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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 5 of 24

Locations and Animal Behavior


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 5 of 24

Locations and Animal Behavior


Lesson Info

Locations and Animal Behavior

what's the most important thing about this picture anybody want to take a guess the driver yeah this guy the guide he'll help you get there fixing tires and your watch for birds and he'll tell you you know where to go the car is the second we like it with the windows rolled down this way these are always a pain in the butt uh being but that's it mean big I just showed you uh you know have a number of kind of brackett's bald heads and stuff on them they seem to just getting away from me I like the idea of being able to just throw the beanbag on the other side not having attached to the side if there's something happening on that side um so depends on where you're going of course you can dress pretty lightly um um in africa and let's talk about what we're gonna do I sort of do for the next sessions this afternoon and then the ones after that way do a lot of scouting you know but first of all someone who's asked questions about you know how do you know where to go we do research I'm not a...

crazy researcher and I don't have a staff of researchers I see pictures I see movies I talk to people I have an idea I want to photograph tigers I wanna photograph elephants on but whatever it is but but I tend to want to go to a place and be surprised so I don't look at a lot of pictures and then have this thing in my head that I want to get one like he got her she got I want to be more original um but then when you get there I think okay of this occasion trees or iconic african plains as are the wilder beast and when we get there we drive around we find say let's hit let's go do sunrise in the morning and uh or sunset doesn't matter um let's find a great tree okay so we find five great trees and the next morning we go out and we see if there's any will to be spy any of the trees so this ok will be cereal with there and if you get over here this thing's going to come up there and this is all pre planned in a way you know the wildebeest don't always cooperate the tree isn't going anywhere but so that's the kind of preplanning that that I do and you got to be flexible because of that same day we saw a pair of lions is not food let's follow alliance you know we got the three late this year was a great year for elephant babies and uh a lot of the there's a drought in africa about six years ago in about forty percent of the herd died off in amba salad because of the drought and the fortune of course added to that and we're going to go to amboseli we went through for three days and so great because there was a bonus of babies that rain the year before so then they just started they had one hundred babies in three months so they were just pump me and it's unheard of their scent in moscow is the elephant researcher told us and today we got there they had their one hundred baby and they were celebrating a big a class of uh of uh scotch so way decided that this is a once in a lifetime chance we did that you finish the rest of our tour embassy lowly terran gary in going grow certain cases let's go back wanna go back here because it's not gonna happen again for a while maybe never you never know who went back there for another week so again you have to be flexible you know I mean if you can be I mean some people have jobs and then you know you have to think okay we weren't just watching these lions and the rainbow showed up you know we saw the rainbow we've been we've got to find something to put in front of the rainbow you know and so we drove around here's this mating pair of lions and so that's that's sort of serendipity stuff you know going go there during the rainy season and then after people always think okay the big five you know rhinos cape buffalo elephants drafts and but they forget about the birds there's a thousand species of birds and pretty much any of the east african countries of south african countries which are pretty much more than what's in the lower forty eight thousand species so this is where the six hundred comes in handy and the one point for this isn't about one actually on the okavango river carmen beaters and so tried to you know again think about what else is there besides the big guys are the head shooters and there's in alaska late august photographing bears again is a whole different gear situation you know where waiter's gonna be really prepared for rain and you can't take all your you knew your gloves and your hand warmers and your rain gear on and so it's a quite different situation and you know alaska has all these different animals and then you think about pre visualizing this moose we might see it later maybe not but it was over the hill here I knew this pawn and I saw them who's coming up the hill and told my buddy let's go around the pond just to see if the moose will maybe come up there's about one in a hundred chances but what's another moose in the brush we've got enough motion of rush shots let it go for broke let's go down here see if we can get the reflection and matter of fact you came up there but as soon as you're ready to shoot shoot the frame he laid down I was just ready shoot for him he laid down these and I will tell you what my friend said s o he laid down with me and so is that what you're going to get up what his weight and actually it was really great because this was olin riffle was a little bit of breeze in the morning and about ten o'clock that morning this one dead calm just like that other ways we talked about earlier that he had three cows the other one had nineteen but he had three this is what cow here just like that other moves this cow got up he stood up I looked around this is dead calm at this the polarized around a few times again to use employers click three or four frames and he went off so lot of we're going talk about is pre visualization being in the right place and going for broke you know not shooting another dumb picture of a moose in the older bush uh this is a place in uh alaska you're homer some of you probably been there called beach patrol and uh another one of my eagle photos we got about uh portrait's versus animals and the landscape getting low to her perspectives it's always better to be low we're gonna talk about that different animals beyond their level or shoot up with them you know especially uh things like penguins they're three feet tall getting those intimate portrait you know looking for that you know we always like it be we always associate it with ourselves you know fair enough or not I'm not sure but um you know this is a male female and there's a colony of macaroni penguins and and there's there's a moment there you know I shut maybe talk about how many frames five hundred friends probably just two birds before it clicked and then you don't always have to have an animal in the landscape or anything and I have a lot of people so where's the animal okay once while you shoot things they're just a graphic color you know powerful and then we have to be reminded that we just like we're just like penguins you can imagine which one the beaches in southern california actually those are people and we're gonna talk about color and depth of field and on dh shooting through for liege and backlighting people know this is our place in a big landscape we had tto be constantly reminded of our responsibility in the landscape and we'll talk about that next session patagonia it again intimate moments and dramatic moments composition this is taken with with the d for s with the fourteen to twenty four uh um it was twenty twenty eight millimeter at two cameras set up within interval ometer is not traffic camera trappers say with a motion sensor but it's it's set it anew that we watch his cat we didn't have a proper blind it was very shy but he killed us with taco this is not good that they bury that would not go so it doesn't attract uh condors and other foxes and things so they buried it and we watched her for four five days we couldn't get close enough you know without you know her moving off so we decided to set up a couple cameras and I knew that she came every morning at uh daybreak and should feed for maybe an hour and then she released we just set up the cameras with interferometer daybreak what time that was at six o'clock in the morning until like eight o'clock and it went off every two one camera went off every two seconds one camera went off every three seconds and we had a third camera later on went off every five seconds and way had won twenty gigabyte megabyte card and a sixty four making my car so it it it went for a long time so these were just delivered just chance shots you know every couple seconds you're bound to get something more less and um that work we're going to talk about fog and mood and moisture and how it affects my life and course no one and again how that mr changes things and it wants what you pretend like you're polar bear helps and don't think don't think of polar bears just in snow and ice just stick in the summertime and this was neat about it it's a bullet here in the summer and uh another intimate portrait with family that moment is what I want you guys to learn how to do under watch for and you don't have to go to all these exotic places this is the new england a couple weeks ago and um um we spent we went upstate new york vermont connecticut massachusetts and just chase fall color so we had a great time and it was more or less not quite in my backyard but it was you know trip that a lot of people probably closer to than I am and you need to learn about blinds if you're gonna shoot certain species like you know foxes or pray dogs certainly santo cranes to talk about the best thing you can do is learn lots about animal behavior because all this gear is not going to help if you don't know about and I will be here or where to be at the right time but whether mood um actually a backup one here this a pair of white chick beat white throated beaters he has a wasp or a bee enticing his female I was photographing elephants when I saw this happen with several pairs by concentrating the next three days on white throated beaters elephants became secondary so I switched gears this all happens for a week or so this is what they have this display where the razor wings it's amazing and difficult to shoot but anywhere that I had to switch gears so think about being flexible courtship behaviour um I knew he knew this she did this this is obviously a treat that's been scratched before I notice that I would need the cup would come over so I just waited time of year where they feed the berry patch in jackson hole I know the bears come every year so the idea is to learn as much as you can about animal behavior and a lot of that comes from being out there you can read a lot watch a lot of movies is really important look another other people's work important but being out there's no no um substitute for being out there and watching and you're a few year you know this is a common place these bears go and wherever there's a dan use a blind be cautious and with long lenses you don't disturb things and this is a picture try to get for about ten years I knew the cross river every every night to get eat in the meadows every morning that go back to the force and they cross over in the meantime so I forgot where the best angle was where the trails where they went down to the river and I walked this whole river link for a couple of miles and forgot where the most tragic trails were the shallows where and where the light came from in the morning and on the picture with the bear that you saw earlier similar place cover the book um when the sun was coming up on the mountain look good face myself it would be in the place for that shot when it was not good sun rose on the mountain I would go for the fork so it again I can't emphasize enough about animal behavior and knowing that and that's all the time three reported this morning hunting your summer they're flying up in the booth wait here for a minute I used to really calm birds like pretty poor early you love snow to make it interesting speech there I know it's against that weight sky so it's very difficult walking christ back into the woods with this nice you're from dark just landed there coming beautiful perfect video is he beautiful social around for mice the winds coming up and get the wind in the trees way for fifteen years every grade this bruce snow booth some red squirrels on their barking tripping on this one booth warning call when they have an owl so those are the kinds of things that you do you're aware of what you're out in the field so you follow the sound of the red squirrel and most likely you'll find an owl or a hawk or something but in this case I knew it was like with all very calm I've had I've had a great great land from here to this water mug on a post look at me like what you're doing here thank you can you tell me how you keep your hands and feet warm out there what gear you use for that well that's a good question hands and feet my feet I'm cold my hands if you're always called for the most part I've learned to live with that again from my early experiences major what her cold but I do where all kinds of dim tried uh boots are not a big issue you know get good boots goodwill will socks and you seem so so under landers and um lots of lots of layers like we'll talk about um but my hands the biggest because of frostbite them so many times that that I can't keep them warm and it's really hard to find a pair of gloves that you can use that you can still use your camera settings and you know I've got the little finger tip once I put them inside of mittens in inside down mittens or whatever it might be really the great tip is the hand warmer you know there's a uh these little guys here you know and there's again a dozen brands that this happened to have this one but um hand warmers were really great and put it inside your clothes and that's a good ticket but gloves or just what ever worked with no other questions here in the room let's go let's go right here and then we'll come right back that how do you go about changing lenses and working with the equipment in either snow or rain or very cold temperatures are any trips there uh changing the cold temperature doesn't matter doesn't affect anything uh rain dust when you know the censor gets dirty I know some people who never changed our lenses because it might be dusty out or something which I think is a mistake and you can always removed us from your either your sensor or your your damage afterwards but you know you gotta have the right lens on so don't get too uptight about that I try to hold you know if you know this balling this way try to protect it and change lenses had quickly and you know I've learned that you know generally speaking you can do it quite quickly and what was the third question sorry was that it way had one more right here they were going to but I have a question about um looking at your video here fighting the they um the element you're shooting a grey owl in a grey sky and on kind of grace no because it's overcast and how do you compensate for that to get it right in the camera or don't you good question um if you noticed but you probably didn't notice um I think I mentioned from the audio is difficult it was windy but I try never to shoot an a bird against a white sky you know the white guys to brighten your eye goes the white sky always tryto put the in that case the great grey owl against the either tree and the best was that conifer tree that was there with the snow obviously and whenever it went to a tree that head sky in the background I would move around so we get the bird in front of a dark space and that's the secret to that just it's almost impossible to get a picture of what you end up with the silhouette

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.