Fritz Pölking

At the Pulse of Life

About Nature and Photography

120 pages, 120 color photographs, brochure, stitch-binding, text in German and English, 
Euro 19,80 or US-Dollar 22,80.   21,5 x 22 cm,   ISBN 3-88949-201-0,
Kilda Publisher, D-48268 Greven, Germany

You can order
At the Pulse of Life

Natural History Book Service, Totnes, UK

NHBS Mailorder Bookstore




At the  Pulse of Life, Fritz Polking.  The incredible images in this book will blow most anyone away.  The collection reflects a lifetime of hard work and dedication to craft matched by few if any contemporary nature photographers.  Fritz writes about each image (the text appears in both German and English) in an engaging style and if you have ever met him, you can actually detect the glint in his eyes while reading his words.  The text is so personal that you will feel as if you were there right beside him as he created each image. The chosen images show nature as reality, many feature life and death struggles while others convey feelings of tenderness, love, and affection.  To choose a single image as a favorite would prove a hopeless chore for most folks...  Many of the African photos are especially powerful as are those in the Osprey section, but you will find a gem or two with just about every turn of the page.   This, his 24th book, may be the best by far.  

Arthur Morris, Birds As Art, Bulletin #131, March 2004.














Winners and Finalists in this year's IPPY Awards, 
plus the Ten Outstanding books of the Year  

The 2005 Independent Publisher Book Awards attracted 
books from over 1,500 publishers around the world; 
from all 50 u.s. states, nine Canadian provinces, 
and 18 foreign countries. The ninth annual, 2005 Awards 
saw a continued increase in quality and diversity - 
and the writing and publishing exhibited great passion. 
Yes, independent authors and publishers are passionate 
about getting their message out, and they are changing 
the world, one book at a time...

Thanks and congratulations to all participants for your 
truly great work!

And now, the results:

IPPY Awards Final Results Announcement.txt winners and 
Finalists by category:

3. Photography

winner: A voice within: The Lake superior Nudes 
(Blacklock Photography Studios)

Joel Sternfeld: American Prospects (D.A.P.);
At the Pulse of Life: 
 About Nature and Photography (Kilda-Verlag)

IPPY Award Details.txt

7une 3, 2005 to honor the award recipients.

About the Awards:

The "IPPY" Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, 
unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the 
independent publishing industry.

The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to 
the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and 
self-published titles produced each year, and reward those 
who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring 
about change in the world of publishing.

The 2005 Independent Publisher Book Awards attracted 
2,175 books from over 1,500 publishers around the world; 
from all 50 u.s. states, nine canadian provinces, and 
18 foreign countries. The 2005 Awards saw a continued 
increase in quality and diversity - entrants come in 
all sizes and from all walks of life.

winners in each category receive trophies, two finalists 
receive certificates, and 5-12 semi-finalists per category 
receive honorable mention. A cash prize of $500 goes to each 
of ten outstanding Books of the Year, in cate~ories like 
"Story Teller of the Year" and "Most Likely to save the Planet. 
A gala awards celebration will be held in
New York  
at the
Times square Marriott Marquis.


At the Pulse of Life

Review in 
BBC Wildlife Magazine 
December 2004

Vital signs

Fritz Pölking has a lifetime of award-winning photographic experience to draw on for this, his 24th book, which is packed to bursting with stunning, natural images taken all over the world. 

He has an eye for the characterful encounter with wildlife, and many of the photos here give the viewer up-close contact with creatures such as lions, bald eagles, bat-eared foxes and even a wild snow leopard in Mongolia. 

He has captured plenty of exciting animal behavior, too, and his landscapes fair take the breath away.

The dual-language captions (German and English) share the stories behind the shots and reveal a self-deprecating wit and a quirky philosophy of life and photographic endeavour. 

Snapping starfish, he tells us, 'is not easy, even though they are sitting, clinging motionless, tightly to the rocks. Only the non-photogenic are found easily... Naturaly, the pretty ones are always very far out.'     Alix Lee


Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

March 2005

Tip of the Month

A must-have book --

At the Pulse of Life

by Fritz Pölking

The name, Fritz Polking, is familiar to any wildlife photographer who bothers to read photo credit by-lines. Fritz is a past winner of the BBC's Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, as well as being a three-time winner of Germany's GDT Nature Photographer of the Year award. Fritz is a German photographer whose work regularly appears in US, as well as world-wide, wildlife and nature magazines, and Mary and I are lucky to be able to call Fritz a friend.

Fritz recently published a visually stunning photography book that features some of his most outstanding work -- images that many of you have undoubtedly seen in past publications. There are so many images that I've admired over the years, and that I've hoped to shoot when I've been in the same places. Included in that bunch of images to emulate is a shot of a Galapagos hawk about to perch on the shell of a Galapagos tortoise, and a tussock bird about to feed from a giant Elephant seal. Believe me, when I was in both locations -- the Galapagos, and the Falklands, I tried to shoot similar images!

I'm not a fan or advocate of copying another's work -- the 'put the tripod in these holes' syndrome, but I certainly admire great images and I'm motivated to shoot images that are similiar. Rarely does one get the chance to do so, but images like those that Fritz has made certainly compel one to go to the same areas, look for similar opportunities, and, ultimately I hope, come away with shots that have one's own unique brand or mark about them.

Fritz has recorded some truly amazing images, including shots of an African rock python swallowing a gazelle, a Nile Crocodile swallowing a gazelle, and a cheetah about to tackle a gazelle. Sounds like either Fritz or I have something against gazelles, doesn't it? My point in mentioning these three images is this -- Mary and I spend a huge amount of time in Africa and I've yet to see a python with prey, and I've never had a chance to film a croc catching or in the act of swallowing a gazelle, and we've had few chances to do well with cheetahs chasing prey as well. So, I can really admire the work and time and talent that went into those images!

This is a book of photos, not a how-to book on photography. The text is especially refreshing, as it is a series of nature lessons and anecdotes about Fritz's shooting. For example, Fritz is one of less than one half dozen photographers to film a wild snow leopard, and his short story of those images are revealing -- he made to trips to Mongolia to get the shots, only succeeding by traveling to Mongolia in winter -- an incredibly tough place to be at any time, let alone winter.

You'll enjoy the book and you'll be inspired by it. I've always been inspired by Fritz's work, and in seeing this incredible collection, I've been humbled as well. It's simply great. The ISBN for the book is ISBN 3-88949-201-0, the publisher is Kilda-Verlag at, or you can get more information, and more photo tips, directly from Fritz's web site at



"At the Pulse of Life" shows moments within nature that, of all forms of art, can only be captured by nature photography in this specific way.

Only nature photography can show the spectacular reality that nature holds; for example, the essence of movement This turns it into something unique and unmistakable The following pages will show you iust such moments out of nature exciting, beautiful, humorous, informative and dramatic

Nature lives for the moment The past will only apply as far as having been formed and changed by her. Life within nature is the here and now and that is the reason why she is suited far better then hardly anything else to be captured by the medium of photography

The nature photographer as journalist with a camera is able to do this quickly, correctly, in detail and organized

We need photos like these in order to have a fitting picture of life within reality. They show us just what a grand spectacle life really is and - that everything in life repeats itself. These pictures show a part of every-day-Iife that does not produce news coverage. That is why there are photographs of nature which please, surprise or shock us, because they are an important regulater for the "manipulated picture and mutilated truth" that we are often confronted with

These pictures evoke the real world and in context with the writings and additional photographic miniatures that encircle the subject, show the pulse of life in its - fascinating - action, and they confirm what has been suspected, feit and discovered throughout the course of the years:  it remains difficult and - just like nature herself - it is a gift to photography

Painting, music and literature can express many things better than photography, but as a portrayer of the moment the here and now of nature, photography is unbeatable.

From page 116:

Which famous picture would you have liked to have taken?

The penguins on a blue colored ice berg by Cherry Alexander

Which talent are you lacking?

Patience - unless I am waiting in front of my subject, that is when I do have it.

What is the secret to your success?

There are four: unwavering diligence and self-criticism, selfcriticism, self-criticism.


Sometimes you are confronted with envy and malevolence, but l think that happens to everyone who is successful. I personally like to work together with other nature photographers. I have already done 3 books with colleagues and in our club of nature photographers "" we work on projects together with pleasure and often take pictures of the same subject at the same time.

Which great photographic feats do you admire the most?

The wildlife pictures of Jonathan Scott, the close-ups from John Shaw, the landscapes by Art Wolfe and the photo stories from Frans Lanting.

What will  the future bring?

The nature photographers will try to tell more stories with their pictures. In my opinion.

# # #