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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 20 of 24

Landscape and Portraits: Mule and Pronghorn Deer


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 20 of 24

Landscape and Portraits: Mule and Pronghorn Deer


Lesson Info

Landscape and Portraits: Mule and Pronghorn Deer

it is so too nice meal dear bucks they're laying down up next to each other the hill here so I'm going to get out quietly and move move ah slowly and try to keep him they don't uh spook get up so it was like a two to four hundred millimeter lands um and shooting a sixty four hundred eso because it's pretty dark in there but there in a nice spot for just a portrait let's see what we can do some sticks in front of his face so let's move a little bit to the right okay the one on the left is the nice one right now it looks like can like a bodiless builder but wait till his ears europe like that actually is kind of interesting vertical but they always look better when they're years are up he's listening behind him right now but he'll move his ears forward hopefully but this is kind of interesting portrait nothing great but I would um shoot it low depth of field so you get rid of a lot of the background focus so she's like five six or six seven and it'll blow the background about make a litt...

le more painterly but have you shutter speed area also still up thirty two hundred sixty four hundred the other one on the right is not as doesn't have his biggest antlers so it's not quite as trophy like but it's a pretty animal but there's a lot of russian front of it so vertically he fits better the sea has ears her back now so tell the big guy animals that have their ears whether the horses or deer or moose always look a little weird with ears back so you kind of wanna wait till they hear something in front of them that move that years forward to get a better listen he's listening for something behind him sometimes they put the shears down there bothered they're not bothered by us we're far enough away but they've probably just finished feeding another just digesting and taking a break it's a decent scene but not not award winning scene I'm shooting it video right now so it's a sixtieth f eleven twelve fifty for shooting still it is sixty four hundred or so seven point one stop on a five hundred of a second so I can blow the background a bit won't have much depth of field we'll have all the busy grass so prominent so I can but I want a least seven one but this extender on it for land's quality and sharper image said some all the way open pretty much so let's go down the road see if they're any moves down the by the river theme these guys might you know get up in an hour so we can come back this way and they might be in a better position and and better background is a bit a bit messy but see how it's gotta sears f now that's because that car stopped and those kids were talking now it's getting a little curious about the people walking down the road now put it back so now you can see what the difference is between years up in ears back that's years back that's years up so much more interesting in this it looks like an alert animal it's looking something it's got you know attention these tours have stopped here now and they were running and talking and so I got there got the deer's attention so now he's comfortable again he's got his ears back so okay let's go huh we're driving down one of the back back rows of of the park here and this is one one's better places to see pronghorn and I can see a few lying down in front of us here and they're just off that dirt road maybe seventy five yards so we'll just drive up slow because they're a little bit shy and then we'll be quiet and slip out of the car and set up for tripods are longer lenses and uh you know see what they do and then we look for some nice background and there's some nice mountains in the background not the tetons but some lower hills with some color and actually look at this in this problem on way out there too so that they're you know depends on the individual personalities is how shy there some are are very accepting of people and others were skittish so just let me look here I don't think that it's gonna do grasses short kind of boring I think we should go up then see if there's something better this passes up right now we have a semanal upon the left here somewhere lying down there's a buck over there on the right side here we have a single buck who I think if we wait a few minutes maybe a bit longer he might want to go join the herd and so we're just gonna wait and see it's just the waiting game known but it could be a photo up with these guys with the mountains in the background right now that's kind of the time of the morning when they're just resting and sleeping sid activity is low this guy might make decent portrait of a pronghorn so we'll just wait and see tom how much in wildlife photography is it just waiting and seeing uh most of his wedding and saying that he had to count that minutes and hours and days and months and years I've spent waiting for a particular picture so it's you have to be very patient a group hunting ducks with my father would sit in a duck blind for a flock of ducks or geese to come by for days and days and days and then they would shoot two or three in a week and so I grew up as a from demos a baby and from a teenager's when I was on tour learning that patients you know will pay off in that unfortunately it was a good lesson for me because I thought that's what she did it was natural so I do it now it was not a big deal and I like watching and observing and learning so um that's one of my guests probably from my dad that he taught me to be patient and so these two right now that buck one buck kind of laid down this buck now is coming towards the herd and he's kind of going in an angle we could move up a little bit maybe and uh he's he's feedings relax he doesn't care about us so when you guys air we will stop and you slip out the door and be quiet don't disturb him and civic it'd get a portrait of him these guys they're getting up to go feed and the mountains were really nice right now so let's go over there okay no um that's a two to four that's perfect yeah now the bucks we're just chasing each other see that's a big buck there in the behind he's chasing off the younger ones say he doesn't make with his girlfriends don't get too close well see they eat their interest in meeting right now they're not interested in us if we stop every so often they will be calm and the park regulations you get can be closer than twenty five yards set using were one hundred fifty hundred eighty now two hundred yards so we're good distance they've laid back down so they're calm so we do what we do now is we'll walk that way away from them angle that way and they'll think we're a bunch of farmers okay and we get over there and we'll angle back over this way and we'll keep doing that until we get into a nice range if you walk directly at animals they don't like it they think it might be a hunter or something so I'll head that way and try to stay in a tight ball okay okay so you hold it like this you can be in put your elbow in your eye buddy so you cradling the lens a lot of people hold their lands like this and really well so this is just like a rifleman would shoot one of the few a plus is a gut in college rifle marksmanship see how she'll calm there no bother don't look at me okay we're out here fixing the irrigation ditch I want to come over here okay couple are moving so we're going to go back this way now okay we'll take a few from here with the mountains in the background so focus on them and have a lot of depth of field like fourteen or sixteen in the shutter speed of five hundred eight hundred I mean I s o four hundred so there shy animals will shoot from pretty much from this distance there feeding calmly now we will move a little bit to the right but the idea's zigzag and not go towards them um we're three hundred yards here and but then there's a lot of us so if you were by yourself you more successful with getting a little bit closer but they're just a bit shy so we'll let them do their thing and not bother them and just do the landscape with animal and it's quite nice right there you know try to try to ah get them when they're walking sideways and you can tell that they're antelope that kind of thing so then beware of the background but the mountains look beautiful right now the storms the storm's coming in obviously so getting some more dramatic clouds by this evening imagine we might you know we might be out of town because of the cloud cover but maybe not might be really nice focus on the pronghorn and then I'm going to recompose and check my level so I have the grid screen in there which is really nice because you can see that you're rising is level zoom in a bit keeping the tetons a little bit larger moved down focus on the pronghorn raise up a little bit recomposed know you have this this image so those of you who aren't on auto focus lock and the cannon you'll have to do yep so I recommend that a lot of people like to use this but then you have to keep the dialled on everything and then you're sort of a slave to where the focal point is instead of making the best composition so I think these guys they're spread out nicely if we walk over this way a little bit we get a couple more shots and we'll go back to that buck beautiful light on the grand the other thing is forget about the pronghorn just shoot that the tips of the the peaks the high peaks uh because with that dramatic light it's beautiful but the shadows on the peaks are really nice no like a little difficult so look at your history graham is everybody understand history camp kind of more or less okay but you're a little fuzzy right yes okay all right so we're going to just talk about the history graham move it so you can see the history room is there if you move it full frame and down again you'll see the history graham is perfect you know you have details in the in the shadow although this is a very flat image is not a good is not a good example well do one later but you have detail in all the shadows which are those air in the mountain and you have detail in all the white spots you have detail in the white clouds of detail the snow so that the perfect description I'll show you what will happen if I change the euro minus three that's what I said on icons um especially the older in icons it's a d for s it's not older but I prefer a minus three when shooting so I'm gonna go to I'm a good accentuated too a minus two and we'll take the same picture go some geese in a little bit late for the g's no this is my exposure compensation which is equal to the history gammas importance because this is how I don't I don't use bracketing hardly ever I bracket by using my exposure compensation you look at the history graham it still says even an a minus two these cameras are so sophisticated so so great done amber grange even at a minus two exporter it says here that there's still detailed in the in the black areas but you right on the edge this is dark so this under exposure and this is the light so I'm gonna go one more to minus two and two thirds were starting to lose it the shadow where is and we have so much room here with the whites okay and I'm gonna minus two point seven but the dynamic range of these cameras is phenomenal so you could still print us it would be fine and it might be fine because this is really making it look dramatic now she might want to really underexposed because midei like right now it's kind of boring light so what ice that tells me right now is you underexposed balloon what happens to the dark clouds in the light so that's why this is so important well sometimes dramatic it depends on the scene you know if you're doing grass it would not do anything but with those mountains in the shadows and cause that makes it more dramatic and yet you know you have all the detail in the shadows you know it's still not that too far off there is a point at which put it a minus four of course it's gonna be really difficult to see in the back now it's you know you don't see at all and what you say okay what the hell is history graham say it says you're clipping just barely clipping the show will go the other way we're going to do ah over exposure so the you're perfect exposure was a minus three okay so we're gonna go the other way at a minus let's just say minus ah made a plus a plus one point seven one and two thirds no even here it looks like you're blowing out right now kissed a gram says you are now losing detail in the whites that is this is the wall for the the highlights so there's no detail in some water is white in there no detail in the mouth you know the snow and the clouds and stuff and so they're gonna be washed out and you won't be able to bring it back back up basically that's gone that's what I always say if you're going to air on one side or the other pair on the under exporters I'd save the highlights and you can get this also has the option have the highlights flash to correct yeah that's gives you better mean that touch you right away if you want to do that but attended just use the hist aground what does it mean in the middle of the graph when it goes all the way up to the top nothing nothing it just means it all the shadow and highlights a stuffer it's like monochromatic you don't need to worry about the mountain range you just worry about right left and with this shot being so flat is that why ours all had a tendency to go like looked like it spiked in the middle but if there hadn't if you had a variety okay I'll shoot I'll shoot this scene here I'm going to put it back in the mine is third our shooting a exporter and see you see the shadows there now that scene see how that see how the history and look different this part is the darker it that's the mountain this part over here is a white sky okay so but neither or clips so you have detail in a white sky out of minus third and you have detailed in mountain area and so minus three but you goto ok we're going to go to minus once a same scene and is pushing the limit here and there so that's a bit dark so you're going to start losing detail in in the shadow of the mountain and see if he went toe say to two thirds according to history ma'am you're losing detail in the shadows so what you wanted to do is basically keep your peaks you know away from the world in the middle okay and you don't have to have any concern of putting the peaks together trying because that's just telling you information just telling you got dark areas we have light areas you have a mixture of things that mountainous flat that's monochromatic basically and that's why you're getting this one peek so a little exercise we just did was value of approaching while life and that's comes with um a lot of experience mostly while it doesn't like you in the general sense they don't like he walking directly towards them with a bieber owl or the crane or bison or letter they get nervous you walking right towards him so ideas that zigzag and pause and wait and see wait till they come down that they start moving if they start raising their heads and you just stop and you can play space and typically you use long lenses that's what I have you know big lenses and the you know so you don't have to get right on top of stuff you know I get so bored with portrait's importers and boards it so I like the landscape in animals so the way you can get close even if you have shorter lens is doing a zigzag and pausing and goofy gran and you know kicking the cow turds you're wetter playing like you're a farmer and the animals relax so that's what you want relax animals you want but shots you want front shot side shot twitter says rule number one with photographing wildlife if you're on the field give them respect give them space use long lenses and if you want to get closer to them then do not oppose him directly just talk about the history graham and that's the over under exposure of a scene and this is really flat light so we had we saw where we just had basically you know history hammers in the middle of the picture in the middle because that scene against a tee times is fairly monochromatic in a sense not a lot of um light areas highlights or deep dark shadows and we shot this where there's a deep dark shadow on jackson peak there and there's some light on the cottonwoods and lightning feels so then the history graham is more like this we try to keep it off the right hand side which means you don't have any detail in the whites like in the clouds with snow and off the left inside the walls so to speak than usual had detail in the shadows if you're going to in some situations you you say there's ah so there's a bear in a in a light area and behind it is deep eric force I always go for the bear of course I don't give a damn about the deep dark force okay there's detailed in those trees up there I care about this detail in the and the bear's hair the moose is here the bison sarah whatever we find some bison have been other good point because your meter will read that the bison is really dark and it will wantto overexpose and then the price will be too late so if you're gonna air aaron aside jonas speaking of the highlights preserving the detail in the highlights you lose a shadow detail it's not a big deal of course everybody has their own opinion about that ideal you say both and again with these camp today's cameras they have such a dynamic range is not like film that ah you have to be kind of lame not to be able to to get both except in extreme conditions but that's where you use your explosion compensation but that's why you finish one question about the scene you then ah look at your history ram and it will tell you right away do not rely on the monitor in the back because honestly you can tell history um tells you the truth let's go set that boxer what I like about you what I like about you tom is that we never know what you're thinking you know we never know what you really think about uh you know I actually wanted to remind you after that I actually wanted to read you a couple comments from folks online we have denise birds who says I like that he's showing them to try and then do other trials and then not any image is wrong but to see what you can do in camera amelia says I've never seen a more detailed and informative on location shoot on creative live kudos to tom for his instruction and explanation as well as the crew for capturing it all vintage soul this section is worth buying the course by itself just listening to how is mine it works well in the field what he's thinking and how he operates his camera is extremely beneficial so thank you for being so religion with those folks that's kind of scary comment very scary thank you to anybody have any questions I've got kind of a funny one here that I like but if you guys have any good questions then I'll ask you this one from beach and doug do you games or methods to pass the time when you're waiting for so long because it was things that you have talked a lot about is patient about having to sit out there for a long time sometimes two to three hours waiting for one shot what do you do to pass the time thats a common question actually especially when I was photographing like the resplendent cancels the other yesterday um in that session and I was there for twelve hours a day I'd go in at daybreak and since we're close to the crater was really long days and I leave it in dark but there's no way I'm gonna have taken books with me and and in this case it was in the blind that molly visibility's wanna slit eyed cut with my pocket knife in the campus here and the slit where I put my lens so otherwise I was just in this dark hole but I found it the moment you take you cannot always be looking through one of the holes or through the lens the moment you distract yourself with books or journals I used to keep a journal and sometimes I do will journal and say what time the break came back so that gives me an idea of you know the behavior and and then I'll refer to that later the end of the bird male comes over two hours say on average to change nest duties you know it could be the eggs and that's you know that's always a great and sometimes I go back to that but even just the process of writing it down you you start getting these patterns of animals so it's really good to journal but other than that I don't know you can't be playing games and video games or you know the surfing than that of course and in shop it was going too difficult to get any service but now I just I just you know watching waiting and I like watching and looking in the hallways always something happening communing with nature if you want I love it some clarification one person said I thought tom previously said he sets his camera compensation at minus one third but did I misunderstand previous statement cause now it seems like you're saying that you use minus three yeah I was actually to stop the talk when I said that because I realized it was confusing it's a minus one third but it did oftentimes you look through the cameras to three but it's a point three so it's a minus one third not a minus three thank you for that right now is going to clear front but think great questions for important one more I wanted to know how tom deals with sensor dust and how you may recommend cleaning of censors always seem to find specs when using whiter angle lenses especially in blue skies use the blower brush you turned the camera upside down you know like a premier blow it out and otherwise I don't touch the centre until I get back home and let my riel technical guy do that and then of course we end up with lots of dustin but you can't it's tedious and things but you know the last thing I wanna do is screw up your sensor in the field um any questions again in the room was quiet it's way have jen l b r and a lot of people have asked for this have you ever felt threatened went out in the field you did talk about not wanting to startle people or whatever but they're startled animals if so could you elaborate to hear if you've had any stories where you have felt threatened I know you said earlier that you don't antagonize you make sure to keep yourself calm it's possible that you know the pretty common question when you're out with began almost and if you know like in alaska walks your older bush uh deep alder bush thinking that the moose is over there and didn't realize there was a moose right there and during the rut and you surprise you know moose a big bull one time you know very close and he jumped up and you have these certain behaviors and I just got my tripod my lands in iran now you don't do that with bears because if you run and you don't do the cougars so she had to know certain things but if you run from he just wants you out of the way and then a soon as he walked off it went back got my tripod my camera um it's been time where they have surprised a bear in the woods uh you know looking for elk much like these l kind of do sometimes and uh surprise like bears surprise when your own food carcass surprised when they with young surprising general is when you see um animal like a bear especially might attack you cougar you know lying along the trail you're running in the evening that you know the cougar she's just movement thinks it's a deer and it's instinctive to run after it certainly talking human running this way you don't run a dusk and cougar country by yourself um I've been in the hudson bay in the summertime like summer where I was uh looking for snow geese and there was a polar bear that he realized was stalking me because polar bears don't like grizzly bears are totally uh carnivorous and anything that's meat is more interesting to them than grass and uh so he was talking me unfortunately I was I was close enough to the tundra value that I had that it could get back to but you know that was scary another polar bear time I was actually national geographic film crew when we went out on the ice from the tundra buggy is a stairway let down two guys and his mother polar bear coming across the ice and I want to get that low angle not from the high tundra buggy and there's a storm just came up out of nowhere just a whiteout snowstorm and a friend of mine spent a total snooze in his nineties then he was a guard upon the thunder buggy they started yelling something edison well I could look up and I could see him yelling and that what the heck and then he pointed the knife so there's this old gnarly polar berry was like I only had three teeth left in his head knows we're the ones that are hungry obviously young ones old blues typically arm or more likely to be trouble because again they don't can't kill things is easily and four for spence seeing this bear who was talking um the film crew um might have been difficult we didn't see him until you came to this bloke blowing snow and then we just dropped the gear and I shove these geographic guys up the the the ladder on my leg and left my tripod my camera there in the very went around at that hour he's going to knock it over any ice and it was an expensive you know aeroflex camera you know about sixty thousand dollars sitting in the tripod and you just sort of went on but other than those sort of three or four instances I have never felt I'm always aware again ah you know lots of times you know get bears in alaska and things get your attention they come through the woods I haven't come from here to the wall out to the salmon stream and you're sitting there in iraq but he was looking for salmon so I've been lucky and I hope I don't screw up do you ever feel that animals like say three ninety nine that you've you've had a lot of exposure to and been around do you feel that she might be comfortable with you that she recognizes you oh that's you know I always hate to say that you know you know the bear or something but honestly she of course she would she smell certain people or vehicles just like my daughter I can let my dog run out at night from my my office have been on the sidewalk you'll smell my car you know fifty cars and of course bears have probably ten times better olfactory sense than the dog goes just quite good and so certainly three nine nine recognizes my smell and probably uh my car she seems to be wary of white cars which are the ranger cars uh who sometimes you know heyzer kind of eminem serious so they recognized color and there's a few other people friends of mine that I know it's been a lot of time with three nineteen eight and they seem to be crossed in front and sews one of them she's little subaru and three nine nine seems to cross and six ten more often in front of say our cars these cars were out there a lot than they do randomly or behind us so you'd only have to think that yes she recognizes the cars and smells of stuff that isn't you know but without saying any more than that I can and I have seen three nineteen ninety couple is when she crossed the river that picture I have gotten I didn't like that she was in the carcass and she across the river during the night and I was setting up for her carcass and I had gone out early in the morning and uh she was sleeping in the willows only about fifteen feet away and I made playing noises with a friend of mine and I was she got up she looked and I recognized her I wasn't worried about her she wasn't worried about me she went up on the hill stood up came down the hill across the river now I don't know I should do that with anybody or not right life is any difference but I think she was just a good bear basically by the heading and do with me or not I don't know but you always liked to think that maybe they know you're cool so I think oh do we have one more perfect just a question about when you're out in the field I know a lot of videos we've seen you've got assistance or film crews with you but when you're out shooting for you do you go take somebody with you because I have to have people tell me that I'm crazy going out by myself man after of course leave where I'm going and all that good stuff so that somebody knows where to find me but are you usually buy yourself on your own projects or do you have like a partner a friend somebody take along both when I'm at home often go out by myself and or taking a partner with me or friends or buddy or someone who might be just interested in going along and it was great to share you know if you come I'll take you um so it's nice to share things in plus you've got another set of eyes or another driver or you know like this very instance were with this guy I had my back turned to the bear and I was actually trying to call a friend of mine on on a cell phone who was going to meet us there and I was watching in the darkness for him to come over the hill and I was on the phone and my friend said tom is a bear right behind you you know and and so it's you know when you're in you know bear country especially it's it's good to have somebody with you and those kinds of if you're not in bear cougar it's a predator predator country and but sometimes I like to be alone that's great

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.