natural world is unique, and it is our duty to protect it," he adds. "All types of life forms have their own scientific and natural value. It would be the biggest goal in my career as a wildlife photographer if some of my images were to help with the protection and conservation of nature."

What has been the most challenging species to photograph, in your experience?

"The Iberian wolf. It took two years before I observed one in the wild. I did fieldwork searching for their footprints and waited many hours in different spots without any luck. I had put out trail cameras to track where they walk. Then, in the summer of 2020, after spending a lot of time in the mountains without seeing any movement, I had three sightings. The wolves' intelligence, how their packs are structured, the difficulty of seeing them, and the shortage of photos of them in the wild, in my opinion, make the Iberian wolf one of the most amazing animals to photograph."



What fieldcraft skills have been essential to you as a wildlife photographer?

"Knowing how to find the signals of the animals you want to photograph such as footprints or latrines is a key skill. It is important, for example, for tracking down carnivorous mammals that are nocturnal and therefore less active during the day. Those signals are how we can commonly know that a spot we are looking in has the type of animal we are searching for. Also, if we know that there is a species of interest in a certain place, locating the footprints means we can, in theory, know which paths the subjects use."



What is your attitude towards post-processing?

"Normally I do not spend a lot of time on post-processing. Wildlife photos have to be as natural as possible while always playing with creativity. You have to be able to have the image as finished as you can in-camera."



What are your ambitions as a photographer?

"As a professional, I have not thought yet, but I would like to travel as much as I can. I'd like to visit new places in the Iberian Peninsula and find new subjects to photograph."


Marc Albiac's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Marc Albiac's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.

Cameras

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The successor to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II that Marc uses is the ultimate creative toolkit, with superb low-light performance, deep learning AF and 5.5K RAW video. "I use it nearly always for action photography. The fast autofocus is amazing," says Marc.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The updated version of Marc's Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a thoroughly accomplished all-rounder. Marc says: "I use this for macro photography and for trips where I have to bring as little equipment as possible."

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Built for those with a love of speed. Be the first to capture the extraordinary, and grab the moments that other photographers miss. "I use the Canon EOS 7D Mark II when I need the APS-C sensor for macro or action photography," says Marc.

Lenses

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

The successor to Marc's Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens is a compact, high-performance 100-400mm zoom that's ideal for shooting sports, action and wildlife. "I bring this lens on road trips with friends when I want to travel light and when we don't know where we are going to sleep (perhaps we might end up on a beach with nothing more than a camera bag)," says Marc. "It has a good focal range and is very compact."

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

The EF 100mmm f/2.8 Macro USM lens is equally at home for portraits as it is for macro photography up to life-size (1.0x). "I use this a lot for macro [work]. It almost always goes in my bag," says Marc.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

A premium quality, ultra-wide angle zoom lens, with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, for the highest image quality possible even in low-light conditions. Marc says: "I use this lens a lot for large subjects in macro photography. It gives me the opportunity to show the animal and its environment in just one picture."

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM

The successor to the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM that Marc favours is a high-magnification, super-telephoto lens featuring integrated Image Stabilizer technology. "The quality of the bokeh [when using this lens] with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is something that I like a lot," says Marc.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM

The new version of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens that Marc uses is a portable telephoto zoom that delivers professional performance, with 5-stop IS and fast USM focusing. "I use this lens in situations where I want to show the animals within a landscape," says Marc.

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM

The EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM is part of Canon's high performance L-series lenses and delivers fantastic image quality, even with such a wide-angle view. "I use this a lot for small subjects in macro," says Marc.

Accessories

Canon Extender EF 2x III

Ideal for press, sports and nature photography, the extender increases the focal length of Canon L-series telephoto or telephoto zoom lens' by a factor of 2x. "I often use extenders when I am in the mountains waiting for animals that are distrustful of humans," says Marc.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

The successor to the Canon Speedlite 580EX that Marc uses is engineered for fast frame rate shooting, and performs in the most demanding situations. Marc says: "I use the Canon Speedlites for all kind of subjects, from illuminating certain mammals at night to snakes on a sunny day. The Speedlite 580EX or 430EX always comes with me in my bag."

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