Winter is a testing time for all living animals, always remember when working with wild animals they come first and the last thing you want to do is to impose yourself to quickly or scare the animal you’re wishing to photograph. It’s also very important to know that calories are burned off more quickly during the winter months so fieldcraft and respect have to be the first priorities of any wildlife photographer.
In August’s issue of the Wild Planet magazine I have an article covering fieldcraft, something I have always applied and feel is one of, if not the most important tool in your box as a wildlife photographer. From my start right up until the present day fieldcraft has and will always be so very important to me. When working with wild animals not use to humans the wildlife photographer must use his own skills and Technics in order to get close to a chosen subject, which in turn make for more informative images and a better understanding of their lives I believe.
As Wildlife photographers we have a duty of care not only to the subject but also to the public and those that view our images to show them as seen on the ground. To explain and tell what went into that image, how it was taken and then and only then can they judge your skill as a wildlife photographer. Transporting them to that moment in time that the photographer was lucky enough to see and witness and later record with his camera.
The photographer must use his own skills, experience and subject knowledge to achieve this and for me this starts with fieldcraft. In an age where the skill base for this is dying I feel with the ever ready images and all you have to do is turn up kind of images out there taking over. I truly feel as Wildlife photographer we have to take it right back to the beginning, work alongside wildlife, capture what you saw using you own skills. In a time where wildlife is really under pressure the best thing we can do is learn about those subjects, watch those subjects and become part of their lives without impacting on them.
I’m feel so strongly about fieldcraft and ethics and since turning pro I have always worked in this way and my images for me represent that special moment in time I was prevailed to witness and later record with my camera.We really do have a duty of care and by working in a manner like this the rewards are far greatly than just an image, educating many through those images and yourself at the sametime.
We never stop learning about the natural world but in a time where its under the most pressure as in now I feel will can all play a part and as a wildlife photographer this starts with real moments from the wild captured by you, with your camera using simple fieldcraft and becoming aware of your environment, your subject and the habitat they live in.
To read my fieldcraft article click here and download the August issue where I go through everything I use and apply while among the countryside. I hope it helps you and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me here. Its the second time now I have had an article in this prestigious magazine dedicated to wildlife photography. The first being my moving story about saving the Sumatran Orangutans that can be see by clicking here.
Thank you to the staff at the magazine for publishing this second article and I hope it helps your readers to understand wildlife photography is not something you can turn up, pay your money, take the shot and go home, its about learning and minimizing your impact on the wildlife and the countryside. A better understanding of what your watching and photographing starts and ends with fieldcraft for me, and something I show and teach on my One to Ones and workshops, good luck.