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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 14 of 24

Conservation for Photography and The Story of 399 Part 1


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 14 of 24

Conservation for Photography and The Story of 399 Part 1


Lesson Info

Conservation for Photography and The Story of 399 Part 1

yesterday we talked a lot about technique and a lot of things and we're going to do some more technique later in the session and as you probably figured out from yesterday's talk I'm pretty interested in conservation and giving back to my lucky life and so we're gonna talk a bit about a couple projects that I got involved in local projects in where I live and also I'd like to talk about sure the world view where we are we talked a little bit about climate change or global warming same thing yesterday how it affected how it's affected the earth and and how I basically feel it's probably the biggest threat to the earth right now but um uh first I'd like to talk about some of the success stories well we've had when I when I was born in nineteen forty six there were fifteen wild whooping cranes left on earth and um when I made that film I talked about yesterday flighted who've been paying for national geographic there were fifty one of the year I started and take sixty two or three that to...

ok three years to do it or so and now they're about four hundred and wild so and one hundred fifty or so in captivity so that's a success too it's you know the species that really was on the brink of extinction um remember twenty years ago twenty five years ago they were they took the last condor last california condor out of the wild you know to save the species and they they took the condor matt made him up that's um eggs and now they're how many numbers but there's a couple hundred flying in the california and some more in the grand canyon and other places so that bird was almost gone so too huge uh success stores and there are a lot of others of course but so the world view now uh talked a little bit about jane goodall yah yesterday and it's a good different and the one who taught me more than anyone about you know how we all can make a difference every individual counts I'm sure you've heard her say that and she has done a remarkable amount of of teaching an awareness to around the world to travel three hundred plus days a year talking about animals and she has hundreds of roots and shoots program where we all believe that it's the future of the earth the planet is in the hands of the youth which I think we would all agree to old guys like me it's hard to change but eso fortunately I've been able to be around people like that and be inspired by others in be lucky enough to do take pictures of all these wonderful places in wildlife and to be be able to make a living off of it and so I have always felt as I talked again earlier session about uh my roots in the platte river and how it was going dry and how would wait for the water to come every year and the alligators and the place like denver big cities of the river we're taking more water than they probably really needed to but now that water back in the plat year round for all the birds and the great migration of cranes and for the whooping cranes it's important so that's another success story somewhat is still a fight to give the water in a river and everybody wants you know water's going to be the problem with the biggest battle in america you know california's drought total drought in the state and riley we've got five foot of snow so um but go to say we you know have all these great pictures of africa some of you've been to africa and have wonderful pictures of lions and leopards and elephants but um you know look att every time I go back to places the things change I'm going to go back to antarctica south georgia see the icy glaciers what was a big glacier ten years ago actually now is a small glacier so I can see it and look at my pictures so I don't question global warming's happening I see polar bears who don't have ice five years ago when we went to sell those baby pictures of this picture the baby uh polar bears and the head world walk thirty five miles to the coast in the springtime in march forty fifty below zero and we realize when we flew in the ice different twice so I still wonder about whether those baby polar bears have been they had four months in the den where they found ice whether that's got blown in hopefully and they were able to get out too mother could kill a seal without the ice they can't kill seals seals live on the ice they have to have the platform to get the seals without ice polar bears will disappear and that's that march marching north of lesson life's ice every year I've seen so um makes me sound like an old guy huh but when good africa you know the lions or fewer uh actually heard about a guy in lone hometown in jackson hole who has thirty some heads in full amounts of lions in his garage is a sport hunter that's more lands and I think I saw my last trip to the serengeti you know and another neighbour has eighteen foot giraffe world record draft that his twelve year old daughter shot in his great room and you know as you well know I'm not against hunting per se if it's done ethically and fair chase and for food trophy hunting I have issue with for heads and and for fun um but shooting things like elephants and giraffes lyons is just beyond my comprehension but it's not just support honey that's a sort of a smaller token of what's happened to elephants there's um about twenty five thousand elephants last year were killed in africa um and at that rate elephants will be gone and not too many years um thousand lions were killed last year just in south africa uh I think there's about actually just looked it up this morning boom rhinos uh two hundred twelve six hundred sixty eight rhinos killed in south africa this is just for their horn in two thousand thirteen there's a thousand four killed in south africa that's just south africa that's just a year so say six hundred sixty eight two thousand twelve thousand four two thousand thirteen and that's probably again almost doubled sarandos be gone south african most of this is because of the consumers most of the consumption is asia but there's some in america too we're still importing some rhino horn and elephant us um two thousand figure there's like one elephant shot every hour and for the tusk to be made into some kind of trinket rhino horn is thought to be some aphrodisiac or some medicinal uh medicine for asians and it's hard to get rid of the culture that hard to change a culture harder changing tradition with the affluence of the middle class uh chinese today there's amore amore demand for rhino horn for elephant ivory and it's really um unfortunately we need to change that there are people there of course trying to change that but it's a difficult one rhino horn has its character that's the same as your you know your nails your hair you know they should buy viagra seriously viagra's had an effect on if you could believe it or not but you know there is no value in rhino horn for any of that you know that's a proven fact but the tradition is difficult so with that said those air major things that I hope we all could be concerned about but it's not just a j again it is america like us had my neighbor has thirty lions in his garage you know stupid sorry um so um I'm gonna talk a little bit about ah personal project it's just sort of happened into my lab a couple of them actually um one on bears and one cougars so with that said and this is uh animals that you know I happen to live where I do and I've been blessed with with living in the greater yellowstone area and um I um I happened to meet this great bear she's called three ninety nine she was tagged uh in about two thousand five in two thousand five as a three hundred ninety ninth bear in the greater yellowstone ecosystem by the researchers answer name thirty three ninety nine she'd been trapped and tagged over the years six or eight times and you're really radio colored three or four times but I first I saw her in two thousand six and she had um three young cubs in the fall I just saw her one day and then she disappeared in two thousand seven she came back with cubs and this isn't springing in late april little snowfall and these are her yearling cubs two thousand seven and she raised these cubs to be uh four years old three and a half years before she could come up this is a story about her and we'll do a quick story and probably you know um working on this project now for since then six years now and she learned to live along the roadsides of teton parks who was called the roadside bear and these were her um cubs and they're quite curious and uh that year they went into the dan was when they're two years old this is when they're three years old in two thousand eight and they came out of the damn when they're that big they're you know not that much room in it and for four big bears you can tell that the cubs are almost the size of her two thirds the size or so and they were ready tio get out of the dan after going in and in december or january and start looking for mostly carrying that's what they look for in the springtime um winner killed elk or deer or moose or bison and they're on a mission here along the pacific creek um this is about a mile from my house still molten barn if anybody's probably seen that this gun tetons and they're just cruising this is about thirty miles from that last picture but they would cruise this the whole park looking for something to eat and then that year I had seen some long oxbow bend um which is a sort of the a central part of the park and it's my favorite place in all of the park for wildlife and they had noticed in december january that there was a winner kill of uh that they dropped in the water they're down there they drop the water and the oxbow dropped and a lot of fish got trapped in the oxbow band and I thought well if three nine nine comes out in the spring time there will be this bonanza of mostly suckers either all suckers and this is what they look like in december and they were starving of oxygen and for auction and there's these little pockets of warm springs were still open but the sky it's not this is a great bonanza course it was winter it's tough there this coyote would take a grab a fish take it up a pilot up like a cord of wood on duh in late april the family discovered this this bonanza fish and uh they dug a mountain made him and got fattened up for a while and this is um in that summer she she kicked him out that that was a third year and they went on about their business and a year later two thousand two years like actually two thousand eleven she came out with another set of triplets it's rare it's really rare to have triplets in a tribble is to survive you know it's not so we're gonna have three but it's pretty right I have a second set and by by then uh should shoes causing quite quite an attraction and so this is uh july third two thousand eleven and she was such a cool bear she never bother anybody she she learned you know a lot of people say what she habituated to people and that's a bad bad bad bad I say she's tolerant of people there's a difference between tolerant than habituation in many ways but she was so clever she would walk between the cars and she would she would stand on the road sometimes and she would look both ways up and down the road and then call the kids across you know watch out for the cars and the people in the yellow are what they call the wildlife brigade they try to keep the people in the bears from getting too close obviously they are pretty close here and coarse this is one of the one of the animals that live on throughout the year especially in the early season and there's three nine nine had gotten a bell carcass and my sister I had gone up to the river one day looking for elk like we just saw last picture there in the fog and we saw this barrett daybreak hunkered over al queen didn't we probably missed it by thirty seconds and wash your drag it up on the on the rock bar and um she spent quite a bit of time eating it that fall um letting it fall this we thought it was her and a cub uh down the river but it's actually uh three nine eyes in front and this is her mate in the back so he basically dog her for about ten days or so but if you could look aside the difference between the size of that bear and her and she ranges around four hundred pounds in the fall so that perhaps have released eight hundred poems would you guess huge huge monk and well I saw him two or three times over that eight year period he is impressive this is her for you old cubs six fifteen who we photographed eating a moose carcass just off the road or the road kill and it also been tagged and this is six fifteen one of her female cubs she another one sixteen and she had a male cub five seventy one and you could see how beautiful this female barriers at five years old and unfortunately a month later she was shot by a deer hunter just outside the park that she had found another carcass on moose carcass it was either um is not not a season on moose there but it was either um killed by a hunter accidentally or poached or maybe she killed it moose or pretty difficult for bare bears too to get but anyway was hunkered over this moose carcass and hundred came along and it stood up to see the hundred shot four times in the chest and again it's it's a really sad situation is only a mile or so outside of the park um so this is that same elk carcass and obviously a big prize for bear she guarded it should bury it in that's typical of bears they cover it with whatever close grass and vegetation and there to keep it cool keep keep the smell down from predators like coyotes and foxes and things and she wasn't really happy about sharing it with anybody including these magpie so you think they can eat that much and she would lay on it serve a day she would add more to it on dh and in which you wanted a snack she would dig it out of us next so uh in may of two thousand eleven the other female one got shot this is the other one now five and half years old six ten was her number she came out with twins that was huge it was sure you know kind of cool to see her offspring than have cups so like the newspaper reporter who had called me and we always like to keep keep informed about three nine nine what's the latest because she became pretty popular so I called him and I says you know six ten I heard uh I saw some pictures of sixteen with her twins he's a pretty cool and he said what would be the frosting on the cake a swell three nine nine came out with cubs that she hadn't had cubs here before you say sear on that carcass without cubs I said well that would be the frosting on the cake but who knows so this is sixteen with one of her cubs they when they're young life this second climbs trees easily left like black bears and walking across the highway six ten with her wee ones they got lost for five days for davis four days somewhere she went up a tree and she forgot what the hell they were something and she ran up and down the road and she was bawling and she was like a mad woman crazed and you imagine you know it's like your mother's probably do but some of your father's out there might I certainly would but she found them in a stand of trees and gather them back up and a week later three ninety nine came out with three cubs so um they called the reporter this is frosting on the cake on hung up it was a voice message this is her third set of triplets should one with a really white face that somebody nicknamed ash as if you'd stick your face in the ash can and then there's two darker ones and this is sick extend teaching her there's a cup there in the middle teaching how to hunt elk calves in the spring so they start off eating those biscuits flowers and they eat golfer middens that had been stored over the over the winter go over stash these seeds and tubers and roots and things and then after that they start eating other other grasses that stuff in in in early june when elk are starting cab for about a two week period they start hunting elk calves and so six ten who learned from three ninety nine she was really great at hunting cabs she would split the herd and she plays kind of a rope a dope you know they play out there and pretend like you know we're not really interested in then the liquid go you know go look at her like a lot of antelope doing in africa for lions and stuff they think they're not hunting she would just sort of look at them and they would get closer and they were more curious and I think it's that they keep an eye on the you know better to keep an eye on the predator than take your eye off the predator and walk away so so she uh she would chase him down running into the willows and issues like a bird dog on you would you just hear the squealing of cabs is going to set but you know they need the protein you know they they um that's what they do you know so more more people came after the word got out of of both three ninety nine and sixteen having cubs and it became he was picked up by the balls boston herald but isn't washington both times it was in like two hundred thirty newspapers online and otherwise places in that first week that's how famous she became jane goodall called me and she said I see your picture in the story of your bare so not my back but she knew I was working on these bears in the sunday times in london so I was kind of fun during that time three ninety nine not necessarily gave let me say six ten six ten adopted one of three nine nine three cubs we don't know how you know they're probably fianna carcass close by maybe a another bear came along there was a mix up or maybe three nine nine was tired of kids I don't want a baby sitter so this is sixteen in late summer you can see she should have her long winter hair she looks in the cups look fairly healthy um but you know having three cubs that's a lot of work on dh she's nursing so um it takes its toll but um I'm not sure which you know but for some reason I think the one on the right is the one that belong to three nine I have I have no idea so in the in the late fall there it went off to teo hibernate sixteen using one one mountain area and three nine nine another this is three ninety nine with her two remaining cubs going up to the high country and we could we could see we knew her you know after six or seven years you knew her pattern pretty well they followed certain drainage is this a specific career pilgrim creek and um you know it's kind of fun and we had friends that would call and say well we saw our tracks we saw her so we had this full entry and it was you know great trying to figure out well we think she's going to go there we think you know that right now but this is her on january fourth she started heading north on january second start heading north that she was she was a latest bear that went into hibernation in the greater yellowstone because I'll tell you why in a minute anyway follow her up to pilgrim creek and this is her vast range so you can see it's like a kind of you just don't go on find her this is just what it looks like from the air um vast country like a needle in a haystack my sister night uh went up the next day I hired a planet is curious to follow her her path from where she was feeding on some l carcasses to you know where she dende you know I wasn't I wasn't interested in going to the dance everything that but it was curious about her where she dand id heard when she had a radio collar on kind of the area should ended but I was just interested in filming the tracks with video and taking stills and in the landscape on the fourth of january so you can see her tracks going to the will of flats they're obviously she made quite a swath the snow was about two feet deep there that time of year it was a blake for going into the dan obviously and this isn't a spring when six ten came out with her yearlings now long jackson lake and this is three ninety nine that's right the following spring with her two remaining cubs and this one with the white ish face is called ash and and my sister action named this brownie which we because we're trying to say which cub was and you know brownie was seemed like an obvious name because it was the dark one brother and say the light one in the dark when it became ashen brownie and this is they were digging for roots and tubers and mostly biscuit brief this little yellow flower that's very nutritious uh in the spring time and um right about this time they got separated from the mother there was you know a lot of people in a fair amount of sort of pushing by the park and to keep him off the road and stuff and I think they personally I think they got separated because it was too much kind of hazing you might call it and we didn't see them together or separate for about two weeks they just disappeared off the face of the earth and then we saw a brownie and he had big claw marks on his back and we saw ash and nash was a female she had some claw marks on her back and then we saw the mom separate from the two cubs the two cups were separate but theory is that they use the roadside not only for food that's not used by other bears but the user would side because they feel safe around people uh cars then in the back country with male bears boars to sometimes supporters will kill the cubs to put the female into estrus and then they made but the female and carry on their own genes that just lions do the same thing a lot of animals do that mountain lions to butt anyway so we're all upset that they had gotten uh separated in and we didn't see them and it was a big joyous reunion when wei found the one cub brownie first and then second we're about ten miles apart and the mother three nine nine and then it was even more exciting when we saw browning ash together ash was kind of uh the little sister little smaller and seem to be more dependent on brownie you know but whenever brownie would wander off their feed you know ash would stand up look around where the hell's brownie so he'd run away or brown or she'd run over the brownie and and everything was all happy and they play and play that is the last time I saw them together uh particularly for like six days um this place called windy point rainy day obviously and the following day I heard there was a car crash that had hit a bear there's about eight miles away from fore that those two were what about this nick we're overlooking that that well it's really couldn't be the cubs and hopefully it wasn't three ninety niner six ten or somebody but it was it was it was a brownie and this car driven by a nineteen year old from pennsylvania I think he swerved it was car on the left hand lane he was driving north ronnie was feeding about fifty yards off the road and not sure exactly what happened but anyway he and they may be gawking at brownie or the car and pulled off the road a little bit and overcorrected on and it was a big basically a little blip on the tarmac uh asphalt and overcorrected and drove out into st russian ran smack over brownie was like a freak accident like fifty ours and you could see what it brown he did to his car and uh I went out there and I heard I'd only live for miles south of there and I heard this barrett got run over I raced up there I asked if I could go on see the bears were still alive and um you know with one of these rangers take pictures just documented you know and they said no I couldn't do that and uh they said it was so lie they're goingto call the rescue crew kind of safe it would be if they could say the bear and the rescue crew actually didn't show up for a couple hours unfortunately but when they did go out you know they poked at that stuff and I photographed with the six hundred with two extender you know long distance in this best I could do put in a bag and a they hold it back and I just asked if I could see the bear because nobody knew was I said was it a black bear a brown bear busy beer you know and they say well information isn't available yet so I said well it is a grizzly bear you know because otherwise if a black bear they would say because black bears are I would say a dime a dozen they're just as important as grizzly bears but that's the way we consider them they're not endangered so I knew right away it was a grizzly bear and I started deducing things we're to fight to get some pictures of the bear when they were doing autopsy I could recognize by the scrape on brownies leg that I'd seen before had a kind of on his left side and head him some hair missing that it was indeed brownie from autopsy pictures we never saw ash after that nobody that I know documented ash ashes disappeared little sister going brown he's gone anyway the following year um six ten was out with the three cubs out of the vehicle ban now there's three and a half year old's again about the size of her and uh she kicked him out that summer on um three nine nine we saw that she was she had made it so we're hoping that you know she lost her to two cups early in june that maybe she would come out with cubs but we didn't know so ah a friend of mine and I start talking about that and he went up in a plane and I knew the coordinates of the pilot the gps of where we had last seen three nine nine two years earlier so he went up there and and this is a little video about our search for three ninety nine on her and then called me and then I went up that afternoon with him in early may I took a flight up to see if we could do find three nine nine way thought her down wass way flew around quite a bit uh quite a ways up into the wilderness didn't didn't know she had bread again she'd lost her two cubs last summer so it's a mail order should have cubs again this year and uh there she was on a ridge she had three new cups again this is a third set it was amazing I was just really unbelievable sight and we flew around came back around and we saw just laying there nursing on this ridge with three cubs then right below where she was going to your den base of the tree it was like a miracle that we found her just so two pages to see there wasn't much opportunity to get pictures but it was kind of really excited not have to rely on a collar a radio signal or transmitted to find her kind of old fashioned way on ben uh two weeks later she showed up on building creek bridge she was obviously trying to get across the bridge there but there's a lot of people like construction chute can cross the river there with cubs to two rushing dangerous you finally did after two and a half days of walking back and forth and the little cubs were all this was brand new highways and cars and people on the bridge and wondered what went through their little heads that this is a really different world in the wilderness area and then she walked along the sage brush and went out with the public creek road it was just really heartwarming to see her taking a cut for she had taken six ten or other the triplets and her cubs over the years and the cubs are playing that role but they didn't get very far from on they stayed close to mom three weeks later for weeks later that the are little more independent way star one day crossing pilgrim creaking drop significantly from the runoff and I thought maybe we should go down see if they could cast of track never have been able to be sure that the tracks that we've seen before hers and I always wanted to make some cast of her tracks my sister soon I went down and we found tracks in the mud and we found one nice track with her cub right next to it so we way cast his tracks and as fun is great to say these are three ninety nine's tracks this is uh uh with the one we cast and uh you know it's a fairly big track not a huge bears three seventy five maybe four hundred pounds this time of year but uh great klaus and uh uh I was really uh you look really cool on put that on my mantel maybe uh make cem cem bronzes or something out of that one and here's the one with her hind foot here that was your front foot but once found the uh one recovers right next to see how much small that's this is really time foot here and claw marks of the cub is this kind of a nice souvenir tohave you know hope to get some better ones maybe in the coming weeks but she's been really scarce the last couple of weeks

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Learn wildlife and outdoor photography from one of the most prolific nature photographers of our time in The Art of Wildlife Photography with Tom Mangelsen.

Drawing lessons from his 40 years of observing and photographing the Earth's last great wild places, Tom will discuss the complex process behind his breathtaking wildlife photographs. You’ll learn:

  • What it takes to be a great wildlife photographer
  • How to capture wildlife in their natural environment
  • The best places to find animals
  • How to increase the visibility of your work
  • The importance of respecting wildlife and wildlife ethics

Tom will cover the basics of gear and scouting and teach you how to think about lighting when capturing animals in the wild. Tom will also offer a critique images and portfolios submitted by viewers.

If you have a passion for outdoor photography and want to capture the spirit of wildlife in your camera, join Tom Mangelsen for this inspiring and educational class.


a Creativelive Student

There is probably just one word that comes closest to describing Tom Mangelsen’s photography. Glorious. There are other good words too, of course. And they are also inadequate. Mangelsen’s panoramas are (cumulatively and separately (any one of them)) the best I’ve seen. Mangelsen teaches by example and his examples are exemplary. I’ve seen several photographers giving courses on CreativeLive lately many of whose photos I would love to have taken - but with Mangelsen I envy his possession not just of his photos but of their subjects too. And he does possess his subjects in ways many outstanding photographers fail to - possesses them and then leaves them to continue on with their lives. There are other reasons I’m grateful for this course too - his field trips and critiques have shown me (as with other CreativeLive courses) just how lazy I’m being with my work. And if his critiques aren’t motivation enough I only have to view his slide show ‘Last Great Wild Places’ for more inspiration. The photos in this series are revelations all on their own - even without commentary. Thank you CreativeLive for continuing to bring us the finest wildlife and nature photographers at work today - and thank you to photographers like Tom Mangelsen for giving us a look at the way they work.


I could not stop watching this class and set aside time each day until I finished it. I guess you could saw that I binge watched it. Then I was really sad when it was finished! Like a good movie that stays with you and that you don't want to end! This is a wonderful class and the best I have taken at CreativeLive. I learned so much and have a great fondness for Tom Mangelsen. He really knows how to pull you into his passion. I am so grateful to have taken this course and grateful to Tom for all that he has done in his career to further his craft and to share it. I am inspired! If you are going to purchase and course from CreativeLive, this is one to be sure to take!!! Thank you again.

Dub Maitland

Excellent class! An incredibly talented photographer who has a vast knowledge of the subject matter as well as an outstanding ability to deliver the information. It was as enjoyable as it was informative. I first saw Tom's work in an office in Denver in 1991 and have been inspired by him ever since. Thank you Creative Live, for giving us the opportunity to spend this time with the Master! And thank you Tom for your willingness to share your talent with us! Dub Maitland, Missoula, MT.