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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 2 of 24

Tom's Story: Panoramics and Tetons Home


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 2 of 24

Tom's Story: Panoramics and Tetons Home


Lesson Info

Tom's Story: Panoramics and Tetons Home

I started thinking about I wanted to catch the whole landscape the big landscape and it always been using wide angle lenses like most people do you think and it always to the landscape backers you know when you even become smaller it's no longer the normal perspective as we see about a fifty millimeter so a friend of mine had a panoramic camera six seventeen fuji camera that he was showing me for his studio work and I thought I wonder if I could use that in the field to shoot wildlife and actually shoot wildlife in the landscape so this is a three to one ratio size of films roll film two twenty one twenty in the image is about the size of a dollar bill so it's a big piece of film so you can make huge prints if you get it right but the camera it's a view camera you're looking through a viewfinder and not the lens she had to guess two mate what the distances or use a uh distance finder like a golf ball finder and you have to use a hand held meter to read the meter and then you have to fi...

gure out the depth of field different f stops to see what's in focus is very complicated and the film was fifty I s o or hundred asa was the fast film was slide films made negative but I hardly ever used it but even it allowed me to get what I saw you know what I what I saw a ce a panoramic image and it changed the way I started viewing wildlife and landscape in and I became fascinated with it and that became my favorite camera for many years uh that bulls symbol is this one had nineteen cows and there is one little bullet was always trying to horn in on his couch he was very busy chasing little bull off he would dig a wallow with your name on the wall and then they they get into it and they roll around and and smell very nice too the females apparently and they read the females and the little girl would get in and try to do the same thing and he chased them off and uh he was always tired we followed him for a week he was largest bull known in an alley that year now of course denali huge who knows probably other bigger bull's somewhere but uh he was lying in this dwarf birch which is turned bright red in the fall and had rain it was raining all day and he was lying down there and I had oh in assistant on a buddy of mine was working on a film for abc and his assistant and another guy was worth me and about four o'clock in the afternoon they had they were done with it enough rain or wet cold we're leaving so the um three left my friend chip who is hard core like me and didn't mind getting wet and cold I wanted the shot stayed on it so let's just stay on a while longer and I looked to the west and I saw this little sliver of of clothes clear below the clouds on the far horizon I said ship if we stay another forty five minutes or so I think that son might peek out and knowing moves like we know most of the time they feed it son sunset they feed about every two hours to three hours this lead feed sleep feed but evening so I sat on this frame and I shot pictures from line down just hidden and which weren't bad but it was like kind of a body list mousse in the bush so I framed this tree and I shot this on negative film eight hundred which is high speed and again in those days eight eight hundred eso I needed this relatively and focus these and focus that focus of course him and focus and but that gave me the f stop of f forty five lots of depth of field but had this frame for more than two hours and we sat there and bright as the sun came through that little sliver of clouds or clearness on the horizon the cows started moving off he started watching them in that wanting to lose his hard won nineteen girlfriends he stood up that we could have you know some people I know wouldn't move him you know you know they would get closer and closer and closer until he would get you know we just not into that just like we let him do his thing you know he's sleeping is resting and you know you play the game like it should be played on so we just let him be but it was at serendipity moment maybe a little bit of karma after being that nice after all those days he stood there bright when there is the cows went off and when the sun came out and then it was this little snow squall on the mountain that just set it off he was breathing on that one second two seconds of course he's breathing but two seconds his breathing you could see on a shot four frames two seconds it was blurry one second was ok so it's one second exposure one half second I'm not positive like four different frames he looked and in about eight seconds he stood there then he moved off that was enough and that became my may be my most famous free rip panoramic one of serve elissa curse didn't I tried the panoramic on things like salmon really wasn't made for but it's kind of on course on families of of grizzlies feeding on blueberries in the tundra I took it to peru with me to photograph green red macaws on a clay lick really difficult there with dark jungle and uh these macaws come in their clay to neutralize the tux is the seeds of the from the fruity stuff but in their very sharp bers were built big blinds and spend about three weeks their photograph me from the cause uh big fields of flowers and northern california the hatch b and then basically the fuji camera they quit selling it they quit making it and then they stopped selling to twenty film which is eight frames in the rolls one twenty four frames ages really minimum so I sort of switched to making digital um stitched panels panoramic so that's what I do today rarely shoot the six seventeen anymore uh for a lot of complications and and this is a like a nineteen year twenty frame vertically stitched um image as is this one canal aids it's it has a lot more obviously uh um light capabilities you much much lower light much later late and this is about twenty four frame in africa in amboseli last year again stitched and um after colorado moved to jackson wyoming where I currently live in this house I rented this hell through eleven years as winner winter sitter and one hundred fifty dollars a month remember and we checked out every summer on the people from philadelphia moved in and then in late august I would move back and then ten years later they I got too old to enjoy it and they sold it to me fortunately and um I uh always wanted to be wilt by water you know growing growing up in the river and being you know sort of water it oriented built this pond in my backyard on had moved come and swan's coming wintertime and course a lot of ducks and geese in herren's and now I don't have to go anywhere so it's worked out really nicely on my days off I said here the benches sort of been kind of a theme I've made bunches of but bench pictures you know when your summer spring fall and then I tried to get I've had eagle standing by it and moves walking by coyotes walking black and dear of course walking but unfortunately to live right on the edge of town park so I have uh lots of animals come to my house and my woodpile it's a little furman also called a short tail weasel in the summertime called herman and winter when they turned white and the german uh love my wood power because a lot of you into ground squirrels kind of hot dogs that would go into my woodpile and hibernate for the winter and the and the german would come around and going to the woodpile like there were popsicles so he would just raid the fridge and I'm a pond and a winner I gotta go thiss redd foxx and twenty miles north and teton park the coyote um on a little spit of land there in the fall color so when I'm home you know I spend probably five of the seven days at home um pretty much except midsummer july august is too busy too many people and most animals gun to the high country but when I'm home this time of year those other months basically drive out of my yard time in the park and a mile in the lesson hundred yards and of course he grizzly bears and waxwings and otters and yellowstone's forty miles so these are your orders sir from yellowstone is are these bison hayden valley one year this this is the druid pack of fools how many many of you probably heard about the druids of troops of the first pack that were reintroduced into yellowstone and this was a pack of fifteen they got up to about twenty four and they were sort of the dominant pack in yellowstone and um one morning my assistant and I were there we've been in for several days trying to photograph holes and we watched the pack on a mission going to a place called round prairies it's in ivory north end of yellowstone park and they were patrolling we could tell they were patrolling their territory we we left them in the dark so we figured they stayed around pray that night we went there in the morning and the they were on their way back to this is kind of mid lamar valley and I saw that they were falling the lamar river and I saw about a mile ahead this girl a grove of cottonwood trees around the the river just between the trees and the shadow there and there's always whore frost had come up from the warm river is twenty five below zero so it all this horror foster him these trees so I told her I said we should go ahead and get you could get those trees in the background foreground whichever it might be but with the rules because their spectacular against the dark background so we raised ahead unlock there's a highway that goes to there in about a mile mount half parts car threw down a tripod put on like three different lands is two to two hundred four hundred and six hundred seven I realize the two to four hundred was just right for that about it maybe two thirty millimeter or something and it didn't make it too wide you couldn't see the wolves they were pretty small they want me to close it would cut out to many of the animals there's maybe aidan this frame but it's actually fifteen so it was a bit of a compromise but realized that the trees against the blue sky and then it shot about it doesn't frames and check the history graham check the exposure things so sure nothing wolves came along and took that picture um unfortunately all those wolves that partner are now dad they died of mange and some other disease couple got shot and uh uh some interspecies conflict so the druids are no longer here so it's kind of a historic picture in that way um no the yellowstone picture um pair of coyotes when we saw them done in lamar river again they were in this log jam and they were just sleeping and that's kind of a nice picture let's just wander down there and it was about crotch deep with the snow and and uh we're shooting and waiting all of a sudden a male stood up and he started howling we heard some coyotes in the distance howling probably their pack members or competitive back maybe so then this female trained in so they were both singing so that gesture of those two coyotes really made the difference between a sleeping dog and a singing dog you know that I was called um one of my early favorite pictures of the nineteen four of us and ellison again and early may about the fifth of may and these two castrol's trying to find a nesting hole in this grove of of aspens and the mail in the bottom will be smaller more colorful and I knew that these had seen the castle's nothing this this grow before there's also a red tail hawk nest there but um this little male spent most of his day I watched every several hours attack the red till you come around attacked another customer trying to find an asked at one point he attacked this castle in midair and grabbed him and they spun like helicopter to the ground below me on the snow and this one was mental ing him mr call it for the wings out on his chest shooting way shooting we had two cameras and changing film and shoot shoot shoot in the in the process of being so excited about this wonderful picture of this red and blue and this this behavior a double exposed two rolls of film so these beautiful pictures of four castro but I did I have one rule that I didn't do that on and they got that image and it would like this because it's sort of that oriental look it was a lot of negative space that's just a white sky in the background snow school coming through you can see the snow in the branches absolutely nothing done with a photo shop wise or any of that but I just love that negative space and that hey joining after all this activity we catch your mouths and chases hard chasing castro and then he mounted her a couple times and went much you know little yon trumper swanson a fire whole river uh coke on the yellowstone river and fall I love going to yellowstone men midwinter's again white out twenty thirty below zero uh it shows a bison how I like to see bison are you tough animals the last survivors and yellowstone they they uh use their massive heads and shoulder hampers their muscles they could move fast amounts of is to three feet of snow they moved this snow still find a grass ernie how many other animals could do that most welcome migrate out dear migrate out and they're some of the most iconic of obviously of western landscape and I would love to know linda barnes is saying how many images of a scene do you take before you settle in just the right one as we've been talking so far you've been talking about spending you know two hours waiting there for that one second like so how many images do you end up taking uh in a scene a lot of people asking it depends some pictures and we'll talk about getting another session the number of frames of matter to me especially now it's digital doesn't really cost you much anything story space um fill me used to count my you know my clicks my frame because film was no time to get a process is money but today if I see something that has potential and again I'll show those some of those images to you um I might shoot thousand frames and I'll throw out I don't throw out any actually but I will store nine hundred ninety nine and I make one print so it depends sometimes it's a very quick thing um like those castles ideas showed you you know I shot four rolls of film two of them were double exposed on the other two or whatever in in this one one frame my hand so that was um um almost two hundred frames and I thought I did it varies sometimes this one from you know that you only have one that one chance and it's very quick but if it's a situation that warrants itself you know that there's a better picture you know a lot of people but I find is a lot of people shoot I got it you never got it okay no really ok I say the bear I got it ok that I got talent but I'd be hard pressed to do better on that one but there's a lot of pictures that have taken does I say never quite got it right and we'll talk about that some more

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.