In a world filled with division and strife, some stories have the power to warm our hearts and remind us of the simple joys in life. Welcome to Tanja Brandt’s Owlet-Dog Duo.
Photographer Tanja Brandt’s extraordinary journey is one such tale that brings to light the incredible bond between animals, and it’s a story that unfolds in the most captivating way through her lens.
Over the years, Tanja Brandt has documented some of the most heartwarming moments of animal friendships. Still, one of her most enchanting projects features the unlikely companionship between her loyal Malinois, Ingo, and an adorable 1-year-old owlet named Albi.
The Unlikely Duo
Ingo and Albi are an extraordinary pair of friends, and their story transcends the boundaries of species. On one hand, you have Ingo, a Malinois, a breed typically associated with law enforcement, known for their discipline and strength. On the other, there’s Albi, the tiniest and most delicate of seven owlets. If you’ve ever seen two creatures so different, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more unlikely pair of best buddies.
Their Story Begins
Both Ingo and Albi belong to the talented photographer Tanja Brandt. She captures their heartwarming moments together, showcasing their incredible bond through a series of endearing photographs. Her Instagram account is a treasure trove of these captivating images, portraying Ingo and Albi hanging out, cuddling, and even reading together. It’s a narrative that’s both visually striking and emotionally resonant.
Tanja’s Work of Art
Tanja’s work as an animal photographer is not just a job; it’s a passion. She shares her life with her animal subjects, a solitude of her choice. Her lens captures the beauty of these animals’ lives, often in the company of her beloved owls and dogs like Ingo. However, it’s the exceptional bond between Ingo and Albi that has truly captured the hearts of the 500px community, making her work an instant hit.
The Challenge of the Lens
Behind every awe-inspiring photo lies a great deal of hard work and skill. Tanja faces unique challenges in her career, especially when it comes to photographing her Harris Hawks. These birds are wild, and capturing them in their natural state requires patience and precision. The lenses she uses demand that she keep a distance, but the birds don’t always cooperate. They may sometimes fly to her in search of comfort. Despite these challenges, Tanja manages to capture incredible moments, and the results are nothing short of mesmerizing.
The Unbreakable Friendship
Peculiarly, the relationship between Ingo and Albi doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Ingo, being the protector, complements Albi’s vulnerability. The story of Albi birth is a testament to their bond. He was the smallest of seven hatchlings, and all six of his siblings hatched, leaving him behind. The breeders were on the verge of discarding his egg, but right before they did, Albi, the hero, cracked open the shell. This seemingly inconsequential event marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Protection and Trust
Albi life is fragile, and the great outdoors can be dangerous for a young owlet like him. Ingo recognizes this and protects his feathered friend. Every time they venture outside, Albi perches on Tanja’s hand while Ingo roams freely but not too far. Cats or other predators could pose a threat to Albi, who doesn’t know how to live in the wild. This trust they share is built on mutual respect and understanding. Ingo knows how to navigate the world of wild birds, adjusting his behavior when needed. He treats them gently, a stark contrast to how he may react with other dogs.
Social Media Sensation
Tanja Brandt isn’t just a photographer; she’s a social media sensation. Her remarkable photographs and captivating stories have garnered her a massive following on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Her posts offer an intimate look into the lives of her animals, particularly her owls and dogs, making her one of Germany’s most influential photographers on social media.
The Dream of Owning Owls
Tanja’s journey into the world of owls started with a dream. To fulfill this dream, she obtained a hunting and falconry license, a legal requirement in Germany. Her owls became an integral part of her life, and their interaction with her dogs is heartwarming. Ingo and Dio actively participated in hand-raising eagle owls, creating a unique bond with these majestic birds. Tanja’s love for these creatures extended to other owl species and even a desert buzzard named Phoenix, who now lives alongside the rest of her avian family.
The Stars of Her Stories
Among her avian family, some owls have become stars in their own right. The chronically bad-tempered Gandalf, paired with Gerd, and the fearless little owl Albi, whom Tanja rescued as a nearly lifeless chick, all have their unique stories that captivate her followers. They’ve also formed strong connections with her dogs, making their interactions an endearing sight for her fans.
The Power of Authenticity
Tanja Brandt’s success in the world of social media doesn’t come from following a strict strategy; it’s born from her authenticity. She invites her followers into her life, offering a glimpse into her everyday world, which she humorously describes as “usually somewhat chaotic.” Her posts serve as a distraction, a source of entertainment, and a mood booster for her audience. Moreover, Tanja’s openness about her diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome has endeared her to many, as she emphasizes that there’s no shame in discussing mental health issues. It’s this authentic connection that truly sets her apart in the world of social media.
The Business of Photography
Tanja’s success extends beyond social media. She has published numerous books, including photo and non-fiction books, illustrated volumes, and her biography. In addition to books, she offers calendars, posters, and other merchandise on her website. She also collaborates with companies in the pet food and photography industries and provides lectures, workshops, and coaching sessions. Her willingness to share her methods, even when it comes to using programs like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, makes her an approachable figure in the photography world. Her dedication to the result over the process is a philosophy that resonates with many photographers.
The Quest for Perfection
Tanja’s quest for perfection extends to her choice of equipment. She demands precision from her monitor, using EIZO’s ColorEdge CS2740 to provide her with a razor-sharp 4K resolution. Her attention to detail ensures that every image she captures meets her high standards.
An Exciting Future
As Tanja Brandt embarks on a journey to convert a former village bakery into her new home, her passion for wildlife photography and the bonds between animals remains unwavering. With her partner, Christian Borchart, she’s creating a space that will allow her to expand her aviaries and continue her work. The property’s location presents its challenges, including a cast of nighttime animal visitors, but Tanja welcomes them into her social media family.
In a world that often feels chaotic and divisive, Tanja Brandt’s story stands as a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the beauty that exists in the most unexpected places. Her ability to capture the heartwarming bond between her loyal Malinois Ingo and the adorable owlet Albi serves as a reminder of the extraordinary connections that exist in the animal kingdom.
Tanja’s journey from a trucking company owner to an accomplished animal photographer is a source of inspiration. Her authenticity, her dedication to her subjects, and her willingness to share her methods have made her a social media phenomenon and a respected figure in the world of photography.
As she continues to create her heartwarming and visually striking stories through her lens, one can’t help but feel uplifted and grateful for the reminder that the world is still filled with beauty, kindness, and the extraordinary relationships that define it. Tanja’s work serves as a beacon of hope in an often turbulent world, reminding us to appreciate the simple joys of life and the magic that exists in the bond between animals.
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