Having spent 36 years as a Professional Photographer, I’ve experienced a lot. In my early years doing wedding and portrait photography, I got to understand the pressure that came from this type of work. An opportunity soon arose in the world of international sport, which led to a 20year career, using mainly long telephoto lenses which I have enjoyed immensely. Getting to travel every weekend and along the way seeing a multitude of new environments, allowed me to shoot landscapes using wider angle lenses, which offered me a nice balance between telephoto and wide glass. When I decided to opt out of the sports world, I was very keen to pursue wildlife and nature photography. Having become proficient with telephoto lenses, I soon became a huge fan of birds and particularly the magnificent birds of prey.
This shot of the Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle is one of my favourite images so far. Taken on a Canon 7D using the Canon 300mm f2.8 L – iso640 f4.5 1/2500th. This is one of the largest eagle species in the world with a wing span of up to 2.7 metres. These birds also have a form of thermal vision, which helps them to find warm up draughts to ride high in the sky. It also gives them a great ability to see humans from a distance. Getting this close took me 2 years in the pursuit. I prefer to use Aperture priority when shooting wildlife. This means I am controlling the depth of field as the camera takes care of exposure. Of course we want a high shutter speed mostly, so we do need to be aware of what our shutter is doing.
Along the way, we came across wonderful landscapes and I always feel very fortunate to find these wonderful locations.
This is Trentham Falls in Victoria, Australia. These falls are 32 metres high and when flowing well such as in this shot, it is quite something to observe. I love being out with nature whether it’s wildlife or in landscapes like this. There is something about it that is just great for the soul. The peace and tranquillity is something to behold. It’s me, my camera and nature on a personal level. No pressure, no time constraints or demands. It’s gives a Photographer a chance to really analyse a situation and make the best decisions about how to capture what is in front of you. Of course with landscapes, revisiting them and seeing them in different lighting situations is the best way to capture something spectacular. Wildlife, however, has an element of luck to it in that with birds for instance, the bird can take off away from you sometimes and other times it will fly off to the left or right which allows a great profile shot and occasionally towards you which for me is the ultimate opportunity to get an image that the viewer will relate more intimately too.
The profile shot does offer a great amount of detail as you can see here in this shot of the Brown Falcon.
When I go out into nature I like to take a full range of lenses with me. My range covers from 16mm through to 400mm. So I was thrilled to find that the new Manfrotto Pro light camera Backpack 3N1-35PL is able to carry them all plus 2 camera bodies with battery packs and the extras I like to take with me such as spare batteries, ND and Polarising filters, remote control etc. The bag is very light and comfortable to wear.
The straps can be configured as one single strap, which then allows you to access your camera with lens attached, by sliding the bag to be in front of you, to open the side access pocket. It impressed me that this bag also allowed me to carry two camera bodies with battery packs attached.
The top opening pocket can hold either my 100-400mm Tele lens or my 2nd camera body with battery pack and lens attached. I found this top pocket super handy. If I am trekking a long way I will sometimes have all my gear in the bag so I can focus on making some distance.
So I can either swing the bag to the front to grab a camera or if I have stopped for a rest the, top pocket makes access to my 2nd camera quick and easy. I’ll often have a mid range wide zoom on one camera and a tele on the other so I have immediate access to either with this bag.
In typical Italian style, Manfrotto has also made this a very smart looking bag incorporating great practicality. The back is not only well padded but has been designed with style right down to the small features such as the zip clasps which are fantastic if you find yourself in a hurry to open the bag. The smart Red/Black colour scheme and clever fastenings and clasps give this bag some finesse. Even the internal extra padded spacers inside the bag are just superb for protecting lenses and camera from the everyday knocks and bumps that our bags take. Even the size of the external pockets seem to allow little extras to find their own place that is perfectly designed. Definitely a winner.
Before I go I’d like to share the last two photos I have to show you.
This is MacKenzie Falls in the Grampians region near where I live in Australia. I take photo tours to this area on a regular basis. Because I visit here quite often I make a decision before going, how I am going to shoot it this time out so that I am doing something different every time. On this day I had decided to focus on Black and White images that were close-ups of smaller parts of these falls. As photographers, it is up to us to decide how much light we let our cameras see. We’re not only capturing what is in front of us, we are creating our own interpretation of the way we want to show what is in front of us. This time, I had decided I wanted to create some dark and mystical images that have a mesmerising peaceful aspect. I was very happy with the results. This was shot on the Canon 24-105mm L at iso50 f16 1.6 seconds with a variable Neutral Density filter at 8 stops. Processing in Photoshop.
Of course if we are out until the sun goes down then we also get the opportunity to capture sunset from some beautiful locations as is shown here, which happened as I was getting back to my vehicle. The perfect end, to a wonderful day with nature.
It’s always great to have water and reflections when the sun is going down and if the day is still, then even better.