A perspective on the wild side

By Chris Weston

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is making an emotional connection with the wildlife I encounter. One of the most challenging aspects of my job is conveying that connection in a photograph. To do that, I have to make use of a very important compositional tool – perspective. Continue reading A perspective on the wild side

Never Miss The Moment: A first look at the FUJIFILM X-H1

By Chris Weston

Wildlife photography throws up many challenges. For starters, weather and environmental conditions are rarely ideal. Dusty African savannahs, humid jungles, persistent precipitation in rainforests, sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic and Antarctic – they all demand the very best of the equipment I use, in terms of both performance and reliability. In reality, it’s about confidence – I need to know that when the going gets tough the camera I’m using will perform consistently and uninterrupted. Having worked with X-T series cameras in camera-hostile environments around the world, I already have surety in the Fujifilm system.

I have recently spent time working with the FUJIFILM X-H1, including a trip to the stunning Camargue region in the South France to photograph the wild horses there. It’s obvious the designers and engineers have taken weather resistance to even higher levels with this new camera, with more robust seals to prevent electronics’ two main enemies, dust and water, leaving you high and dry. Continue reading Never Miss The Moment: A first look at the FUJIFILM X-H1

Making your photos WILD! – A Guide to Wildlife Photography

By Ben Cherry

With ‘wild’ experiences becoming rarer as humanity continues its ferocious endeavour to progress, often at the natural world’s expense, how can we treasure those encounters however big or small? I personally think photography is the single most powerful medium when it comes to nature. Continue reading Making your photos WILD! – A Guide to Wildlife Photography

Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

By Chris Weston

Part 2: Art and Mind

Hokkaido (Days 6 – 10)

We often hear or read the quote, “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer”, meaning the creation of great photographs is not dependent on having the latest or most expensive gear but on having a keen eye, an open and inquisitive mind and the artistic skills to turn vision into a reality that is a photograph. After sixteen years as a professional photographer, I can attest this is absolutely true. Continue reading Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

Photographers, We’re Storytellers – 10 Days in Japan [Part One]

By Chris Weston

When I first became interested in wildlife photography, I harboured a deep fascination with Japan. I used to study the work of some of the great Japanese nature photographers – Michio Hoshino, Mitsuaki Iwago, Nobuyuki Kobayashi – and found, in their images, a hidden depth, an elusive something that I could only describe as “soul”. I also noticed many of my early photographic heroes, photographers such as Art Wolfe and Jim Brandenburg, as well as my favourite artist, Monet, had been inspired by immersion in Japanese culture. Continue reading Photographers, We’re Storytellers – 10 Days in Japan [Part One]

Light and Land: A Tour of Scotland’s West Coast

By Ben Osborne

My Fujifilm adventure began six months ago when I borrowed a FUJIFILM X-T2 and a couple of lenses for an expedition to Antarctica. This was an introduction to an unfamiliar camera system that I had never used before but which I immediately had to use under some of the most challenging conditions on earth. It was a baptism by fire but it was also love at first sight. Continue reading Light and Land: A Tour of Scotland’s West Coast

Wildlife Photography: Creating a Sense of Place

By Chris Weston

Wildlife photography isn’t just about frantic action shots and animal portraits. An important area of the genre is capturing a sense of place – images that show the subject in the landscape.

Photographing animals in their environment is a critical area of my work because such images serve to further the cause of environmental conservation, which is a driving force behind my work. The primary cause of decreasing wildlife populations is habitat loss, so revealing the beauty of the land in which animals make their homes is, for me, an important aspect of my storytelling. Continue reading Wildlife Photography: Creating a Sense of Place

Springtime at 50 megapixels

GFX 120mm F10 1/280 ISO400

By Ben Cherry

I first moved to the X Series four years ago because I was carrying too much equipment on trips and I wanted to switch to a smaller, lighter alternative. Now with X-T2s and the superb range of lenses available it is often difficult to decide what to take on assignments or trips, making sure it all fits in one backpack. But my kit is still smaller item for item than what it used to be before, its just a question of knowing exactly what you’ll need for each job (not always easy, particularly with nature photography). Continue reading Springtime at 50 megapixels

10 Tips for Better Wildlife Pictures

Struggling to catch the near-perfect wildlife shots you have seen in top magazines and exhibits? Now that camera technology has become more accessible, many people are branching out into nature. Wildlife photography isn’t for the faint of heart, however, and plenty of professionals and enthusiasts alike encounter challenges.

Photo by Ben Cherry (@benji_cherry), Fujifilm X-T2 with XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens

Fortunately, with the right equipment, research and mindset — and of course, plenty of practice — you can make major improvements. The following are 10 tips you can use to take better wildlife pictures today.

 

Study Your Subject

 

What kinds of environments do your local fauna love most? Which animals live within driving distance, and what are their migratory patterns and schedules? Will your subjects even be awake when you go to shoot? Wildlife photography is all about catching those fleeting moments that most people never get to see, and being there at the right time and place is a numbers game. Study your subject matter to give yourself the best chance of being in position for a great shot.

 

Stand Back, Zoom In

 

Animals are tough enough to shoot in urban environments; in nature, they can seem impossible to catch up close. To capture wildlife acting as naturally and unafraid as possible, you may need to rely on a long telephoto lens. When dealing with the most skittish creatures, the longer the focal length, the better.

Photo by Vincent Yuhiko, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF18-135mm R LM OIS WR lens

Broaden Your Horizons

 

As helpful as a long, narrow focus can be, you don’t always need to catch creatures up close — nor do you need to isolate them from their environments. Some shots are actually more powerful when taken with a wide angle that gives the viewer context. Experiment with both broad and narrow focuses to see which suits your tastes and subject matter. You’ll probably find that different shots are best for different situations.

 

Practice Patience

 

Nature is unpredictable. Even if you rigorously study the animal you want to shoot, you’ll probably have to play the waiting game once you get into position. In fact, patience is one of the defining factors of a great wildlife photographer, and some of the most iconic shots have only been possible after hours or even days of waiting and returning to the same spot.

Photo by Vinh Le (@mylittledistraktions), Fujifilm X-M1

Don’t Wait for Every Opportunity

 

At the same time, patience isn’t everything. You can’t always wait for great shots to materialise, especially when you only have a small window of decent lighting and weather. If your only goal is to capture a specific animal in a specific moment, then yes, you’ll need to wait. But if you just want to capture interesting shots within an environment, make the most of your time and seek out opportunities for great shots.

 

Simplify Your Backgrounds

 

Photography is all about using depth and contrast to highlight your subject, and wildlife photography is no exception. While some photos will be inherently “busy,” you can often create a dramatic effect by simply capturing an animal against a non-distracting background.

Photo by Daniel Bradford (@dbrad1992), Fujifilm X-T1

 

Keep Both Eyes Open

 

When you control neither your environment nor your subject matter, you’ve got to be ready for anything. To stay aware of your surroundings, keep both eyes open as you look through the viewfinder. If you’re only focused on what’s in the frame, you’ll miss far more opportunities than you see.

 

Focus and Exposure

 

A few setting tweaks can make all the difference between a clear shot and an indecipherable photo. If your camera allows, set your focus mode to “continuous” and your focus area to “zone.” Use a larger grid setting for larger animals and a smaller setting for small subjects. As for exposure, you’ll want to choose a small area for a shot that emphasises the subject and de-emphasizes the background.

Photo by Nina Dos Santos, Fujifilm X-T1 with XF27mmF2.8 R

Know Your Equipment

 

During a daylong shoot, you’ll encounter — at best — mere minutes of photo-worthy material. What’s more, each moment of interest may only last a few seconds. If you’re not familiar with the capabilities and settings of your camera and lens, you could miss once-in-a-lifetime shots. Know your equipment’s shutter speeds, memory card speeds and focal lengths, as well as all the options you have for toggling focus points and modes.

 

(Perfect) Practice Makes Perfect!

 

Last but not least, practice, practice, practice! Analyse the shots you take, and consult experienced photographers for advice on how you can improve. The more hours you can spend, the better you’ll become, but you can fast-track your progress by seeking feedback and making the most of each shot you take.