Today I am excited to introduce you to wildlife photographer Chris Weston who has agreed to answer a few questions about his photography.
How did you first get into 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.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
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.
What type of camera do you use most?
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.
What is your favorite lens?
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.
Could you share a favorite recent image and tell us a little of the back story behind it
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.
Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?
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.