Frequently Asked Questions
I enjoy hearing from those who visit my gallery. Some of the more frequently
asked questions follow. If you
have another question, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also below you will find a list of on-line resources that
I personally have used and recommend.
Question: What kind of camera
equipment do you use?
Question: What do you think of digital
Question: Do you always use a tripod?
Question: Can I use your photos for a school
Question: How did you become a professional
Question: Did you put your web
site together on your own?
Question: What is your favorite
Question: As an amateur photographer, how
do I get my first photograph published?
Question: It must take tremendous patience
to do wildlife photography, doesn't it?
Question: What is your opinion of photographing captive animals?
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
Answer: I currently use a Canon EOS-1D
Mark III digital body and a variety
of Canon lenses: 500mm f/4.0L IS, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS,
and 28-70mm f/2.8L. I also use Canon 1.4x and 2x II extenders. I’m not
one of those photographers who spends time debating which brand is best. What’s
most important is to know how to use the gear that you have.
Question: What do you think of digital photography?
Answer: For many years I was a dedicated film user and was reluctant
to switch to digital. With a few Photoshop classes for nature photographers
behind me I wish I had made the switch years earlier. Digital cameras and Photoshop
are incredibly powerful tools and they will only get better.
Question: Do you
always use a tripod?
Answer: Yes, whenever I can. I use a Gitzo 1325 carbon-fiber tripod with a Wimberley Gimbal Type Tripod Head II. There are times when you just can’t use a tripod.
In Africa, shooting from a safari vehicle, I use beanbags as camera supports.
At times I photograph birds from behind the steering wheel of my truck using
a Kirk window mount with an Arca
Swiss B-1 ball head. In Churchill, when photographing
polar bears from a tundra buggy, I use a Groofwin window mount with a beanbag
attached. When photographing from any vehicle, the engine must be shut off or
the vibration will ruin the image. The only time I hand hold a camera is when
shooting from a boat.
I use your photos for a school project?
Answer: Send me an email asking to use a photo and in most cases I will
be happy to provide it to you. You can copy the web address of the photo you
want into your email so I can easily see which one you would like to use.
How did you become a professional nature photographer?
Answer: First you should understand that I am not a full-time professional
photographer. Although I dedicate as much time as I can to nature photography,
I'm in an unrelated business, which pays the big bills.
you put your web site together on your own?
Answer: After studying the web sites of many photographers, I created
the detailed design concept for my site. I then turned the project over to Jan
Allinder of Digital Imaging Group to turn my vision into a reality.
What is your favorite wildlife subject?
Answer: This is very difficult question. There's nothing like being on
foot, photographing the huge Alaskan Brown Bears. Finding an allusive Leopard
is always a great thrill. Birds can present a challenge even when you have a big
lens. Whales may be the most difficult subjects I've tried to photograph. I guess
the answer is that I don't have a favorite. Any animal that conveys behavior or
expression and finds itself in good light through my viewfinder is my favorite
of the moment.
an amateur photographer, how do I get my first photograph published?
Answer: The answer is really simple. Submit. Many amateur photographers would
like to see their images in magazines, books or calendars, but don't ever get
around to giving it a chance to happen. Numerous magazines have annual photo contests
or pages for reader submitted photographs. You can also search the web for photo
contests. Just follow the directions, submit, and see what happens. See my credits
for some ideas of where to submit.
must take tremendous patience to do wildlife photography, doesn't it?
Answer: I guess it depends on your perspective. You don't just
sit under a tree in the woods hoping that a critter may happen by. You go to locations
where you know you can find wildlife and you search it out. When you find a good
subject you may spend a lot of time with it waiting for some behavior, a great
composition or the right light. If you truly enjoy nature, the time passes very
quickly. I've spent six hours straight sitting on a cliff above an eagles' nest
with young chicks and the time flew by, not to mention the eagles. I've spend
many hours with cheetahs that I knew would have to make kills to feed their young.
To see a cheetah running at 70 miles per hour makes it all worth while. For me,
to lie on a beach and read a novel would require patience beyond comprehension.
is your opinion of photographing captive animals?
Answer: I prefer to photograph wild animals in an uncontrolled,
wild environment, but I'm not opposed to captive animals being used for photography.
From an editorial perspective, to represent that a photograph is of a wild subject,
when it is not, is just plain deceitful and unethical. Should wild animals be
kept captive at all? Well, I suspect that the majority of us saw our first "wild"
animals in zoos as children and this is what planted the seed of our interest
in wildlife. Without this childhood experience, I theorize that there would be
far less interest in wildlife conservation today. Great photographs of animals
such as mountain lions, wolves, lynx, etc. also help to expose the world to the
beauty of these creatures. I believe such images indirectly help to maintain an
interest in their preservation. Sure it's possible to get photographs of these
creatures in the wild, but it's rare at best. In a society that allows the use
of dogs to chase and tree mountain lions, and then shoot them at close range,
I can't get too worked up about photographing a well cared for captive animal.
Here are some on-line resources that I have used and I hope you find useful
EQUIPMENT AND PRINTING
PHOTO TOURS AND DIGITAL COURSES
McDonald Wildlife Photography I
have known Joe and Mary Ann McDonald for many years and highly recommend
their photo tours and digital photography courses.
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris may
well be the largest company offering nature photography tours to locations
around the world.
MAGAZINES AND CONTESTS
BBC Wildlife is a magazine
that sponsors the most prestigious nature photography contest in the world.
Nature Photographer Magazine provides
an opportunity for unknown photographers to become field contributors, who
can have their photos and articles published.
Nature's Best Photography
a premier nature photography magazine with a highly competitive photo contest.
Nature Photographers Online
Magazine has a wealth of information for nature photographers.
Birder's World is a birding
magazine with a weekly on-line photo contest which gives photographers an
opportunity to be published.
WildBird Magazine is
a birding magazine with an annual photo contest and also gives photographers
an opportunity to have their photos published online.
National Wildlife is
a magazine that has a very competitive annual photography contest.
Outdoor Photographer magazine
is a monthly magazine with a wide variety of articles and information for
an award-winning monthly magazine published by the Wyoming Game and Fish
Department. If you spend time photographing wildlife in Wyoming you should
subscribe. They have an annual photo contest for images taken in Wyoming
and the entire April issue is a photo essay using photos entered in the contest.
This provides an opportunity for many photographers to get published.
LOCATIONS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY