by Magnus Carlsson
Red Fox and Black Grouse
Who Am I?
I was moving around in the woods already when being slightly taller
than a hand breadth, riding the back of my father and helping with
picking berries - probably mostly eating them to be correct - but the
important thing is that I was enjoying. Living next door to nature,
slightly south of the arctic circle in the northern part of Sweden,
has fuelled an interest into a passion of the very same. After
dedicated having followed in the footsteps of Diana, having learnt how
to read and find what I was looking for in nature in terms of wildlife
I stumbled into photography and a whole new, wonderful, world was
about to open!
Most photos are exciting stories themselves, often with fierce ants in
a minor part. It can be, troublesome to say the least, to sit
absolutely still in a path of ants waiting to take the shot(!) I love
challenges and I'm close to allergic to idleness. Harsh elements, warm
and cold weather fascinates but it has to be extreme. I'm today
freelancing as a wildlife photographer with the whole world as my work
field. My current project is to gather the last pieces of material for
a coffee-table book on Scandinavian wildlife.
What equipment would you recommend?
There's a jungle out there when it comes to gear for the presumptive
buyer! I would need a platinum card to bear the costs, do I really
need it all? No, you don't! Sure, big glass costs a small fortune but
a good knowledge will get you far on the way. My main setup today
consists of a Canon 1DsMkII and lenses ranging from 16-600mm. That
being said one of the lenses I use the most for wildlife, aside from
the fabulous 300:a, is my 24-70mm lens and we're talking close-ups! It
all comes down to knowing your motives:
- What biotops do they prefer?
- What do they eat and what's the best place for this ie where can I
expect to find them?
- When are they active/eating in the day?
- Would you be better of using a hide?
- Does weather affect their moving pattern?
The more you know about your subject the easier you'll be able to
anticipate their moves and get that price winning photo that you've
already visualised or that marvelous photo which would look simply
stunning matted & framed, hanging above the fire place.
I still don't know what do buy, what would you recommend?
Go for one of the bigger brands: Canon or Nikon, both are fairly
equal, make your choice based on personal preferences and needs. You
may compare different camera specs on www.dpreview.com. A good
starting setup for wildlife would be a 300/4 lens with an 1.4x
extender and a digital camera body. Don't plunge down your credit card
spending too much money on the camera body, instead try to invest in
higher quality glass. You might also want to have a lens giving you an
80mm equivalent in focal width for people portraits and: don't forget
about getting yourself a good - read heavy - tripod!
"Everyone who can see are able to photograph, what takes time is
learning too see"
A common mistake many commit is staying indoors when the weather gets
nasty: rain, snow, mist... then missing out on conditions which all
have potential of giving that extra edge to your images.
The professional photographer always used to take a series of photos
while the amateur took merely one or two. Historically the pro was the
only one being able justify the film processing costs of taking say 50
photos and in the best case scenario ending up with one sellable"keeper". Today, thanks to the digital cameras, taking photos never
has been cheaper. Practice makes a master and the direct feedback you
get on your digital camera's LCD - learn how to read a histogram
properly! - significantly shortens the learning curve.
Get down low!
Don't be afraid to take a step away from the conventional and
experiment with different angles, go close, take a step back. Maybe a
higher viewing angle would look better? As a rule of thumb, try to
work from the same viewing angle as the subject, meaning you have to
get down LOW when it comes to small mammals and some birds.
Do you like me just hate to haul around that 4½kg tripod? Put a better
tripod head - a ball head - on your wish list, something that will
make life a lot easier. Furthermore, don't underestimate the potential
of the "around-the-corner" nature. As previously stated it's a lot
about planning, knowing your subject and where do you have more time
for this than on your own backyard?
Altogether it might feel overwhelming and somewhat abstract at first
with the abundance of things to keep in mind. I'm arranging workshops
for the beginning, advanced amateur photographer or the avid
bird/wildlife watcher alike. We'll be working from pre setup hides,
focusing on capercaillie, red-throated diver, black grouse, jumping
salmon, beaver and sea eagle. You'll find more details on my homepage:www.taigavision.com
See you in the woods!
White-tailed Eagle (Sea Eagle)
Magnus Carlsson is a 24 year old Swedish photographer. His website has many more stunning images which are available as prints. You can also find details of his photography workshops. Magnus has agreed to judge our 'Photo of the Month' competition next month where the prize will be one of his stunning prints.