How to Find and Photograph Bears in Yellowstone

How to Find and Photograph Bears in Yellowstone

Yellowstone is one of the most visited parks in the United States, and for good reason. It’s full of unique thermal features and one of the last great destinations for an abundance of wildlife. Even if you come for the geysers and hot springs, you’ll want to stay longer and keep coming back for the wildlife. There’s always a new experience, and you never know what might be waiting around the next corner.

Almost unarguably, the most sought-after species to photograph in Yellowstone are the wild grizzlies and black bears. Conservatively estimated, there are around 150 grizzlies inside the official park boundaries, and 700-1,000 in the whole greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Black bears haven’t been monitored like grizzlies, but they are under study currently. With 466 miles of roads in the park, a person could easily spend a lot of time driving around aimlessly in search of bears. It may seem easy when you see so many bear photos, but some people visit for many years without ever seeing a bear.

This year I kept a record of sightings beginning in April and I’ve encountered 68 grizzly bears and 74 black bears. Some of those are the same bears seen on different days, but there are still dozens of unique bears. If you come at the right time of year and follow my recommendations in this article, with little bit of luck you should find yourself a bear!

When to Visit

Without a doubt, spring in Yellowstone is prime time for bears. Spring in the Yellowstone area and spring in the rest of the country are two different things, so I’ll clarify. The snow starts melting and bears typically start emerging from hibernation in March and April, but hang around their dens for a while before coming down to the valleys. Roughly any time from April 1st through June 30th is going to be the highest likelihood of finding bears, both black and grizzly. The peak of reported sightings is usually right around May 15th. In summer and early fall bears will move to higher elevations and less accessible areas, though they are still around.

Photographers often have the notion that you have to be out before sunrise and after sunset to find any wildlife, but that’s just not true for spring in Yellowstone. Bears are hungry after hibernating for months and some will stay out and visible for 12+ hours a day. They are often found feeding close to the roads where snow melts and grass turns green first. I typically leave with my photography workshop clients from West Yellowstone around sunrise, staying out for 8-12 hours depending on the day.

Black bear with three cubs (behind her), photographed in the middle of the day.

Fall is another great time to see bears, as they’re feeding often to prepare for hibernation. That heavy feeding (up to 20,000 calories per day) requires a lot of hydration, so they can be found traveling near rivers and lakes. After the bison rut in August and September, which naturally causes a lot of bison to die of injuries, you can find bears scavenging on carcasses in an around Lamar and Hayden Valley. In October last year, my workshop group watched a huge grizzly bear feeding on a carcass for hours in the middle of the afternoon, even joined briefly by a lone black wolf. The great thing about the shoulder seasons of April and October is there’s often nobody else around.

In general, you can find bears in the mountains feeding on moths, berries, and whitebark pine nuts, or in the valleys feeding on roots, carrion, and ground squirrels. The area from Hayden Valley and Yellowstone Lake, over Dunraven Pass, and down into Lamar Valley covers the entire range from low to high elevation. Don’t hesitate to take a day searching in areas just outside the official park boundaries as well.

Where to Go

At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone is the second largest national park in the lower 48 states, making navigation a possibly daunting task for a new visitor. Even though pretty much all of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem (20+ million acres) is considered bear country, there are definitely some places that have higher concentrations.

For black bears, the area from Mammoth Hot Springs to the Tower Falls area is the place to go. This year I’ve photographed at least 16 different black bears within a three-mile stretch near Tower, and even closer to Mammoth. For the most part, these bears have a “home” area of a few square miles but will make their way to slightly higher elevations throughout the summer and fall in search of different foods. A “secret” spot I like to look for black bears is on the Blacktail Plateau Drive, a six-mile one-way road that begins between Mammoth and Tower. Although it’s not guaranteed to see bears here, it’s a nice escape from the main highway.

Even though the mid-afternoon light can be harsh, it’s perfectly softened in the shade.

Grizzly bears typically have a larger territory, so they aren’t quite as predictable day to day. As early as February and March, the biggest male grizzly bears start to emerge from their dens. Mothers with cubs will emerge later in April and May. A lot of their diet early in the season consists of winter-killed bison and elk, so they’re going to be concentrated in areas with high populations of those. The area from Old Faithful to Norris to Canyon can be great right when the interior of the park opens in April. Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley are great for grizzlies too, but they tend to be found farther away from the road or on distant mountain ridges.

The valley areas are huge, but it’s still possible to encounter bears that are making their way through and crossing the road. One of my May workshop groups spotted this mother grizzly and her two-year-old cub from pretty far off, but we could see they were heading in the general direction of the road. I chose a pullout down the road and away from the crowd, so we had time to get out and set up tripods alone as the bears approached. After a minute or so of intense photographing I noticed the bears were approaching quicker and heading directly towards us, so we had to get back in the car.

Lamar Valley grizzly and two year old, May 2018

I took this photo from my window, but only because I knew my clients were all getting the same quality images. I don’t worry about getting my own images on a workshop I’m teaching unless my clients insist or they’re happy shooting and I can grab a few quick shots. I spend a lot of time in the field without working, so I can focus on my own photography then. In reality, nobody is asking what’s the best aperture to use when you’re face to face with two huge grizzly bears!

Heat waves can be a factor shooting in the middle of the day, as seen slightly in the photo above. You’ll want to avoid shooting next to a hot car, across the road, or at distances that are just too far. Heat and evaporating moisture from the ground will wreak havoc on image sharpness. I look forward to and prefer to shoot on the cloudy days when possible. Even on freezing winter days, the sun beating down on the snow will cause distortion. Same goes for shooting from inside a warm car when it’s cold outside. Let your lens acclimate to the same temperature from inside to outside when you can.

Shooting While Staying Safe

Most likely someone else has already found a bear before you and there may be a crowd with park rangers present. For photographing bears, this is the best situation. The park rangers work to allow the best experience possible while keeping visitors and bears safe. Although some photographers don’t want to deal with “bear jams” I would NOT recommend hiking in the backcountry for the purpose of finding and photographing bears. Bears found in the backcountry will behave and react very differently from bears hanging out near the road.

You are legally required to remain 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and 25 yards away from everything else (birds included). Currently, the only exception to these rules is photographing from inside your car (parked legally) or in the presence of a park ranger or law enforcement that deems it safe to allow people within 100 yards. As disrespectful visitors continue to illegally approach animals, I imagine soon there may be no way to legally get within 100 yards of a bear.

If you do encounter a bear jam, remember to park legally and completely off the road. Definitely don’t stop in the road and abandon your car like I’ve seen far too often… If you approach and affect any animal’s behavior, even farther than the legal distance, you’re too close. Be respectful to other visitors and don’t make too much noise. Don’t expect to get the best view if others are already there. Wildlife photography should be about photographing animals doing what they do naturally, so don’t do anything in an attempt to make the animal look at your camera. Not only is it illegal in Yellowstone, it’s unethical and disturbs the animal.

Some may wonder if being in close proximity to a bear is healthy for the bear, even if it’s legal. There is a difference between a bear habituated to human presence and one that is conditioned to human food. A habituated bear can utilize great habitat, even if it’s relatively close to civilization and regular traffic. A bear that has obtained food from humans or garbage will regularly come back looking for more. That kind of bear is dangerous and is likely to be relocated or removed. A bear that sees hundreds of visitors per day is not associating them with food, it has just decided over many encounters that humans are not a threat and may keep them safe from larger male bears.

Our group was measured at 103 yards away from these bears. Those at the tree were much closer. Even though these two bears are comfortable around humans, they could quickly turn on someone too close.

For camera gear, I would recommend being prepared with at least 800mm on a full frame camera or 500mm on a crop sensor camera. I use a Canon 5D Mark IV and a 400mm f/2.8L IS with a 2x extender. Some cheaper lens options are the Sigma/Tamron 150-600mm, Canon 100-400mm or Nikon 200-500mm. Many of the photos I share are still cropped, sometimes significantly for social media.

Unless you can’t physically control your lens, I strongly recommend not using a tripod. They take too much time to set up and are cumbersome to move around for a better composition. I prefer shots taken at the same eye level as my subject, and being a tripod restricts the ability to do that. A monopod is a good compromise if you have a heavy lens, but I personally handhold for 99% of my images.

At most bear encounters a ranger is going to dictate the area you’re allowed to stand, so there’s not always a big range of where you can go for different compositions. The closest shots I’ve taken have been fortunate or surprise encounters where a bear heads towards the car (that I’m sitting in). I thought this bear was on the other side of the river still, so I was quite surprised when it walked right outside my window. I only had time to take a few shots before it was gone.

A big male grizzly just on the other side of the road from my car.

You can’t always get full frame headshots, so it’s important to learn how to photograph bears (and all animals) with a wider view of their environment. This three-year-old grizzly cub and her mother were in the woods feeding on a recent elk calf kill. My workshop client and I waited for hours for a short glimpse of the cub coming down to the water for a swim and a drink. Even though it was June and getting quite warm, these two bears were very visible for several weeks.

Three year old grizzly bear subadult cub on the shore of Yellowstone Lake

The best photographic opportunities come with a lot of time spent in the field and a little bit of luck, but you can help improve your odds by being out at the right time and place. If you visit at these times and drive around these areas for a few hours, you’re almost guaranteed to find a bear.


P.S. If you want to photograph Yellowstone’s bears with a knowledgeable local guide and photography instructor, you may be interested in one of my small group workshops. I also offer a free eBook on wildlife photography and a free online workshop.


About the author: Trent Sizemore is a wildlife photographer, instructor, and tour guide living in West Yellowstone, Montana, just outside Yellowstone Natoinal Park. The opinions in this article are solely those of the author. He has been working and teaching photography as art since 2011, and has had his work published internationally both online and in print. You can find more of Sizemore’s work and writing on his website, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.


Source: PetaPixel

How to Find and Photograph Bears in Yellowstone

This Time-Lapse Shows a Massive Dust Storm Sweeping Across Arizona

This Time-Lapse Shows a Massive Dust Storm Sweeping Across Arizona

The 2018 monsoon season has arrived in the American Southwest, and on July 9th, photographer Jesse Watson drove out into the desert to capture some time-lapse stills of an approaching storm. While out, he was met by the largest dust storm he had ever seen.

Watson managed to capture some breathtaking views of the approaching haboob, which he later turned into the beautiful 30-second video above.

“I checked my radar late in the afternoon and saw that storms were blowing up and heading my from Gila Bend,” Watson writes. “My girlfriend was cooking dinner, I ran into the kitchen and said let’s go shoot, there’s a haboob coming our way! So put the food on hold and jumped in my truck. Drove about an hour east of Yuma until we caught up with the massive wall of dust that was racing towards us.

“Once we were upon the haboob, I grabbed my cameras and tripods to roll timelapse until the dust hit us. Then I jumped in my truck and raced ahead of the haboob to repeat the process, leapfrogging all of the way back to Yuma, AZ.”

In all, Watson captured 800 photos and drove 200 miles in the course of shooting the photos seen in the video. You can find more of his work on his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Image credits: Video and photos by Jesse Watson and used with permission


Source: PetaPixel

This Time-Lapse Shows a Massive Dust Storm Sweeping Across Arizona

Nikon 500mm f/5.6 Spotted. It’s TINY!

Nikon 500mm f/5.6 Spotted. It’s TINY!

Nikon announced last month that it’s developing an ultra-portable 500mm f/5.6 PF ED VR lens. Here’s a photo of the actual lens — as you can see, Nikon wasn’t kidding when it said the 500mm lens is “ultra-portable.”

Moscow-based photojournalist Pavel Bednyakov of the newspaper Izvestia was invited to a Nikon party in Moscow yesterday as FIFA World Cup 2018 is coming to a close.

While there, the Nikon representatives showed off the first samples of the company’s new 500mm f/5.6 lens, attached to a D5 DSLR.

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The lens features a Phase Fresnel (PF) element in the design that allows the lens to be both light and compact since fewer lens elements are needed.

“Despite its 500mm focal length, the lens is small and light enough to use hand-held in a wide variety of situations where a photographer must capture unpredictable and fast-moving subjects, including sporting events and wildlife photography,” Nikon said in its announcement last month.

From his short time with the lens, Bednyakov can confirm that Nikon’s claim isn’t misleading.

“It’s really small and looks like 70-200 f/2.8 with a hood,” the photographer tells PetaPixel.

Pricing and availability of the lens have yet to be announced, but given that Nikon is already showing it off to photographers at parties, we’re guessing it’s not too far off now.


Update: Nikon Rumors is hearing that the lens has a length of 24cm (~9.5in) and a price tag of around $4,300. By comparison, the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF and 500mm f/4 (non-PF) measure 14.7cm (5.7in) and 38.5cm (15.15in), respectively, and cost $2,000 and $10,300, respectively.


Image credits: Photograph by Pavel Bednyakov and used with permission


Source: PetaPixel

Nikon 500mm f/5.6 Spotted. It’s TINY!

Emily Ratajkowski’s New Engagement Ring Is Huge

Emily Ratajkowski’s New Engagement Ring Is Huge
Five months after her surprise wedding to producer Sebastian Bear-McClard, Emily Ratajkowski finally revealed her engagement ring. The supermodel showed off the massive sparkler, featuring both pear and square cut diamonds, along with her gold wedding band on Instagram. The first post, featuring her smiling hubby in the background, debuted the ring on her left hand, while she beautified her second picture with a selfie that paired the jewels with a diamond necklace.

Sebastian proposed to Emil…

Keep on reading: Emily Ratajkowski’s New Engagement Ring Is Huge
Source: V Magazine

Emily Ratajkowski’s New Engagement Ring Is Huge

Comparing the Sony a7 III and Canon 5D Mark IV for Astrophotography

Comparing the Sony a7 III and Canon 5D Mark IV for Astrophotography

I’m an avid night sky photographer that cut my teeth capturing the stars using the original Canon 6D. I shot with that camera for years until purchasing the Sony a7S (Mark I) after reading about how it could essentially “see in the dark.”

Using the Sony mirrorless system was a big change coming from Canon and no matter how awesome the images were, I never learned to love it.

After reading countless reviews of the Canon 5D Mark IV that touted its dynamic range and low light performance, I sold the a7S and made the leap into the new Canon flagship camera. I was not disappointed, as the new sensor was absolutely incredible for night sky photos. The resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance was a welcome upgrade from my aging 6D and had a bigger “wow” factor than even the a7S I could deliver. The 5D Mark IV became my go-to camera for astrophotography.

Earlier this year, Sony announced the a7 III and it completely blew people away with the specs, especially given the price. The hype was then amplified when reviewers backed up the spec boost with amazing first-hand reviews. Sony was also well known for dominating in low light performance, so naturally, I was keen on getting my hands on the new camera and put it to the test.

I made a 2-part video series in which I put the more expensive Canon 5D Mark IV up against the cheaper Sony a7 III to see how the two compared when shooting the night sky. I tested the dynamic range, compare images at various ISOs, and tested with some really long exposure shots using a star tracker. The goal of the test was to see which camera could deliver the best results as well as delivering the most value for the dollar spent.

In the first 13-minute video above, I head out into the field and share my first impression of each camera when shooting with them. I used the same lenses on each camera, the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 and the Canon 35mm f/1.4 II. I adapted the Canon glass on the a7 III using the Sigma MC-11.

In the second 40-minute video above, I’m back home pixel peeping and comparing the images to see how the cameras performed and give my final conclusion and recommendation. The video’s sections are: Dynamic Range (2:20), ISO 3200/6400/12800/25600 Review (7:04), Long Exposure 120s/300s Review (17:21), Star Eater (24:11), Post Processed Image (27:51), and Conclusions (32:53).

After spending quite a bit of time with each of these cameras I was surprised with the outcome. If anyone is in the market for a full frame camera to shoot photographs of the stars, I think this comparison would help you decide which way to go.

What camera would I recommend? I would recommend the Sony a7 III.


About the author: Matt Quinn is a dark sky and nature photographer based in the Waterloo Region of Canada. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Source: PetaPixel

Comparing the Sony a7 III and Canon 5D Mark IV for Astrophotography

Hanging Out with the Photographer of Beyonce’s ‘Diamonds’ Album Cover

Hanging Out with the Photographer of Beyonce’s ‘Diamonds’ Album Cover

YouTube star Karen Yeung recently visited photographer Markus Klinko, the international celebrity photographer who, among other things, captured the famous “diamond” portrait of Beyonce for the cover of her album Dangerously in Love. Yeung posed for similar portraits and then chatted with Klinko about the well-known Beyonce photos.

Yeung’s photo shoot was done in Klinko’s Bel Air house studio:

“While I use top end modifiers from Broncolor and Elinchrom, with custom adapters I built, all the lights [in the video] are by Flashpoint/Godox,” Klinko tells PetaPixel. “I use a combination of 600Pro, and H1200 for all of my studio and location setups, and occasional use the Evolv200 as well.”

Here are the resulting portraits Klinko made of Yeung:

And here’s Klinko’s famous album cover of Beyonce for comparison:

The Dangerously in Love album cover. Photo by Markus Klinko.

Klinko tells Yeung that back in 2003, after just finishing up an international campaign promoting diamonds, Beyonce approached Klinko and asked for a diamond-themed portrait for her upcoming album. Her mother, the stylist, had brought a diamond top for Beyonce, but she didn’t want to wear it because they only had skirts available for the bottom half of her outfit.

Klinko though denim would look good with the top, but Beyonce didn’t bring any jeans… so Klinko let her borrow one of his jeans.

So, the jeans you see in his iconic photos of Beyonce show her wearing her photographer’s jeans.


P.S. A Fujifilm-sponsored exhibit of Klinko’s work is currently running in Beverly Hills and will be there through the end of the month.


Source: PetaPixel

Hanging Out with the Photographer of Beyonce’s ‘Diamonds’ Album Cover

Shooting a World First Expedition on the Essequibo River in Guyana

Shooting a World First Expedition on the Essequibo River in Guyana

I removed the Canon C300 from its waterproof bag and attached the 24-105mm f/4.0 lens while swatting away the relentless mosquitoes. Bringing the viewfinder loupe up to my eye, my left hand flicked the power switch on, now a reflex action after shooting with this camera every day for the last three weeks. Nothing happened. Weird, I was certain I’d put in a fully charged battery.

I checked the battery indicator – yep, fully charged. I removed the battery, slid another one in and tried the On switch again. I noticed with a sinking feeling that, once again, nothing was happening. The camera was dead. It had survived one and a half months in the jungle of Guyana but now the daily exposure to the humid environment had proven too much.

Myself and the since deceased C300 Mark III
Ed and Charlie and the C300

I was out here shooting both photos and videos of an exceptional kayak team: Laura Bingham, Ness Knight, Pip Stewart and their guides from the Wai Wai tribe, as they attempted a world-first expedition: kayaking the Essequibo river from the source to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. All three women had completed extraordinary expeditions and challenges before and this trip was no exception. The rainforest was certainly living up to its reputation as a destroyer of equipment, we’d already lost a laptop and an iPhone. Luckily I also had the 5D Mark IV to shoot with, but it was now the only camera left with over a week of shooting still to be done.

How did I find myself here? Well, back in January I’d seen this tweet from Pip:

I responded and after a few emails and Skype calls with the team, it was all organized. Peiman Zekavat, who had worked previously with Pip on her South American Tranzamazonica documentary, would shoot the first section the expedition, a difficult hike through dense jungle to find the source of the river, and I would take over to shoot the kayaking section, down-river to the sea.

We’d actually both stepped in last-minute to replace the original videographer who unfortunately had to abandon the trip because of injury and although Peiman knew what he was doing, I had never before done any shooting in the jungle because most of my clients are involved in mountain sports. But hey, opportunities to shoot adventures like this don’t come along very often, so I jumped at the chance.

I went from shooting in the mountains to being chucked in at the deep end of the Essequibo River. Red Bull athlete Paul Guschlbauer
Pip Stewart tackling white water rapids on the Essequibo

This being my first trip to the jungle, I inevitably did a lot of preparation and research before I left. The images I saw of where we were heading looked like something out of Jurassic Park and, as well as being one of the most inaccessible places on earth, our location for the next couple of months was also full of jaguar, snakes, spiders, giant caiman, electric eels and piranha – I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.

Numerous people told me it was a nightmare to operate camera equipment in this environment, and – as I discovered first-hand – even the toughest electronic equipment can only stand so much water and humidity. As instructed, I packed only minimal equipment: one set of ‘wet clothes’ (to wear on the kayaks), one set of dry clothes (for sleeping in), a sleeping bag, a head torch and a lot of sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

One of the sponsors, NRS, had provided the whole crew with excellent waterproof bags, which would prove crucial for keeping the camera equipment and clothes dry. Luckily, all the camera gear was already out there with Peiman, meaning I didn’t have to carry it to the airport myself!

Equipment packing for the trip (dog not included)

On March 14th I flew from London to Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, with Ed (Laura’s husband) their 9-month-old baby, Ran, and Charlie (Pip’s boyfriend). We met up with Sophia and Anders from Untamed Adventures, experts in adventure travel in Guyana, who handed over all the camera equipment left by Peiman.

There was a lot of gear – a Canon C300, Canon 5D Mark IV, five lenses, two drones and three GoPros, as well as all the cables and spare batteries that come with it. I wondered how on earth I would carry all this gear let alone fit it on the small kayaks?! After a few hours checking all the camera settings, formatting the memory cards, and finally packing everything up, I was good to go.

The next day we took a small, noisy Cessna from Georgetown into the middle of the jungle, getting our first glimpse of the Essequibo river on the way, shining like a silver foil snake in the green jungle below.

First view of the river from above

After some hair-raising low-level flying, we landed on a bumpy grass runway and were met by some people from the village of Apoteri who put us up in a wooden hut for the night (our first experience of the incredible hospitality of the Guyanese people).

The next morning I awoke with an awful stomach, not ideal considering we were about to spend all day traveling on the river. We organized two motorboats to take us and all our equipment upstream and after five or six hours on the boats, we reached King William Falls Lodge. Fay, the owner, was a great host, explaining a lot about the river and the surrounding environment. We stayed in her huts for the night and was I very relieved to at least have a toilet!

Travelling upstream in motorboats to locate the team

Feeling much better the next day, we continued on upstream, searching for Laura, Pip, Ness and their guides. It was slow progress as the river water was at its lowest and we often had to jump out of the boats to drag them across rocks or up small rapids. Here was my first real experience of the guilt that must surely be faced by anyone filming a documentary like this: standing by and filming rather than helping out. Although we joked about it as a team, this was something I faced every day on this expedition and it was a feeling with which I never became entirely comfortable.

Later that day and to our total surprise, we rounded a bend in the river and spotted some illuminated orange and blue shapes in the distance. My initial reaction was that it must be another group of people, which was ridiculous this far into the jungle as there was no one else around. With a lot of screaming and whooping, we realized it was the team and we raced over to them, everyone embracing and high-fiving.

It was great to finally see them all and it was quite a special moment to see Laura reunited with her child. Funnily enough here in the middle of the rainforest was actually my first time meeting all of them face-to-face as everything before this had been over Skype or Whatsapp.

Finally meeting the team and everyone having breakfast together at the side of the river

Now my job really began. For the next five weeks, I traveled with the team on the river, shooting all day and camping in our hammocks in the jungle at night. We saw everything from four-meter-long Caiman that growled at us to dark black scorpions that sometimes liked to hide in our bags.

More than once, our guides had to chase off jaguar that got a bit too close for comfort. The girls faced many challenges, including infections, dehydration, trench foot, stomach bugs and spider bites. I also had my own challenges with the filming and photography. I had to be one step ahead of everyone else, so along with taking care of my own health and organizing all my own equipment, I had to try and get interviews, scenic shots, action shots, drones shots, b-roll, time-lapses, for both photo and video.

There was also the problem of the ever-changing weather, from scorching temperatures to sudden downpours of torrential rain, meaning equipment maintenance was critical. Each evening I would backup everything onto two separate hard drives and use a noisy generator to charge the camera batteries (the generator also broke down, but our multi-talented guides managed to restore it to life).

Photo by Pip Stewart.

There was also the mental challenge, trying to stay motivated for such a long period of time, away from home and out of my comfort zone.

Left to right: Pip, Laura, and Ness
Romel (left) and Anthony (right).
Improvised waterproof housing in one of the daily downpours
Jon and Wai Wai guide, Anthony
Photo by Pip Stewart.
Photo by Charlie Hoare
Photo by Charlie Hoare

However, after about a week, I’d fallen into a schedule and become used to sleeping in a hammock, we were getting great footage and I was loving all the new wildlife I was seeing. The team dynamic was also fun and laid-back, which helped when times got tough, and we learned so much from our guides. The people of Guyana were among the nicest people I’ve ever met and always welcomed us in.

The biggest thing I learned from this trip is to not be afraid to take on new opportunities and challenges. Although it sounded quite scary at first, and at times it certainly was very tough, I’m so happy I pushed myself and took on the challenge.

If I was to give some advice and tips, they would be:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media — I found this opportunity because I saw a Tweet!
  • Showing enthusiasm and motivation can sometimes be more powerful than experience
  • Keep your portfolio up-to-date and show off your best work
  • Always carry a camera cleaning kit, spare batteries and spare memory cards
  • In the jungle, always shake out your shoes in the morning before you put them on…!
Successfully reaching the Atlantic Ocean and completing the expedition From left to right: Romel, Anthony, Laura, Pip, Ness and Fay
Top to bottom: Laura, Ness and Pip before (left) and after (right) the trip.

About the author: Jon Williams is an outdoor and adventure sports photographer based in the Bavarian mountains, Germany. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Williams’ work on his website, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Source: PetaPixel

Shooting a World First Expedition on the Essequibo River in Guyana

#DiversifyTheLens: The Importance of Hiring Women Photographers

#DiversifyTheLens: The Importance of Hiring Women Photographers

The current boom of female-first initiatives is transforming the creative industry, providing opportunities for women to find mentorship, addressing discrepancies in pay, and helping women rally together to drive new policies and practices.

Actions such as the 3 Percent Movement, 50/50 Initiative, and #TimesUpAdvertising have thrust these issues into the spotlight and gained significant attention and traction.

But we can do more.

Women photographers are still grossly underrepresented when it comes time to hire for big advertising campaigns and magazine covers, despite the fact that women account for:

One report indicates that male photographers account for as high as 96% of advertising photographers. With a quick glance at the top photography representation agencies in the U.S., it’s clear that women comprise only about 10% of those agency rosters.

A Call to Action

There is a huge population of highly talented, underutilized female photographers who are ready to put their unique vision to work. It’s time we create policies at both the brand and agency level to ensure they are given the opportunity to do so.

Introducing #DiversifyTheLens.

This movement is a specific request for agencies and other media to include at least one female photographer in each “triple-bid,” or make female (and non-white) options at least 50% of the consideration when selecting image-makers.

Doing so will not only help level the very uneven playing field for women photographers, but it will also benefit business across the board.

Female Photographers Click with Female Consumers

…with the unprecedented rate at which women are amassing wealth and influence, it’s almost insane from a business perspective to misunderstand them.” —3 Percent Movement mission.

Women influence more than 80% of consumer spending, but more than 90% of women feel that advertisers do not understand them. To reach and influence the female consumer, advertising imagery has to portray them authentically, reflecting their motivations and needs.

Female photographers have a unique ability to do this, and not including their perspective, especially in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, is not only a missed opportunity but a massive business (and cultural) failure.

A Cultural Shift

Getting more women photographers working requires effort on the part of both the creative talent themselves and those with the power to hire them. Typically, female photographers are less aggressive in marketing themselves and seeking representation than their male counterparts. This is something I am actively working to change through Trove Artist Management’s programs and my personal consulting practice, helping women learn to stand taller, pursue opportunity and promote themselves more confidently.

In the meantime, I encourage those of you with the hiring power to help facilitate this shift by searching harder to fill more of the gaps in the photo industry, advertising industry and the professional world at large with talented, hardworking women–and pay them what they’re worth.

My hope is that other photographers, creative directors, art buyers and editors will join this movement to ensure that more campaigns truly #DiversifyTheLens. I want to further amplify this message by asking celebrities, fashion designers and influencers to specifically ask for diversity in photography when they are being featured or creating campaigns.

My goal is that we all share this challenge widely so that more female photographers can be recognized and rewarded for their talent, which will benefit us all.

Together, we can make a difference.

Helpful Tools and Resources

To help you find the talent you need and spread the #DiverifyTheLens mission, I’ve compiled the below resources:

Join the Movement

Hiring more female photographers and having their perspective fairly represented will not only benefit photographers but the entire creative industry, the global economy, and women everywhere. To take it a step further, I believe that the creative vision of women in the marketplace will help us understand women, and each other, better and connect us in a way that is sorely lacking and needed today.

If we work together, it can happen.

By sharing this article, spreading the #DiversifyTheLens mission and seeking out more female talent for your own agency or projects, you can help shift the creative culture.

Thank you.


About the author: Amy V. Cooper is a photography consultant, coach, and editor, as well as the founder of Trove Artist Management. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Cooper’s work and connect with her website, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.


Image credits: Header photos by rawpixel and Robin Joshua


Source: PetaPixel

#DiversifyTheLens: The Importance of Hiring Women Photographers

A Breakdown of Gigi Hadid’s V114 Chanel Cover

A Breakdown of Gigi Hadid’s V114 Chanel Cover
V114 cover star, Gigi Hadid, popped into V’s offices in NYC just a few days ago looking amazing in high waisted denim jeans and stunning nude Christian Louboutin pumps. Just a few months, though, she was fitted in Chanel and shooting in Miami.

On the cover, a flawless Gigi, who, by the way, does all of her own water stunts, sports Chanel from head-to-toe. Her halter-neck Coco Beach de Chanel swimsuit showcases the legendary brand’s classic quilted design, while her jewelry also makes a splas…

Keep on reading: A Breakdown of Gigi Hadid’s V114 Chanel Cover
Source: V Magazine

A Breakdown of Gigi Hadid’s V114 Chanel Cover

How Manual Focus and Vintage Lenses Made Me a Better Photographer

How Manual Focus and Vintage Lenses Made Me a Better Photographer

I have been a commercial and wedding photographer for over 13 years. And from the beginning, I have been using Canon DSLR cameras and a variety of auto-focus lenses for the Canon EF system.

Switching to another camera system/brand didn’t cross my mind because I made a substantial investment into lenses for the Canon system — I had gathered over 15 EF and EF-S lenses.

But in 2016, I decided to try a mirrorless camera and bought a Sony a7R II.

Because lens adapters exist that allow me to use my existing Canon glass on a Sony mirrorless camera, I neither planned nor anticipated that I would buy lenses especially for the Sony system. At least, that was the plan.

But little did I know…

Prayer flags photographed with a 50mm f/0.95 lens

Watching a few YouTube tutorials about the Sony a7 system, I discovered that there is an affordable 50mm f/0.95 lens available for Sony mirrorless cameras. I wanted that lens very badly.

Because ever since I saw the magic of what a lens with such a large aperture can do, I wanted such a lens also. And unlike the Leica Noctilux, which costs in excess of $10,000, this lens was quite affordable at just around $800. Not too bad for a lens with an aperture of f/0.95…

So I ordered the Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 lens directly from China.

It’s a 100% manual lens. For the very first time, I was using manual focusing. This was perhaps the most significant turning point in my career as a photographer.

What the MITAKON 50mm f/0.95 is capable of doing in terms of bokeh.

At first, it seemed a rather limiting way of doing photography. I missed quite a few pictures because by the time I had the focus set properly, the situation I wanted to photograph was gone. At first, focusing by hand was a distraction from the actual process of making photographs.

But this did not discourage me. I quickly got used to manual focusing and in the end, this made me become a better photographer and create better photographs.

Why? Because it forced me to compose my photographs differently. Focusing manually made me slow down. Rather than clicking away indiscriminately, I found myself thinking much more about how I approach a photographic situation.

Putting in more thought and preparation when photographing was the best thing that ever happened to me as a photographer.

It’s also an ideal lens for low-light photography.

In a way, focusing by hand has re-wired my photographic brain.

It’s hard to describe. I encourage all photographers who have never focused manually to try it out. Do not give up easily — it requires some practice.

The experiences I had with my first manual focus lens prompted me to buy another 10 manual focusing and vintage lenses since 2016. Some of them have become my absolute favorite tools for creating photographs.

You may think I am “rich” because I could buy that many lenses in such a short time. No, I am not!

You see, another great thing about vintage lenses is that many of them can be had at a very low price. Some for less than $50. Or, to put it into perspective: all my vintage glass combined costs less than one new modern auto-focus lens.

True Vintage glass: made with a Helios 40-2 lens — made in the Soviet Union in the 60ies…

I still use my Canon lenses when documenting weddings, but less and less so. In fact, I recently did my first commercial assignment exclusively using vintage lenses only.

In fact, these very positive experiences with manual focusing and vintage lenses led me to discover “slow photography“ — a (not so) new way of approaching photography and creating better photographs. If you are interested to learn more you may want to join the Slow Photography Movement.

And that is how manual focusing and using vintage lenses has transformed me and my photography. Try it out for yourself!


About the author: Dominik Vanyi is a photographer based in Bali. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Vanyi’s work on his website, Instagram, and Behance. This article was also published here.


Source: PetaPixel

How Manual Focus and Vintage Lenses Made Me a Better Photographer