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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 6 of 24

Photographing Tetons and Moose in the Field


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 6 of 24

Photographing Tetons and Moose in the Field


Lesson Info

Photographing Tetons and Moose in the Field

I I have once hip after it is really important camera chip you guys ready for this one this is the best thing I can tell you now hand holding okay this is quicker this would have learned my fifty years you hold your camera like this and you can shoot with your left eye precious you have with the larger camera you can hold it like this you could shoot incredibly slow okay it's like a rifle got that pull it up like that you don't hold it like this because you've nothing to brace up you hold it like that like you would a rifle that's really so I think bigger stuff I could tell you I just had to get that in there okay some videos of the field by um spencer cake I live in fairfax virginia I have website brenner pass photography you can google it and I have wildlife nature pictures and landscapes there I love shooting with tom because he's the best photographer for shooting while life that I know of and I love being with him he's a great guy my name's tim miller from jackson hole wyoming my ...

website is society six dot com slash tim miller uh six is a number um yeah I wanted to shoot with tom is just I'm from jackson so obviously I've grown up a lot of around a lot of beauty a lot of nature a lot of wildlife that is incredible but it's not always easy to capture and so I really just want to win from vest and learn how to capture that stuff in a way that's ethical good and really professional and awesome so hi my name's rebecca walter and I'm wildlife conservation photography you can find me at r j walter dot com and I'm from westminster maryland yusa I'm so grateful for this opportunity to this workshop tom I greatly admire his work and he's a wonderful guy and I'm just grateful for the opportunity of men surround him hi my name is jennifer hans child and I live in northwest arkansas and I love everything outdoors so I have found myself into the food world of photography and fortunately have found tom mendelssohn who not only captures really fine tax sharp wonderful photos but I think he really finds the personality the personality of every subject he grabs so whether it's a living animal or whether it's a mountain a tree of flour to me I see life and everything that he captures so to be working with tom has been absolutely amazing and I've been grateful for the opportunity I'm tom wilson we're heading out in the town park you know we're just getting close teo moose intersection here where the moose teatime park headquarters is we're going tio go out and look for elk and moose and maybe even a grizzly bear for lucky or black bear antelope maybe bison later in the day so it's uh about an hour before sunrise right now it's gonna take us about forty forty five minutes to get to where I think we might see some milk no guarantees they move around a lot but I've been here for thirty five years so I kind of got it they've got a pretty good pattern and they live right on the edge of the park so a lot of elkhart bugling it's kind of the height of the elk season right now so um the bulls air gathering harems and doing a lot of bugling and some sparring and the biggest best bull winds and so that's ah that's the goal first thing we're gonna try to find elk uh because they're just out early here right at daybreak and then a soon as the sun comes up maybe half hour you know after daybreak they start going back into the woods so the idea is to go up to near will of flats where this been a few herds we've been out scouting in the last few days and found these herds out they're broken up into small bands and some of these girls were gathering bigger uh harems and so we're going to try to put us in a place where we'll have the tetons in the background and then herds kind of mixed in the willows probably be fairly far away and above them a bit but it'll be a nice scene hopefully this is this is our plan but you know these plans sometimes don't work but we'll try the main thing you just did be flexible you don't think you're gonna go someplace like right now we think we're gonna head towards well of flats where the elk were yesterday but there's no guarantee that they will be there today but and the weather report also what I saw last night our weather report is it is going to be clear today in this afternoon is going to change whether probably dramatically by tomorrow probably gonna rain tomorrow so tomorrow we'll do something else would probably doom or leaves and and trees on the yellow color because when it's wet the yellows will be more accentuated on the reds and stuff but he'll also take off if iran's hard take off a lot of leaves so there are some small clouds on the east over here um but they actually that's kind of perfect almost because the sun will come in and out of those clouds and what they will do is they will bounce light will bounce off the clouds and fill some pink light on the on the mountains generally speaking so it's just that actually it looks like a pretty good morning for sunrise it's clear it's boring because the sun hits it mountains directly and there's no color in them into the to the west where the mountains are see some other clouds and there's a small hes a thin haze there so I think that might have a good sky so that's great yesterday it was just blue and clear and it was it was a crappy uh sunrise but from right now it looks optimistic that it might have a decent sunrise so well cross your fingers and we'll keep watching it polarizer we have no no it polarizer doesn't do anything except uh you know later in the morning when the sun is at an angle and way need teo you know filter out some you know haze or whatever but right now if we have any far we want to keep the fog looking like fog and ela dennis's darken and dark and you're uh light and it takes six with light so you have a slower shutter speed unless you have the field so no polarizer sze and well I use fila risers pretty sparingly overall but um what we should do is think and when we get there you can do it now if you want but is set your eyes so as high as it will go for the camera you're using some cameras sixteen hundred is might be a size you can go others you know sixty four hundred but um it'll be pretty dark when we get there and start shooting so make sure your eyes oh is at the highest eso your camera can tolerate there's a big bull right below the hill here so everybody move kind of slowly and we try not to spook okay you that's him what's that appear but there's no one out there there's one over there there's one right there okay okay so we'll flats now settle beating the peaks by about fifteen twenty minutes but right now I see three bulls out there once calling challenging the other one there's also a motion to depose and it's a bull gets his paddle so returns they love to hear that possible so you make the move there didn't very aware of us right now so they don't care basically music ride of lenses cameras some for the white ankle some for the landscape of the animals in the landscape and then some for you no more groups and things there too for a real portrait but this guy here he's looking for a challenger so hopefully they'll come out and this open uh were we get better looking where they'd be closer but we have six hundred millimeters and longer lenses with extenders this is not a portrait situation when it's more of a landscape animals on the landscape right now but hopefully you know we might get some medical clothes the idea is to get settled in here with different lenses you know this wait and see what happens so he doesn't look like he's gonna be a lot of okay sure going to concentrate on the landscape probably so heavy long lens ready in case something shows up but there's lots out there somewhere get here but I think about you know why tingles for the landscape in and then pick out different um segments of the teton that that's the grand they're obviously and then you have mountain ran if somebody wants to shoot a stitch panoramic how many people know how to do panoramic ce you do know okay I'll tell you how quickly so you take for the scene you need a little bit longer lansing and close to the mountain someone put this back in here but on the eighty two four hundred so if you ever like a seventy two hundred or something okay he's moving no the moose is moving it is moving away so to shoot a stitch panoramic dude vertically put your own single frame and the tripods best which again and hold it and you move from left to right or right to left I tried to do left to right so you overlap one third through a frame so you shoot you forgot your love with you want to keep a level and online I have a grid so I get the grit of it at the horizon and sew it for you I forgot how close you want toby to the the frame I want where I want to start and where we want to stop you if you go too far too it doesn't matter you can crop that for this since it's infinity f eleven f sixteen and like a five hundredth of a second sense some hand holding it if you could try but you could do it slower of course um over there by the third you couldn't budge a little bit so basically fellowship in this landscape but go that is about fifteen twenty frames so in the post processing is distant together in any of a panoramic in the old days amo panoramic camera b one click and did you get it but they don't make the camera anymore the film was going extinct basically so now we did it in morecambe hard because in this low light the digital now is much more sense of sensitivity so somewhat easier try being trans bees level is again and um using everyone each in you khun to say leader how much you want to use or not use so um but I think this morning this make a nice real nice town panel from here and then if the elk do move in here um we'll try to include the auction my want to make a little wider okay you guys look the lights the lights that first light right now is the people only last about three minutes so we got to go now okay hold it steady as you can have a shutter speed at least of three fifty or five hundred and run it across first enforced or shoes you already know what your composition is okay and between frames assure your steady don't go across to quickly it's not going with the mountain I'm a craig mine up to sixty four hundred second hand hold it at a five hundred note a little slow so nowhere ninety five hundred yes there's no reason so way down so sixty is good you do that check your history graham we know about history gams look of the back your camera can give you a general idea I mean we're talking about history comes later they're a couple of way out there now but I keep shooting the landscape until we see something closer with the oak here comes three six anto crane so crane's need to be five hundred of a second include the mountain two pairs of the family groups just um um parents with one chick my favorite birds unfortunately it didn't fly in from the grand but you know it's that that luck of the draw but this is so beautiful and that the you know the water and the light said the light now is coming down to the bottom the mountains and within another twenty minutes this willows will another twenty minutes the willows would be lighting up and the moose and the elk will be more visible so it's a judgment do we go when we leave this beautiful scene before the light hits the willows and try to go for the shot of them may be crossing the river I think we wait until the light hits the willows barely and then we bust out of here go find some moose or elk okay because they're not they're not they're not like they were yesterday that's just you know maybe a bear went through here and chased them all out in the middle of night um the boom was is working this way so we're gonna try to get some shots of him in the willows he's a bit far so I'm gonna put on an extender so I have a one point have a one point seven extended on there on a six hundred millimeter which gives it a one point times one point seven times greater magnification no they use is because I have so much magnification always try to use it keep going like this so I'm not touching the camera with my fingers when I'm going like this jiggling the camera so use this so don't touch it do you have he's coming this way okay no froth I would friend the moose in the upper left corner tim for compositionally he's walking from left to right so he looks better in upper left in the bottom left so give some space to walk he's going to come out in the open there so be ready for him let him walk into the friend not a walk across the frame he's out so I'm going to recompose he's getting a little closer make sure the focus is right he's a big boy the moose is just he's just stopped to look around the landscape now he's turned to eats and willows the reason looser in her cause their favorite food and primary food or willows throughout the year he's beautiful the steam coming off of this out of his mouth and office back it's cold down there and there's a big huge massive body he's giving us of steam and that's really cool no it's going behind the willows and I've lost it more kidder's candice's paddle one thing this time you hid the paddles on their antlers they're brushing off in the white and they use them to display to tell other bulls I'm the biggest guy in the valley don't mess with me so that's the whole idea of and then they use us for fighting of course and fending off other other schools and winning a harem so anticipate you guys anticipate where he's walking towards the open spot because he's he's so in the cic of the willis now you can barely see him so look ahead of him and see where the open meadow is where he'll walk into and train your camera on that spot um and in this way for him is totally in the willis I can't see him he's walking from left to right so he'll probably come back out there it's the time of day they're not going to lay down you see the light is just hitting the top of the willows beautiful that's could be really nice so check here s o I'm a four thousand now and f tenet of four hundred which is about right for this lens and my combination so you want to be up at least two fifty okay there it is great isn't the massive antlers she still has him he still has involved on his antlers who's not shed all the way so he gets an opening then try to get have your shorter lens ready he's looking for trouble he's looking for a fight not that you should look for trouble but they they want to mate and so they're gonna do whatever they can to show off and see him now in there with the the will is that really nice is really kind of camouflage now that cho lk is just getting off she was sleeping there so the light is just starting to hit the willows it's gonna be maybe good so the lights just coming across the the meadow there in the willows so tack your s o down to maybe six forty year twelve hundred because equality be better and you'll have plenty of light so I minds right now I think it for thousands I'm gonna move it down to sixteen hundred this camera nikon the fort de forest has really good um pixels at that uh sixty four hundred even so depends on the camera you're using you see that but walking out that way out there he's he's looking nice in that color oh my he's a big guy you could see the white times on his when that the times on the antlers turned white you know that they're typically long and they're big and they're beautiful with a white white tips so that's the kind of well I need to say trophy bulls because you're all beautiful but um it's nice to see them he's a six point bull with the white times of that long mostly walking out in the open there now he's gonna come out into that little opening there and it's a nice color so use the color to help emphasize the time of year and and what he's up to their will is that their deceptive they look from here that they're only a couple feet high but they're like eight feet tall they're so okay watch there's a little opening in front of him again so wait for that opening reframe it a little bit give him space he does walk to the right of the willows so keep in mind now that you know the lights again getting pretty bright so you're esos could be down and the color of the willows or um getting really pretty and um hopefully there's um l care moving this direction they're still pretty far out damn you just turned to the left turkey oh he's sitting he's brushing it seems fitting the brush with sailors to rub off on velvet you're trying to get the yellow and yellow gaff and the red willows have to move again we could get lower but the willows they're so tall and I'm afraid we won't see their legs this cow here I can't figure her out she's just stands there by yourself but look at the beautiful light on her huh wait okay you questions um when you're shooting the uh moves in the shadows with the highlight of the truth behind how do you shoot you don't blow out the trees under expose it like use my exposure compensation I tend under expose it to save the highlights the shadows are not so important as the highlights so just use your exposure compensation in minus it a third of my institute there is minus one whatever it takes to preserve the highlights and and then look at your history graham if you see that the shadows might be important to you is there was a black bears something you want to see its fur then you have to compromise on dh say okay I might blow out the highlights but because I want detail in the blacks so but like these guys on the move sir or dark but they're not black this one is particularly not blackie's he's kind of brownish so aaron aside of keeping the highlight show nuff everybody looks jennifer jennifer you know see what's so what's happened clouds are really nice and you talked about early but using a polarizing filter maybe I would put the polarizing filter on and shoot that right now it's just a landscape and and um the sun is not ah at a great angle for it but it will change it a little bit the maura ninety degrees the pullers or the better this is really circular when yeah I don't think it'll do much but it might it might make the cause a little whiter and things it's the sun is still pretty much at her back so's publican effect but it might be worth trying go ahead shoot but I would include the clouds because you're really pretty so do it kind of wide the drawback of that is that the the elk are going to be even smaller and do a medium shot then so that you can actually see the doctor they're lighting up with the sunlight on him and now here geese coming they're there to keep an eye on aggies and they might they're going to come down on the lake we might get a shot of the geese in front of the tetons which would be kind of cool you're sam right above us here somewhere yeah there's five there as a family parents for three goslings looks like they're not going to go and I'm gonna make in front the tv so ideas to keep rise over all the time look around do you hear stuff you her geese coming and you know it's so much better to have a flock of cranes or geese you know across the tetons or a bald eagle or something just adds an extra life to the scene so that's really good the first hour of the morning you know how far before on you know on our afterwards is sort of critical to shooting while life this is that's when they're active this time of year especially when the lights the best and she has to make the best of it you have to make decisions your best best guess what might be happening that's what I want to go down to the river because of fog is going to dissipate soon as soon as the sun has the fog it's going kill it and it's still in the shadow right now but ten fifteen minutes it's going to be gone and there may be a chance of fewer moving over there so that would be great but it's a long long shot but you have to make it make it best decision this is really really great this morning right here I think beautiful sunrise and and mountains we had pretty good activity so um uh we'd like to move a little bit closer in more any open and some of the elk to get the animal in landscape so we'll compromise that didn't quite make it in the right place but at least we saw some universum nice color and it's a nice light so but we just began no we talked a lot about scouting in this l j m ellis says in the video you said there was a report of a great gray being around where those reports coming from how do you connect with people who are tracking animals to find out where they're going to be well friends hopefully have friends um and the great great it was a friend of live down the river about three miles from my house and she just called and said I have three great grays in my forced my backyard and so that was simple um other other times we have a bit of a phone tree with a half a dozen friends that we keep track of juicy pears and this is in the tetons obviously and so we share uh what we see and so it's really helpful because everybody benefits and and that's how that happens just real quickly this this morning shoot were you shooting in shutter priority or aperture priority yeah we talk a bit about amateur leader but I will say now we shouldn't aperture priority and it's a very um uh you can change you shudder with your amateur priority or if I was shooting racehorses or skiers or race cars in the shutter I wanted a thousand the second every time then I'll worry about that with appetite priority you khun you khun more worried about being able to change quickly um my aperture and I'm always looking my shuter street make sure if I'm hand holding it it is a kind of shutter speed tau handled it with that lands etcetera andrew stop the animal and the conduced is that with one dial and very quickly so always use most people I know most professionals I know use ultra priority a couple more quick ones here before we go out step landon to others how do you come in contact and select your drivers and guides locally you said how important they are how do you find him uh well I've been to africa safe uh think we must sixteen trip this year so a lot of his experience and when you find a good driver um then you stay in contact and when you have an outfit you know that you like that worked well for you obvious you keep selecting that so it's a matter of you know going there or you know sometimes when you first went to africa and I knew people that had been there who recommended you know make sure you get johnny or you get uh joe tom can you talk about your auto focus strategy particularly when you're using the cable release um well you know what the camorra lisa does auto focus automatically so um use continuous autofocus woman icon uh and I used the back button focus most of the time uh supposed to shutter release focus so I can focus on lock the focus in and recompose without worrying about moving the dial's all over the place so I don't have to be say that must still be over here and I can use that dia to focus on him lock it in and recompose it and that I'm not never looking at the center where I'm worried I'm not worried about where the dialogues are I'm worried about the composition uh maybe one more question here before we go toe rake portrait photo aga and twelve other people wanted to know the answer to this would you just talk about your yearly planning for wild art photography which places and animals and what months et cetera maybe not specifically like go hear this time go here at this time but more how you approach figuring out what areas are best at a particular time of year most of it comes from my experience again you know been say uh without being well being specific you go the serengeti during the wildebeest migration but it's also good in summer time for other things but the migration is gone um photographing birds you use issue birds uh in the springtime when they're in their best limits you shoot big mammals not in spring when then your worst plummet tickets are shedding their hair from the winter harris figured out losing hair and they don't have antlers and they look crappy so so you shoot me this israel generalistic stuff but you shoot mammals in the in the fall and winter when they you know they got the best college for and you sure berries when their innermost brightest colors in the spring because they're displaying for the females so it's a journal things so then you you you obviously goto knowing them for fall color or you go to boston bill apache to photograph cranes in the winter when there roosting you goto platte river roosting wintering because the platte river when they're migrating so you basically follow this season's er and that's part of doing research and or being there but you know it's a lot of times I think we should have been here a week earlier and then actually with climate change now the cranes come to nebraska two weeks earlier than it did uh forty years ago so things change polar bears are are going out on the ice tweaks later so it's not it's not a constant and it's nothing's for sure but generalistic you follow the seasons and then keep in mind uh migrations and things

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.