From the July 21 issue of the Wall Street Journal.
These extracts from the article in the July 21 issue of the Wall Street Journal include some excellent advice from the greatest living nature photographer:
“Don’t try to photograph everything in a scene.”
“Don’t get held back by technology.” Details like digital resolution and shutter speeds, as well as the plethora of different cameras and lenses available, can be daunting to the amateur photographer. To start, apply yourself to one main camera, and learn it and its accessories inside and out, Mr. Lanting says.
“Think of the story you want to convey.” Think of the three or four main photographs that would illustrate this story. Always have these four images in mind before you set out on the photography expedition. Take hundreds of shots, but always be looking for those four images, he says.
“Watch for light.” This is one part of the photographic process you can manage minutely, he says. Wait for the right light, add a flash or learn to say no to a shot if the light isn’t optimal. Mr. Lanting travels with a large selection of flash equipment, and uses a flash to light details like a tiny horseshoe crab on a beach at sunset, or even a high-powered strobe light to illuminate a flying puffin.
“Think first, shoot later. Photography is methodical.” Think first of the image you want to capture, then go about getting it. If you shoot first, then think later, that is a snapshot, not a photo, says Mr. Lanting.
“Go digital.” Mr. Lanting resisted switching to digital photography for years — he gave up film for good just one year ago. Finally, he says, digital technology can deliver the same quality images as film. He travels with several external hard drives and a Macbook Pro laptop, so he can shoot hundreds or even thousands of photos on each shoot, and upload them directly to his computer.
“Get up early. The best light is often at dawn, and animals and people are often at their best early in the morning.” Mr. Lanting often rises at daybreak to wander around his own backyard, snapping photos of birds and hoping to spot a bobcat or two.
You can read the whole thing by subscribing on line to WSJ.com.