On December 14, 2017, John’s presentation to the Images Alberta Camera Club had nothing to do with cameras, lenses or techniques for photographing wildlife; it was, however, about the release of his new book, Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, covering the past 20 years as a natural history photographer (ever since he made his first photographic sale to Canadian Geographic magazine in 1997). John’s photographic advice to all aspiring natural history photographers:
Photograph all things “weekend warriors” don’t (e.g., porcupines, marmots) and try to stay away from always visiting the wildlife hot spots so your images appear different.
Don’t follow the lead of others.
Make sure your gear is ready; it is difficult to photograph fleeting wildlife moments if your gear is locked up in the back of your vehicle.
Turn on your gear, with lenses mounted to camera bodies and all settings maximized.
Convey a mood, tell a story or inspire a story.
Watch for the same behaviour, which will often be repeated in a static location.
Use manual exposure at times when the situation calls for it.
Use landscape photography techniques to create near/far relationships.
Take a near subject that can lead your eye through a composition.
Don’t be discouraged by missed opportunities.
How low of a shutter speed can you successfully hand-hold your telephoto lens/camera body configuration?
How low of a shutter speed can get away with on a tripod before your wildlife subject may start to blur?
What ISO can your camera body get away with?
Where may your lens be sharpest?
Upon completion of John’s presentation, it made me want to ditch my wide-angle zoom lens, attach my 300mm f/2.8 lens to camera body and head out into the bush!