I've been doing photography all my life but started taking it a bit more seriously when I chose to study photography in college but it wasn't until 2012 when I realized it's wildlife and nature photography that I want to specialize in, which is why I wanted to study this course. I'm currently in my second year and when I finish this course I'm aiming to move back to Sweden, where I'm from, and hopefully keep doing wildlife and nature photography.
I own a Canon 60D and a Sigma 18-250mm lens however I barely ever use these as I have access to one of the best photography stores in Europe at my university with all the high-end camera gear I require to use for free during the duration of my course. My favourite set-up is a Canon 5D mkIII with a 300mm f/2.8 lens combined with teleconverters if necessary.
Cameras: Canon 60D, Canon 1000D, Canon 350D
Lenses: Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3, Canon 50mm f/1.8
University equipment I use
Canon cameras: 5D mkIII, 6D, 7D
Canon lenses: 300mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, 100mm f/2.8 macro, 1.4x, 2x
Nikon cameras: D810, D800E, D600, D7000
Nikon lenses: 300mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4, 105mm f/2.8 macro, 14-24mm f/2.8, 1.4x, 2x
Other equipment: GoPro Hero 2, GoPro Hero 3
University underwater equipment
- Nikon D7000 + 60mm f/2.8 macro + Nauticam housing + Sea & Sea strobe x2
- Panasonic Lumix GX1 + 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 + Nauticam housing + Sea & Sea strobe
You have so many amazing shots of wildlife, what tips do you have to help other photographers get closer to animals for shots like yours?
Wildlife photography can be very difficult if you don't have access to wildlife on your doorstep which many photographers do, with foxes in their garden and all sorts of wildlife. I've never really had access to wildlife like this but as my knowledge and passion has evolved I've started to pay a lot more attention and I've noticed that there's a lot more interesting species in the area where I live than I first thought. So this is my greatest tip, to start looking around you and pay attention to where you can find these animals and what their behaviour is like. I've done a lot of photography in a few different hides, there are many hides around the world where you can get really close to some of these animals without interrupting their natural behaviour, there might be a hide close to where you live (though there are also many hides built for commercial purposes and therefore cost a lot of money). Parks and nature reserves are also great areas to do wildlife photography, the less human interaction the animals are used to the more "stalking" skills you need, so it might be a good idea to start in areas where the animals are used to us humans and thus easier to get close to.
"Start looking around you and pay attention to where you can find these animals and what their behaviour is like."
Could you talk us through how you achieved the below image?
This was taken during a trip with my course to the Red Sea in Egypt. This was during the first night, the only night I actually did astrophotography as I felt limited by my poor equipment. When I do startrails I only need 4 simple tools; camera, wide angle lens, tripod and cable release. The better the quality of the camera and lens the better the result. To achieve startrails like these I set my camera to manual mode, 30 seconds shutter speed, lowest aperture and a high ISO, like 1600 or more depending on how much noise your camera creates at these high numbers. Manual focus set on infinity and camera needs to be on continuous mode, then I lock in my cable release and my camera will keep taking photographs until I feel like I'm done, the longer I wait the longer the startrails. A separate exposure for the foreground is likely to be required to get it sharp and correctly exposed. It all comes together in post-processing where I stack all my startrail-shots, blend the layers to 'lighten' and voilá! Foreground can then be added on top with the sky masked out to reveal the startrails. I'm currently working on a project in astrophotography where startrails will be one of my techniques, like such: linneaphoto.deviantart.com/art…
Does your location offer you the chance to capture certain types of photography or specific scenery?
I live in Cornwall as this is where my course is based and it's quite an amazing landscape with lots of opportunities. I mainly focus on wildlife and birds, there are plenty of birds all around the county and recently I've started being a bit more serious about birds and visited specific locations to find specific birds such as snow buntings, black redstarts and water rails. Cornwall is also a great location for landscapes, however I'm more interested in night-time landscapes.
What technique do you use for capturing beautiful softened water like in this photograph?
This photograph was achieved by getting up before sunrise to get the beautiful, soft morning light, the low light, together with the right camera settings, allows the water to naturally become smoother with long shutter speeds. My settings were a small aperture to allow as little light as possible to hit the sensor, the lowest ISO to ensure a good quality and then whatever shutterspeed is require for the correct exposure, hopefully as long as possible. If I would have used ND filters my shutterspeeds would have been even slower and the water even softer.
Huge thanks go to linneaphoto for her insight and sharing some of her tips and hints for wildlife photography!