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on Feb 2, 2014 in Wildlife Photography

So, I Want YOU to be a Wildlife Photographer

Mountain Bluebird

Art and craft of wildlife photography has changed in some aspects greatly since I started back in the 70’s and then, it’s not changed at all. One of the best lenses to have is a 400mm and back then, they were rare and expensive. Now, you can pick up a 70-300 or 80-400 for less than those back then, and they are smaller and sharper. And we’re no longer stuck with just 36frames at a time, thank goodness. And while the art of wildlife photography has greatly increased in the last decades, the craft has suffered some as many turn to technology rather than personal growth to make the great image. Yet, the number of photographers exploring wildlife photographer is slowly declining and the number of images being shared to the general public slowly declining as well. I need YOU to make them great images and share them to enlighten all about our wild heritage! Many ask though, “Where do I start?”


In all sincerity, the best place to start is in your own backyard! It’s where I’ve been shooting and continue to shoot for decades. You can get a real quick course on making a backyard shooting gallery in my KelbyTraining course. But the basics are real simple: food, water, light and time and of course, a camera. And with no real knowledge other than how to load batteries and a CF Card, you and the critters will teach you all you need to know. It is very intoxicating and with that first bird or squirrel in the viewfinder, the bug will bite and life takes care of the rest.

Jake & Brutus

What is the end goal? I’m not sure there is one to be honest with you but being kissed by a griz like Jake is here is not it. Unlike other photographic disciplines, wildlife photography is so dependent on a subject showing up and we have no control over that. Without that control, we must depend in large part to luck but it’s a luck we make for ourselves. That luck we make comes from lessons we learn in our own backyard by watching and shooting. Putting ourselves in the right place at the right time with the right gear comes from the lessons we teach ourselves. And as we continue to practice this over the years our photography grows as do the stores we’ve captured. And that’s where the sharing comes in. But it all starts with that first lens, camera and critter in our backyard. As the old saying does, try it, you’ll like it!