I’m living proof you don’t have to be a good photographer to get good outdoors photography. I don’t know a fraction of the camera knowledge The Eagle’s crew of full-time shooters has.
But I manage to make it to some pretty neat places and that helps.
Mike Blair, well-known photographer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, has frequently told people the reason he gets such award-winning nature photography is because of his skills as an outdoorsman. He was a hunter first, he says, and then a photographer. His first skill greatly helps the second.
Being born and raised hunters and all-around nature lovers has helped plenty of other outdoors photographers, too.
About five years ago, a late-October dawned especially damp and foggy. A few decades of driving back roads had shown young pheasants often try to get out of the cold, wet grass by resting in roads or sitting on tree limbs, hay bales or even old wooden structures.
I took a roundabout route going on an interview and started seeing lots of pheasants in the road. Eventually I spotted 27 pheasants sitting atop a row of big hay bales. I parked my truck and crouched, then crawled, up the road to get close.
A northern harrier swept down about the time I arose to take some photos, causing many of the birds to flush. Still, “Pheasants in the Mist” turned out pretty well.
By the way, the photo was shot with an old film camera, moderate telephoto lens and 400 ASA speed film while I was still pre-digital.
Location, location, location…