Marco Santinelli visits the Sibillini Mountains with the Ocean UNA
When Marco Santinelli, a Wildlife photographer from Italy, asked us which Tentsile gear we’d recommend for a remote shoot in the Sibillini Mountains, we suggested he take along our Ocean UNA 1 person hammock tent. Naturally, we wanted to follow his journey and see he got along!
I’m a wildlife photographer - a passion that differs from so many other Outdoor pursuits in that it’s often not photographic ability or the gear that are the priority. In fact, the most important thing is the ability to locate good wildlife habitats, and being adept at maintaining a low profile to stay hidden from even the most sensitive animal eyes and ears.
My Tree Tent has become an invaluable tool for these trips, because I can put myself out of sight nestled among the trees. This way I get a much better vantage point and am positioned a lot higher, so I can shoot without alerting the animals to my presence.
This particular morning I decided to set up my tent in the Sibillini Mountains, Italy, in a location that is off the beaten track. People don’t hike or walk here, so I knew this would be the place to capture some images of the Fallow Deer.
After an hour of hiking through the forest and only 10 minutes to find the best trees for the tent, I put on my camouflage and got ready for the sunset. The UNA Tree Tent lends itself so well to this kind of terrain – lightweight and easily to carry, it is the only gear that would work on such a challenging hike.
No sound, no people, no trace - only me and the Fallow Deer going about their daily activities to find food. These moments are like nothing else I’ve experienced - not in a zoo or a reserve, you find yourself immersed in the Wild, in its truest sense.
During this kind of photography session, everything is in a precarious balance - just the smallest noise - a breaking twig, or another animal - could disturb the Deer and I would miss my chance.
When the sun went down beyond the treetops I cooked dinner on a JetBoil stove, prepared a warm tea, and got ready to go to sleep in the tent. The night was epic – not only was I comfortable and secure in my shelter, but the animals didn’t see the tent at all; they walked and ate so close to us, often coming within a distance of 2m which would never happen if I were to camp on the ground.
The next morning I woke to the tranquil sounds of the Forest, and spotted three beautiful wild fallow deer eating not far from me. The perfect conditions and light allowed me to capture some incredibly unique photos of these wonderful animals.
I will come back again to this place, and without doubt I will bring our Tree Tent. Lightweight, eco-friendly and most notably, easy to remain hidden among the leaves and branches of the trees overhead – I blended in with the environment so well that I didn’t once disturb these rare and beautiful creatures.