All of my life I’d dreamed about being a wildlife photographer, but I just never had the opportunity. Thankfully that has changed in the past few years. Also, I had a really rare opportunity that allowed me to buy a Nikon 600 mm VR lens – the quintessential wildlife lens. Wow… a dream come true! It’s the most amazing piece of glass! Now I’m consumed with wildlife photography – I eat, sleep and breathe it! But working with a 600mm lens is challenging. It’s a lot of great glass. But producing excellent, sharp, well-composed images doesn’t happen overnight, not by any stretch. I’ve only had the lens out in the field for 4 months. I’m definitely making better and better images, but there’s still lots to learn. There are two things I am doing to improve my image-making with that lens. 1. Practice, practice, practice!! 2. Turn to the wildlife photographers I admire and glean expertise from them. They’re the pros and there’s a reason for it. So these are the people you should listen to. If you do, you’ll learn a lot. I am! There are several wildlife photographer that I follow closely – reading their blogs, tuning into their websites regularly, looking through their galleries to see the kinds of images they make – trying to glean as much information from them as I can. Some of them have instructional articles or videos on their website. To me, these things are like gold nuggets.
Over the next several weeks, some of my blog posts will be about these people –those whom I’d admire and in some cases am almost in aw of. Some of them are living my dream and making the kinds of images I really and truly dream about. I’ll get there one day and hopefully sooner rather than later.
Featured Wildlife Photographer: Moose Peterson
Today’s ‘featured wildlife photographer’ is Moose Peterson. Moose has over 30 years experience as a wildlife photographer. Although the equipment has changed over 30 years, his accumulated knowledge of wildlife photography techniques is phenomenal. And Moose was one of the first wildlife photographers to embrace digital photography. So he’s been shooting digital for a long time too. This guy knows his stuff! His website is a gold mine for wildlife photographers. I’ve been going through his blog website for weeks, looking at recent posts, old archived instructional videos, and a whole lot more and I still haven’t come to the end! If you want to learn wildlife photography, this is definitely one website you need to pay attention to.
I fully believe that some of the best learning you do is through experience. But I also believe that listening to and learning from people like Moose, with 30 years of experience, can help you improve by leaps and bounds. Why re-invent the wheel? These guys have so much accumulated experience and knowledge; you’d be crazy not to pay attention to what they have to say. Thankfully, Moose is clearly more than happy to share his expertise. One of my pet peeves is encountering well-known and/or experienced photographers who won’t share their knowledge – folks who believe that talking to ‘green’ or non-professional photographers is beneath them. Moose Peterson is most definitely not one of these people. His blog is focused on sharing his experience, knowledge, and expertise. If you go to his site, you’ll see a variety of treats for the wildlife photographer – technical tips, tips on shooting at certain locations, stories about being out in the field and comments on new gear, instructional videos, and a whole lot more.
Click on the thumbnail above and it’ll take you to Moose’s blog entry about sharpness. In it he’s got several links to instructional videos that are great! If you’re just learning to shoot with a long lens, like a 500 or 600 mm, then you need to watch these! They have helped me a lot.
There’s also Moose’s BT Wildlife Journal that you can subscribe to for a very reasonable price. You can download a complimentary copy and from what I’ve seen, there’s loads of great info in it. And if you prefer active learning in the field rather than reading something, Moose also offers workshops too. Wouldn’t it be great to be out in the field with him?!
If you’re like me – a real sponge for any information – and you want to read more, Moose also has a fantastic book for sale. I bought it a few days ago and am only a few dozen pages into it (I need more reading time!), but it’s great. Moose shares stories on how he started out as a wildlife photographer, what he went through to get to where he is today, and of course, includes tons of images, stories, technical tips, and advice on how to shoot wildlife images. So far, it seems like a treasure trove of great info and it’s a fun read. I’m finding it hard to drag myself away from it.
I highly encourage you to visit Moose’s website. I’ve barely grazed the surface in telling you about all the things he has to offer. I look at a LOT of websites and I can honestly say that this one is excellent!
And finally, if you want to see some incredible images, check out Moose’s image gallery to see lots of beautiful and inspiring images.