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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 24 of 24

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Critiques & Workshops


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 24 of 24

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Critiques & Workshops


Lesson Info

Interview with Brandon Kirk: Critiques & Workshops

so I'd like to move on to really get into some nuts and bolts for the audience about the number of subjects but one of them eyes photo critiques we obviously had the thought of critiques in a previous session and while so much of photography has changed over the years one of the things that remains just as relevant in it and important today as ever is that if you want to improve is a photographer you have to be willing to have your stuff critiqued and there are there's still a number of ways that people going to have that done you're involved in a workshop nearly every year called photography at the summit and like you to talk a little bit about what you do there and what that experience is like um and how photo critiques are an integral part of what goes on there ah photography to some rich clarkson who's the director of photography national geographic for a number of years invited me about twenty years ago toh teo be one of the faculty the photography of the summit mary has been ther...

e a couple people here I recognize had been at the at that summit and I do it almost every year maybe mr one or so and I keep saying I'm not going to do an extra because I'm gonna go photograph in new england or something during that fall time out I keep getting rich is such a wonderful guy and it has been so generous with me and it's a great group probably the best collection of photographers in america most were from geographic people like william albert allard who the geographic staff thinks is the best uh retire for the abra head and agree with that um david ellen r b same same way jody cobb first woman retire put geographic the last one to leave staff so I mean it's such a great camaraderie and a collection of the tyres inspire me and they've been coming for almost some of them as long as I have some longer maybe and we have have fun together and we learned from each other and so that's why I keep doing it and the students of course always great students like you guys uh you know I learned from the students and who get to your question is like the thing that the students always come back is that the best part they say uh and issues like eight nine ten faculty and it switches off a little bit but usually there's a core of five or six that come every year and about forty five fifty five students so it's a pretty high ratio of faculty to students and we could shake her images we got in the field in the mornings and sometimes the students go out in the evenings after noon and then every day um we in the morning after I say we go from sunrise till nine o'clock nine thirty ten o'clock and then they download their images and then the faculty helps each student with picking your choosing three images that they you know work together selecting from that shoot from the morning and then in late morning we project them on a big screen in the natural museum of art while I fart in jackson and it's the theatre and the faculty sits in the back row and the students were out front and and we we don't really know who's there unless we worked with that student helping select them and it's very interesting how we yes say I was you know doing it by myself and it was um it was great fun but always like the banter with that we have one of us and I mentioned that you know somebody I think this is great the other one say well we don't think it's so great and then there's some really hard core guys like jamie's l who's a new york photographer which we he's a really great teacher you're great photographer and he's out of the way you click the shutter what were you thinking or bill allergy will say you don't have to take the picture in unknowns says you have to take a picture so and and I'm always like oh my god you got to say something nice so I try to play the good guy but sometimes they get that way too and now it's because if it's a fun thing in the students always come back there's one student came back five times he's I'm just coming back for the critique because you learn so much you know from the fifty students that air being critic in the and the and the rules are you don't do anything to the images other than like optimism for contrast called minimum stuff no cropping and and we're not judging people on photo shop or their ability to do something you know fix them a jets afterwards we want just the raw image and we're pretty strict on that and we've had some battles over that between the new guy's the younger guys there's a way you know join the modern world mangles and that's what we do well I am not a photo shop guy and I've already told you I want to judge what you saw in the field how you captured it and all I can do for you it might might might my value to you is I can help you take a better picture in the field I can't tell you how to do photo shop or how good you are at photo shop and I don't give a damn how good you are for the shop it doesn't matter to me one way I want you to be a better photographer so those are the rules and we've settled on that that's the farrells so but the critique is incredibly important and it's amazing how these students move from the first day of you know talk about uh you know there's a really rank amateurs some of who just bought a camera and haven't read the directions yet two people who are established a magazine photographers or sports attire you know they want to do while I've lot of retired people again doctors lawyers nuclear scientists your rocket launching guys I mean the whole gamut and people a lot of retirees who want to get into photography and read all the books and done all the workshops isa riel gamma tive of talents and but I see at in the five days amazing changes in the first critiques to the last day of critics and I think it's a most valuable thing uh that we do in that workshop and the course there's a lot of camaraderie and like you know people wanna once you could talk to them you know lunches dinners and people go out at night those that don't go out in the morning at five o'clock I'm sure uh we've had a lot of questions about exactly uh what where to find information about the workshop it's a photography at the summit dot com and uh just real quickly tom because we don't have ah ah lot of time left I just wanted to talk about when you and I discussed some of these topics together one of the first things you said well if you wantto get better is a photographer try to spend some time with a photographer that that you admire whose work you admire who you want to learn from and you know that sounds kind of like a dream for many people but that's possible today because more and more photographers are teaching workshops and seminars and of course with the photography at the summit macon come spend some time with you uh what do you think uh student gets out of working with someone that they admire and look up too well you know we talked about it but you know a lot of students or people that are interesting type you know mostly younger ones that you know there still is google age college age they say should I take do it for your course at brooks institute which is a famous harvey school in california where should I do something else or shall I work for somebody it's you know I didn't go to photography school so I don't really know I had you know mentor who said she did it five birds out of five hundredth of a second and focus on the eye and and I took a one day nikon workshop that was my formal training but in college I took ma'am ology and ecology and arctic alpine ecology and and um um learned a lot about animals you know so to me that is this valuable it's a photography training so if you could do both you know I'm not quite answer your question right off but you know that kind of training is really important if you want to be a wildlife photographer and then if you could hook up you know most photographers I know now um geographic has no staff attire was left they had forty at one time they have zero now they do have a few that you know sort of contract atari first like franz launching and uh nick nichols and and uh but the day of like dreaming of working for national geographic someday is kind of challenging you know challenging and when I grew up but so and most those people are now teaching workshops so the idea is I think the most value that young guitar for anybody in this class is interested or out there um is to find people whose work you appreciate you know you're interested in inside petar every interest in landscape photography uranus in birds or whatever it might be um try to take a workshop from them and then I mean there's some like workshop junkies to you know take every workshop in the world and that's probably okay if you could afford it but it's cheaper up probably than four years of brooks on nothing up you know if you want a really good education on everything weddings portraiture knew this is the wildlife nature landscape brooks is probably great so I don't know but I think you could hook up with some or you know find some people you person you really appreciate their work it's great toe do their workshops and then get to know them maybe and and learned from them a number of the photographers that tom mentioned I have um a uh an affiliation outside of the national geographic just called the photo society dot or ge where they have banded together to provide image reviews to the public it's not it's not cheap will tell you that but it's also not too outrageous tohave maybe one of your one of your idols review your image is the starting price for their image reviews is two hundred fifty dollars and that is for up to fifty images and they do the consultations via videoconference and so many of the photographers that tom mentioned do do that so I would encourage youto take a look at the the photo society dot org's for that um and uh before we before we go tom one of the things that you and I talked about and everyone always asks is how how can I get started I would love to go to antarctica would love to go toe india loved goto africa but for most people that's best that's a once in a lifetime trip that they can dio after a lifetime of savings but but how can you how can you hone your craft and how can you be how can you become a better photographer without going to those places and getting the tiger and the lion and the penguins well yeah you know backyard stuff okay but backyard in our case would be say national parks ok we have great national parks you know from the everglades too yellowstone to din alley to cap my toe all over the place east coast west coast in between um and they're pretty much in reached you know for most people you know depending on where you live and of course a lot of people live in great places that are a mile from their home you know you live here look what you have schedule river you know the coast whatever and someplace I've never photographed you know I'm coming um way all live near I mean I okay I live in a particularly great place but I grew up in nebraska that's where I started and most people think nebraska didn't have a lot of nebraska has a lot of sand hills it is obviously the platte river which I went droned on about forever but it hasn't probably more wildlife than the tee times maura variety more biodiversity certainly has more about diversity we have the large mega fauna you know moose elk and deer but yeah started home or start nearby home or go to the national parks and you know forget about africa to be honest I'm if you can afford africa that's great uh my favorite place in tokyo is getti but you know even my trips I do I do these travel workshops it's not a quite a workshop in his travels with tom kind of thing and you know it was me we actually have a slide with some information this is sort of a secret club I think probably the best way to describe it is that tom occasionally does thes international trips and uh these aren't really publicised I guess until I opened my mouth but if you if you'd like some more information about what his upcoming trips are africa south america uh replaces that he's been hey does lead these tours to very small groups of people and uh the emails on the on the screen as well as an eight hundred number which will be answered an appropriate business hours in central time yeah so I do do these trip it's away from me I mean I can't afford to go to antarctica on my own um it's a twenty twenty five thousand dollars trip taken assistant that's fifty thousand dollars I do some and we went to patagonia with just my assistant and it cost me about fifty thousand dollars will never pay for it with my cougar pictures he would be two lifetimes before it's old enough puma images to pay for that trip but I wanted to go there so badly to see pumas and um so I sort of you know I bet the bullet did it but most trips I take er it will take ten eight ten twelve people on we get a better price and the prices of includes me so I'm you know that's what it is and but he gets me there you know um so that's great I mean it's in that's what everybody knows doing workshops or not doing him free they're not just take a group of people with them they're gonna have they have friends you know so um but I would I would really home one's craft try to find something that you're interested in find something you're passionate about it's hard to find something that no one else has done before I mean it is really difficult but you could do it better maybe maybe there's something special in your region your neighborhood your woods that nobody's it's a twist on things that you just look at all the magazine you know look atyou graphic looking at what this stories that you know somebody found a species or did a new trick on chimpanzees who knows so um start home best thing is get a good collection of work and don't try to go to all these places and think you're going be another um great national geographic photographer just worked really hard and try to hone in your skills on something that you're passionate about I don't quit your day job and don't quit your day job way want to say something cues first of all a couple folks that help you out a lot I want to talk about with nikon since nineteen seventy first pentax camera word out about nightgown ever since and uh great company great cameras obviously and um your steps and prince in the office we print our own prints there babson and thank both nikon and absent for helping sponsor this workshop for bringing me here so thank you guys perfect and I would love to say something queues as well first of all thank you to the audience both in the room and out there we had a huge wonderful response for folks to be here with you obviously people love you so thank you guys for making the trip here from taking the time out and thank you to everyone at home as well for supporting us here it creative live both with your thoughts and then also with your your words in the chat room and also obviously supporting us by purchasing the clark courses that's how we exist here is when you guys buy these classes we're able to keep doing this we're able to keep bringing people like thomas so thank you for being you big thank you to the crew who made this happen I mentioned the folks who came out on the pre shoot I also want to give a special shout out tio janice and bond who were doing the editing of the pre shoot there's a lot of footage and they made it into something that was beautiful and really informative so thank you to you guys thank you to the whole crew who do an amazing job every single day big big thanks though obviously go teo your assistant sue as well who helped you out all the time and biggest thanks go to you tom you have done a huge huge thing here by helping all of these people understand what it is that makes you you and what really enables you to get images like the ones that we see behind us something where people have that passion and you can feel it in what you say and you can feel it in the images you take and in the time that you take and the effort that you put into making these happen on dh I know that I speak for these folks and the folks at home when I say thank you for helping to explain it in a way that makes it feel like everyone out there can do it can share the passion that's in their heart as well so big round of applause

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.