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by david fletcher on Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:45 pm
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Hi all.  

Just curious.  Gonna ask what the most important thing with your photography regarding wildlife.

To me, it's always........ Being able to get into position.   Being where I want to be, so it's a shot I want to take.  Hell of a lot of logististics to get to that point.

Any takers for some insight that we can all share.   

All the best for Xmas to you all anyway
Make your life spectacular!
 

by E.J. Peiker on Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:46 pm
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Coming away with a shot that I am at least reasonably happy with :)
 

by SantaFeJoe on Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:19 pm
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david fletcher wrote:
Hi all.  

Just curious.  Gonna ask what the most important thing with your photography regarding wildlife.

What I like to strive for is getting a unique image that doesn't duplicate or replicate the thousands of other images of the same subject that are out there. Why would anyone only try to replicate anothers' image or view? It used to be that bird on a stick images became too cliche, but now BIF images are becoming the same way with the ability to shoot high speed bursts at high ISO's! Action and interaction images are more satisfying because they are not staged or predictable. I like to work with totally wild and free animals, but many of my subjects are habituated (although they are wild and free) and not difficult to work with and approach. It's a more satisfying result, but difficult to obtain, when you are working with skittish animals.
Re: Landscapes
How many images of Antelope Canyon (especially Canyon X), The Wave, Arches NP (Turret Arch, The Teardrop, Landscape Arch), Monument Valley (especially with the horse and rider overlooking the landscape and the Mittens)and every national park, can produce a uniqueness that hasn't been seen before? If a person is not producing a new vision, it is not what I would call productive. We are not moving photography forward when we are not thinking outside the box and being more creative. It's just more of the same old thing. I say, be creative and produce a new vision of places, and not the cliche version of them that everyone has already seen. My imagination is always sparked when I watch what people like Art Wolfe can produce out of what's in front of their lens. Of course, not everyone is gifted with that vision (actually, few of us)!

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by EGrav on Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:30 pm
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Or the ice cube on the beach in Iceland?
Or the guy with the flashlight/headlight pointing to the Milky Way?
blah...blah...blah....


Last edited by EGrav on Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

by Karl Egressy on Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:04 am
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I like being out in nature,  watching wildlife, especially Birds.
Photography is secondary to me.
When I'm out, I'm happy.
If I go home with a few good shots I'm happier but it is not a must to have  good shots.
I guess this is the result of having started out as a Bird watcher.
I wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season.
 

by david fletcher on Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:11 am
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Karl Egressy wrote:
I like being out in nature,  watching wildlife, especially Birds.
Photography is secondary to me.
When I'm out, I'm happy.
If I go home with a few good shots I'm happier but it is not a must to have  good shots.
I guess this is the result of having started out as a Bird watcher.
I wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season.


get that totally Karl.   I grew up walking in the woods stalking Fallow Deer.  Today, I can go out and just be happy to be out too, not even taking an image.   (that, is a happiness thingy, not important thingy for me).  Have a great Xmas and all the best for the New Year 
Make your life spectacular!
 

by prairiewing on Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:52 am
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To me, more and more it's "mood" as in EJ's  "A Foggy Swamp" in the gallery section.
Pat Gerlach
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:42 pm
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Some of the things important to me have already been covered in this thread.  However, what's really important to me is the experience.  I'm more like Karl. I will try and get a photo to share that experience with others if the opportunity presents itself. 

People often get asked, so what is your favourite photo? I really don't have one.  Actually, my favourite photo may be of a Barn Swallow entangled in a wire on a country road.  While driving around looking for birds, I saw this small swallow flapping its wings furiously and stopping briefly to rest before resuming the wing flapping.  You can imagine what it's like to be a bird and not able to fly.  All that wing flapping would have drawn the attention of kestrels and harriers that frequent the area.  I'm sure it would have been doomed had I not happened by. It's my favourite photography experience because wildlife photography is often a selfish pursuit so it was nice to give back and make a difference. 


Last edited by OntPhoto on Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:53 am, edited 3 times in total.
 

by kiwijohn on Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:41 pm
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david fletcher wrote:
Hi all.  

Just curious.  Gonna ask what the most important thing with your photography regarding wildlife.

Hi David,

Wow! Where do you start!
 
Nothing beats the buzz I get when I know I have a good BIF or some other difficult shot in the bag – important for self motivation.
But at the same time BEING there is very important – even if I don’t get a good shot all day – I am prepared for that, and I don’t mind at all. Some of my best shots ever were taken with the Mark 1 eyeball and stored in the little grey cells.
Other times it all just happens right and its keepers galore.
 
I think its important for a good shot to be tack sharp – this is down to lens quality (primes all the way) and good technique (and believe me, my technique is often far less than perfect!).
 
Lighting is vital, not just amount but quality and direction too. This is often pot-luck, but we have more control than we think most times – goes hand in hand with the chosen location/position of the photographer relative to subject. Needs knowledge and pre-planning. Being able to master flash so precisely and subtly that it isn’t at all obvious that flash was used at all…
 
Perseverance is important too, hours of muscle cramp and discomfort are forgotten in an instant when that bird turns up and smiles at the lens. Three of the most important rules to get that shot are 1. You have to be there, 2. You have to be there, 3. You have to be there. This is where knowledge of that animals biology and habits pays dividends, vastly shifting the odds in your favor.
 
Avoiding cliché as someone pointed out – I agree - if I see another ice block on an Icelandic black sand beach I’ll……….. Its important to look at the world differently to those who repeat ad nauseam the clichés of others.
 
Ethics regarding the welfare of the subjects have to be important to us too – is it a photograph shot at any cost to that bird? Knowing that people like the park rangers trust you and regard you as a caring colleague is priceless. This trust takes time, effort, common sense and self restraint to build up.
Then there are Photoshop ethics…. Remember you only lose your integrity as a photographer once…. After that the reputation sticks. Do those trick PS effects by all means but be up-front and open about it always.
 
I will stop here cos I am going on a bit like all old codgers do…

Take a look at this movie and what this guy regards as important when capturing landscapes... 

https://vimeo.com/91495217
Enjoy!

John S
 

by Ed Cordes on Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:14 am
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To me it's about the experience. I totally agree with Karl and Onphoto above. Some of my images merely document my experience and a few do go to the next level of transmitting the essence of the experience. I really like them all. In the end it is being out in the field that I love. Editing the image later let me relive the experience. I am also one of those weird people who actually enjoy post processing. It is here that I try to bring out the emotion behind the better images I have managed to make.
Life is beautiful, but remember, a little mild insanity keeps us healthy
 

by Wildflower-nut on Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:14 am
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For me it is the experience of being there and the photographic process. Whether I get a good picture is not that important.
 

by Stephen Feingold on Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:08 pm
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I enjoy sharing my vision with others. When photographing I often ask people if they would like to look thru the viewfinder; usually to wow's of surprise.
I believe this spreads appreciation for what we do.
 

by Andrew_5488 on Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:14 am
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The most important thing with my photography regarding wildlife is to not disturb that wildlife.
Being outside and being able to watch it is good enough. Photography is a bonus.
 

by tom walker on Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:20 pm
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While I agree with Joe that many photos do not "advance the medium" most photographers, perhaps the vast majority, have no interest in advancing anything but only want good images. I know that the Mesa Arch shot has been done a zillion times but I still wanted the experience. (I must admit I was not prepared for 100 other people to be there, mostly with cell phones, but I still got a nice shot in my one and only trip I will ever make there.) I think most photographers want the experience and have fun, not break new ground.

My own goal is to enjoy wildlife in an unobtrusive manner and without disturbance. I do not offer advice about bear photography here in Alaska because I am concerned about people who know nothing about bears pushing the safety envelope to get pictures like ones they have seen published elsewhere. We do carry a responsibility as professionals to share true information about photographing dangerous animals.
 

by david fletcher on Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:25 am
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just a quick thanks to the replies and those sharing their thoughts.
Make your life spectacular!
 

by Primus on Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:30 am
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I am not a pro so my views would come from the amateur arena.

We all know that a static picture can never capture the true beauty of a landscape or the thrill of being there. Neither can it do justice to seeing a bird or animal in its natural habitat. Our brains tend to superimpose our emotional state on top of the visual spectacle which creates the whole experience.

Thus, for me the best part of photography is that it allows me to travel to places which I otherwise would not. As most have said, it is about being there.

Some in my family and extended friend circle like to take holidays to exotic locations where the most important thing is the luxury, comfort and food provided by the venue. Thus it has to be the best cruise-ship or a famous hotel in a famous place. For me a trip to Africa is far more exciting than a visit to see the treasures of Spain or Italy. When my family hears about my next trip to Africa, they ask me if I am crazy - 'but haven't you seen an elephant already? Don't they all look the same?"

The entire process is exciting for me - the planning, the journey (even though it is painful at the time), the anticipation, the sounds of nature as I wake up before sunrise, heck even the smells that greet me at the small airports in Africa - of the land and those that live there - it's all part of the experience that keeps drawing me back again and again.

The photography itself is a huge bonus on top of everything else. It is almost heart-stopping to see a baby elephant through my viewfinder, or the majestic beauty of a male lion in its prime. And when I've got the shot I wanted I am happy all day. 

I am not concerned about whether the images I am making are common or boring or if they will fetch any value any where. Since I am only doing this for myself - don't sell them, don't enter competitions, don't do shows - I am able to enjoy taking pictures without the worries that often accompany the process. Yes, I do look at the work of famous photographers and draw inspiration from them, unashamed to say I even try to capture similar images. But it is all about improving my own techniques and abilities, my own eye and vision. 

We are all blessed to have the equipment we have today. 

Pradeep
 

by jnadler on Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:08 am
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It varies, currently....acceptable sharpness.

I was just at a distant snowy owl andd took 400 images with best tripod technique with Canon 500mm i and 2x i. Not one of them met my minimal requirements of adequate sharpness. I can handle many weaknesses in post processing of exposure, composition, etc. but if subject is not sharp enough, sharpening does not remedy.
Jeff Nadler
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by Mark Picard on Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:50 am
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For me, just getting out there is important, but my most important thing is sending subliminal attention to wildlife through my photography. When people respond with "That's a great shot", what that means to me is that they have seen the beauty in the animal and it has raised their conscience towards that species. Perhaps in the future they will support that animal in some way because my photograph has increased their attention to it. I probably didn't convey this well, but I hope you get my drift.  :D
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by hcarl on Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:26 am
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jnadler wrote:
It varies, currently....acceptable sharpness.

I was just at a distant snowy owl andd took 400 images with best tripod technique with Canon 500mm i and 2x i. Not one of them met my minimal requirements of adequate sharpness. I can handle many weaknesses in post processing of exposure, composition, etc. but if subject is not sharp enough, sharpening does not remedy.


Jeff:  Have you been able to produce acceptable images to your liking with this combination in the past.  At the distance you were shooting it could be atmospheric conditions that area affecting the sharpness.  What was the ground between you and the owl like and what were the day conditions like.  hcarl
 

by david fletcher on Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:02 pm
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hcarl wrote:
jnadler wrote:
It varies, currently....acceptable sharpness.

I was just at a distant snowy owl andd took 400 images with best tripod technique with Canon 500mm i and 2x i. Not one of them met my minimal requirements of adequate sharpness. I can handle many weaknesses in post processing of exposure, composition, etc. but if subject is not sharp enough, sharpening does not remedy.


Jeff:  Have you been able to produce acceptable images to your liking with this combination in the past.  At the distance you were shooting it could be atmospheric conditions that area affecting the sharpness.  What was the ground between you and the owl like and what were the day conditions like.  hcarl


that's a good point... Steve Perry explains it quite well.  about 7 m 20sec into the Video HERE
Make your life spectacular!
 

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