Wildlife photographers are often driven by concern for endangered species. Their chosen destinations feature fauna that’s exotic yet accessible to intrepid explorers. “The forces of nature combined with extreme adventure are simply irresistible,” says Daisy Gilardini.
(c) Dan Cox/naturalexposures.com
Daniel Cox-- The incredible variety of animals and the access to them has been drawing Cox to regularly shoot in Kenya for some 12 years. “Kenya has fewer restrictions on what the drivers can or can’t do, plus the game guides are very educated. It’s very productive photographically.”
(c) Daisy Gilardini
Daisy Gilardini -- “Polar bears and walruses are fascinating creatures. We need images to show people that if we don’t change our lifestyle, they could soon disappear.”
(c) Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Stock
Paul Nicklen -- “I will always be exploring ecosystems, documenting what is disappearing due to climate change. We are losing a lot more than just ice.”
(c) Joel Sartore/joelsartore.com
Jooel Sartore -- “It’s the wildlife of the Amazon — parrots, jaguars, giant anteaters — but out in the open. If you go in the dry season, when the birds congregate there, it’s really a magical place.”
(c) Susan Middleton
Susan Middleton -- “Much of the wildlife of Midway Atoll has little fear of humans,” says Middleton of shooting on Eastern Island in the atoll, part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
(c) Tom Mangelsen
Tom Mangelsen -- “There are few places in North America where one can see bears, wolves, caribou and moose all in the same day. Plus, the backdrop of the Alaska range contributes to the extraordinary beauty.”
IN THE BAG
Our experts agree: The key equipment for wildlife photography is a great set of lenses.
• In Kenya, Daniel Cox stresses the need for “telephotos! Our workhorse lens is a 200-400mm, but I also use a 600mm f/4.”
• Trekking to the Arctic, Daisy Gilardini packs “16mm fisheye, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 200- 400mm f/4, and 600mm f/4.”
• In Alaska’s Denali National Park, Tom Mangelsen takes “14-24mm, 24-70mm, 70-300mm, 200-400mm, 600mm, and 1.4X and 1.7X teleconverters.”
• Remote locations also call for preparedness. “Bring everything you need with you, since the nearest store is 1,200 miles away,” says Susan Middleton, about shooting at Midway Atoll. “I always pack backup gear — cameras, strobes, batteries, plastic bags and waterproof backpacks. But balance that with severe weight restrictions on the chartered flight. Pack thoughtfully.”