Wildlife Photographers who inspired me
Inspirational Wildlife and Nature Photographers
When I started to write this post about wildlife photographers who inspire me, I quickly realised that I would have to split it into a few parts as there are so many wonderful talents out there – all following their passion while documenting their memories and experiences in this wild genre.
This first post is dedicated to the photographers who inspired me from a very early age. I spent hours as a youngster, pouring over their work and trying to understand how they had taken each picture. Most are still active in photography today and have all taken various journeys within the wildlife photography genre. I regularly check their websites to see what new projects they are working on, constantly drawing inspiration from the magical creatures they photograph and the beautiful places they travel to. All those who are still active have adapted to the digital revolution and continue to deliver a quality of work that is breathtaking.
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants – Isaac Newton
It was probably some of his early iconic wolf photography that first fired up my interest in wildlife photography. To this day, his photograph of the wolf peering through the forest trees (the photograph titled “Brother”) remains one of my all-time favourite wildlife photos and was the first wildlife print I ever purchased. He has since gone on to take excellent travel and landscape photographs to accompany his wildlife work.
Another tremendous influence on my work, I studied and still study the photos that he produces. I think it was his influence that helped to develop my love of tightly cropped and close-up animal portraits. His travel and people galleries are also something special. He has a great website with some fabulous courses that you should look at to improve your photography.
Sadly this master of photography is no longer with us, yet his work remains timeless. The first ever wildlife photography book I bought was his “The Art of Wildlife Photography”, and I still have it many years on. It was a hardcover with incredible photographs, along with great tips for me to pick up at an early age.
Being South African, I probably encountered his work before anyone else. He has comprehensively covered all of Southern Africa’s wildlife and wildlife spots. His website was the first I searched for in the early nineties. Once it had loaded over our ancient modem, I spent hours pouring over his nature photography tips and suggestions
Another giant in his field. I was first and foremost a fan of his photographic art, and in later years, I realised just how good his commercial savvy was. Along with Frans Lanting, he took wildlife photography to the mainstream and laid the blueprint for all of us.
Ok, so not strictly a wildlife or nature photographer, but someone whose life had a significant influence on me. This climber and landscape photographer fired up my lust for the cold, remote and dangerous corners of our planet. Along with some fellow travellers, he and his wife were tragically killed in a plane crash, and we were robbed of more of his remarkable and dramatic wildscapes. He climbed mountains and explored remote wilderness a long time before picking up a camera, and by documenting his adventures gave us an early look at the last wild places on earth. I still page through his ‘The Art of Adventure’ whenever I feel a little housebound.
Art’s book titled ‘The Art of Bird Photography’ taught me more about the technical aspects of wildlife photography than any other publication. He is very generous with the information. He gives on each image on his constantly updated blog, and if you are a self-taught person, it is invaluable. His book also offers a complete list of all the camera’s settings for each photo he discusses. As a self-taught photographer, I can lay much of the knowledge I gained over the years squarely at his feet, and I thank him for that.
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