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Today I am excited to introduce you to wildlife photographer Chris Weston who has agreed to answer a few questions about his photography.
When I was ten years old my dad gave me a Nikkormat 35mm camera, which got me involved in photography. At the same time, I had a fascination with animal behaviour. I started to use my camera to record animal behaviour to help me learn about it, which is where photography and wildlife came together.
The one thing I learned that transformed my photography most is that photographs are your voice, a way to express yourself. Therefore, before you head out into the field with your camera, it’s essential you have something interesting to say.
My main cameras are Nikon D3’s, which I use for all my wildlife field work. Mostly because the exceptional image quality at relatively high ISOs (i.e. 1600) enables me to work in low light conditions, something I often face as a wildlife photographer. I also have a D700, which I use as a back-up and when traveling light, and a D3X, which I use mostly for landscape work.
I’m a huge fan of wide-angles and short focal length lenses, even for wildlife, and have a fish-eye lens and a 24-70MM zoom. But my favorite all-round workhorse lens is the 70-200MM, which I use more than any other.
I first visualized this image (pictured above) when I was stargazing one night in Zimbabwe. When I got home, I began to analyze how it could be done. When I returned to Africa a few months later, I set out with this image in mind. It’s a single frame (not a composite) and is a mix of natural light (background) and flash light (foreground). The foreground was in complete darkness. In fact, it was so dark I could barely see my tripod and had to rely on sound to determine when the lions moved. I have to say, standing in the bush in complete darkness, knowing there are lions not more than 30-feet away but being unable to see them, is perhaps one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.
Something I still do to this day is, before I press the shutter I ask myself the question “How would I caption this image?” If the only answer I can conjure is the species name, then I wait for a better shot.
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