When I go through my image archives, no matter how old, I can recall the story behind each photograph, when it was taken, who I was with, what other creatures where in the area, what the weather was like and what I had for breakfast (maybe not to that extent… but you get the point).
Friends and family would listen in astonishment as I would describe the magic behind each print hanging from one of our walls at home.
Canon 1D mk II + Canon 400mm f5.6L
After being heavily invested in wildlife and nature photography for the past few years I’ve learnt that each image is a short story just waiting to be told. Without your detailed account of what, where, how, who and why, that rectangular collection of 8 – 21 million pixels is quite literally that, just dots on a screen.
Canon 1D mk II + Canon 300mm f2.8L
At first glance your viewer may not even feel drawn to your image, but after hearing/reading about what happened at that particular moment or what you were trying to achieve, their opinion can change very quickly.
Canon 1Ds mk II + Canon 300mm f2.8L
You’ll always hear Gerry, Andrew and Marlon going on about how to tell a story with each of your images, and after changing the way I approach wildlife photography, I’m now seeing things from their perspective.
Before I got involved with Wild Eye, I was guilty of capturing very basic wildlife portrait and movement shots, but once you have a few amazing images of that resting leopard’s blue eyes or that exciting cheetah chase things can get a bit repetitive when shooting the same thing, in the same way from a couple of different angles.
Canon 1Ds mk II + 70-200mm f4L
When you next come across a great sighting, try the following:
- Avoid the obvious image! If it has been done before by a hundred other photographers, you’re already starting on the back foot.
- Use the surrounding environment set the plot for your story. There is more to an animal’s behaviour than just it’s facial expressions.
- Fill your frame with a short story, one that you would be able to recall in vivid detail when asked what happened at that moment.
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