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Travel Photography

Lesson 30 of 32


John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

30. Wildlife


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1 Class Introduction Duration:11:45
5 Travel Gear Duration:19:13
6 Health, Safety & Security Duration:11:09
7 Gear: General Advice Duration:06:20
8 Gear: Cameras Duration:15:56
9 Gear: Lenses Duration:12:48
10 Gear: Tripods Duration:15:44
11 Gear: Filters Duration:04:08
12 Gear: Camera Accessories Duration:13:33
13 Gear: Final Thoughts Duration:03:55
14 Camera Checks Duration:04:20
15 Technique: Camera Settings Duration:13:30
16 Advanced Techniques Duration:13:00
17 Workflow & Composition Ideas Duration:07:42
18 Scouting Duration:17:33
20 Locations: Opera House & Dumbo Duration:05:12
22 Details: Buildings Duration:05:15
23 Details: Pattern Duration:14:51
25 People: Street & Candid Duration:08:46
28 People: Environmental Portrait Duration:15:37
30 Wildlife Duration:08:44
31 Events Duration:08:19
32 End of the Road Duration:09:35

Lesson Info


Well someday, I think I might have an entire class on wildlife photography. That'd be great to have. For now, let's just do a little section on wildlife because that's something that a lot of people are interested in, in the different places that they go, because there's a lot of interesting wildlife around the world. Now, the type of camera equipment that you're gonna need for this is gonna depend on where you are going, what you expect to see, what you want to photograph, and what sort of access that you're gonna have to these animals. Because big elephants, they're a little bit easier to photograph than tiny, little birds. And so, it depends on where you are going. So, I've broken this up into three categories, and first one is talking about going on safari. And that's a great place to go, it's kinda that classic photo trip. I'm hoping to do another safari tour in 2020. I don't have everything scheduled for it right now, but you can check my website 'cause I'm hoping to go back to T...

anzania and Kenya 'cause it's just some of the most beautiful, amazing things you can ever do as a photographer, is going out to see this. So, first up, take the effort. Get out there early when that light is good, that's when the animals are often very active. Be ready to shoot at almost any time. Have that camera at arms-reach. Generally, don't pack your gear up, unless you are back at camp. It helps when everybody in the vehicle is looking. Do you see the animal in the photograph? Let's see if this will help you out here. There's a serval cat over there, and you wanna be picking up on these things because if they come running out, you wanna be prepared, you wanna be ahead of the game and spotting them. If you can approach from downwind, you'll often be able to get a little bit closer 'cause they can't smell how bad we smell as humans. If you see a bunch of animals moving in a particular direction, you can move the vehicle around in the path that they're coming, so that way, you can see them and they can choose to come close to you or not come close to you. We have our focusing points in the center of the frame, but it's good to move that off the center frame, it's good for a lot of different types of photography. Trying to get those clean backgrounds can be really hard. This is where longer lenses, those faster lenses that can blur the background can help out quite a bit. Getting up early will often get you into this good light, but shoot in light as late as you can. I'm not quite the last person they kick out of the park, but I'm right there at the end of the day. The silent mode on your camera is good, as well as just being quiet in the vehicle, not making a lot of ruckus. Don't drop that lens on the metal floor. We don't wanna make those sorts of noises. And my final tip here is to shoot better. That's it, folks, get out there and shoot better. What I mean by that is, everyday, you're gonna have new opportunities, and they're gonna slowly get better and better as you've, you got your first shot of the animal. Okay, now you wanna get a close-up shot. Now, you wanna get one with good light. These are all the parts that make a good photograph, and so now, you're gonna add in clean background. Let's get animals that are active, not just stationary and standing there. Let's have two animals, not just one animal. Let's have a group of animals. Let's have some interaction. And so, each of these elements kind of adds to the interest level of the photograph, and once you've got a bunch of elephants that are a half-mile away, you don't need any more of those. You're looking for better and better opportunities so that your photos are getting better on each day of your safari. So, here we go, your top 10 safari tips. Okay, so one of my favorite shots here is the cub line-up. We had ran across a couple of moms with a bunch of kids that were out there, and these kids were roaming around, and there was some fun shots 'cause there's a lot of kid shots. This is one of my favorite here. And mom was getting a little concerned because there was some African buffalo coming nearby, so she was kinda shuttling all the kids to a new location. She's on lookout, Junior's there grabbing her tail down there, the buffalo are coming around, and they are all very interested in these buffalo, and they're all up on this little knoll, standing there. And they're all lined up, there was one more off to the left that I wanted to get in a shot as well, so I decided to do a two-shot photo here so that I could take two of these images, stitch them together, and get one nice panorama of all of these. And so, this is one of those rare times where I'll put two of them together into a stitched panorama because they were so stationary at this very moment. And so, some of you like to see statistics, and so I'll throw that in here for a couple of images. Okay, so I had been out photographing for a few days, and I realized that my photographs were starting to take on a very common look. Filled the frame, blurred the background, and I'm thinking, "Boy, I need to really show "a wider-angle shot to show the environment." So, I was waiting for a situation where we could stop the vehicle right next to some zebras, and they were right out the window. And they were just sitting there, did not care two hoots about us. And so, I thought that might make for some interesting framing elements. And so, I was just kinda waiting there, waiting for the zebras to move around and, you know, kinda liked it, didn't really like the way it was cut off and a little too close to the mane there, too tight in, maybe a little too much on the top end, and right here is the one that I ended up liking. And so, just waiting for that unique opportunity where we could stop the vehicle right next to the animals. And so, take advantage of those unique opportunities if they're different than the normal situation. Talk real quickly about birds. I'm not a professional bird photographer, but I do like shooting birds 'cause I think they're pretty interesting creatures. And so, I got 12 tips on shooting birds, and that is, is to do it right, you really gotta get close to them. And so, you have to find situations where they tolerate your presence relatively close. It's very hard to do this without a pretty long lens. We're talking 400, 500, 600-millimeter lenses to do this. And if you can ever get the chance to photograph a big bird really close, then you can get it in super, super close, which is really nice. It's nice to have clean backgrounds, we've talked about this many times before. You can do this by blurring the background with a shallow depth of field. Anytime an animal is active, feeding, that's a great time, this is a kingfisher. It swallowed that fish in one gulp. Unbelievable. Anytime you can get a little bit of gesture, of movement, rather than a bird just standing there, that's a good element to have. Interacting with other birds, that's going to help. And of course, I've talked about water before, adding those reflections. Getting birds in flight is like many different types of action photography we talked about, and so, if you can do that under right light, that's a great thing to do. You don't always have to be up super close, you can show the environment that the bird is in. And that's another good way of doing it. And sometimes, you could be stalking it, "Oh, this is so hard to shoot, "I don't have a clear view of the animal," but manual focusing, a little different take on the scene, and it turns a bad situation into a good one. So, those are my 12 bird tips for you. Sometimes, you'll be going to zoos, they can be very popular places to go. There are gonna be different types of shots than your standard wild animal shots, and so, I loved it in Sydney where you could see the Sydney Opera House right behind. This required waiting around for one of the giraffes to get just to the right place and glance at me in just the right way. So, that took a little bit of patience. Trying to get as clean of backgrounds as you can because zoos sometimes have cluttered backgrounds. They have, obviously, a lot of fences. I wasn't able to blur it out enough on the left, the background was too close. Much better here on the right side where I'm able to really blur that out. This is an opportunity to get super close up. These animals are very acclimatized for people very, very close. Figure out when the feeding times are. That's gonna be an interesting time, there's a lot of activity going on. Getting that eye contact brings you a closer connection with that subject. Sometimes, you wanna show the exhibit space a little bit, to give a sense of where you are. What is the gesture of what's going on? And so, follow those gestures. And of course, what draws a lot of people to zoos are babies. And so, any time you have those, that's always a good element. And every once in a while, you can include people in your photographs as well, to show that relationship between the people and the animals.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

user 1399347749726793

John is fabulous ... and so inspiring! I can travel the world and live vicariously through him! I've watched John for years and always find that he teaches me something new every time! Thanks John and CreativeLive for another awesome class!