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on May 29, 2012 in Wildlife Photography

Story of Light…

The thing called is SO important in the formula of a single image and in your photography overall. In my travels the last two months, I’ve come across more photographers who either never considered spending a great amount of time with one subject in one place or “have that photo” so move on in a heartbeat. My style of photography has never been to chase the subject. I prefer instead for the subject to come to me. In this way, we use time to get into the flow of life, see subtle changes that can make or break a photograph and quite often, capture the photograph. When I hear a photographer that is bored or has done something before so they’re not going to do it again, I have to scratch my head. With a camera in your hand, how can you be bored or think an image will ever be the same, again?

Here’s an example of what sticking about for just 45min did for photographing Bison calves. As normal, we were up and out early on our K&M Adv SD to where we’d left the heard the night before. Early light just works its own magic we are all well aware of. And with Bison, once you’re parked and you stand next to your vehicle, they will just walk right up to you (and as the signs say, Bison can be dangerous). On this morning, the light was great at first but then the cloud cover started to form which, as you can see in the middle image, softened the light to the point where backlit was great because you had the rim lighting but with really soft shadows. Then the light went flat to the point it had no real character. Shooting with the D4 & 200-400VR2, the trick with all three of these lighting patterns was to look for character in the subject that the light worked with. The only way I know of making that happen is time and while I’ve shot Bison for decades, I never have enough time with them and never get the image I have in my mind. Light and subject are always changing, the trick is being in the right place at the right time with the right subject with the right light with the right gear. No wonder I keep going back to the same place. That’s a lot of luck to make just one photo!