I've always been interested in photography, I guess, but it wasn't until about 2012 when I truly became hooked on wildlife photography.
Not only do I enjoy the peace and tranquillity of being out in nature, along with the fresh air, smells and sounds that come hand in hand with it, but I also welcome the challenge of capturing an image of a wild animal in its natural habitat; the total unpredictability of the subject, its surroundings and of course the elements - our wonderful UK weather!
I capture my images using digital format, however I always aim to create the image 'in camera', resulting in only minor tweaks to light and colour in my post production workflow. I'm certainly not a believer in computer 'enhanced' images that change the scene in any way from that of true life.
Being a Nikon user, I first use Nikon's Capture NX2 to make any adjustment, if any, to my chosen RAW format files. I then transfer that file to Adobe Photoshop, where further minor tweaks might be applied if needed, before finally converting the finished image file to a jpeg.
I only use my post production workflow as a way of endeavouring to bring the image back to what I see in true life - nothing more (or less...).
One other thing I do of course is to create a low resolution image to be displayed online, with my copyright embossed into the file.
Along with my Nikon gear, I also use three Sigma lenses (listed below in my 'kit' list), all of which I have to say are superb pieces of glass
My field kit
Nikon D90 body, and grip
Nikon D7100 body, and grip
Nikon D4 body
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 prime macro
Sigma 300mm f/2.8 prime
Sigma 1.4x EX, and 2x EX converters
Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 zoom (The infamous 'Sigmonster')
I have two heavy duty Manfrotto tripods - one with a Manfrotto 327RC2 ball head, and the other with the Manfrotto 393 gimbal head.
I also have a Manfrotto monopod, which is great to use with the Sigma 300mm lens, plus 1.4 converter - especially when in my garden hide!
I tend to never carry flash units out in the field. I always prefer natural light for my photography.
I also certainly don't take out my whole kit - that simply wouldn’t be possible (at least not without the use of a wheelbarrow! Haha) Depending on the target subject that I have in mind I'll selectively take with me what I think I’ll need out in the field; i.e my kit for birds in flight, portraits of larger animals, close up plants, insect or fungi etc…
All that said however, you can almost guarantee that the kit you leave behind would have been invaluable for the situation you are now missing on camera!....sods law I’m afraid :)
One other item that I’ve not yet mentioned is camouflage…
Having the right equipment out in the field goes a long way toward getting the image you have in mind, but since photographing wildlife invariably means sitting silently and waiting ‘unseen’ you’ll want to invest in some good camo gear.
I have my lenses and tripods camouflaged, and unless I’m sat in a hide I’ll always be camouflaged myself. This includes trousers, jackets, tops, t-shirts, gloves, hats and boots – even camo shorts in the summer! haha.
There’s no point in waiting hours on end for the shot, then having the wildlife subject seeing you and bolting just before you get chance to capture the image.
Apart from anything else, having specific camo gear for your outdoor photography means you'll not be messing your day to day clothes up every time you go out in the mud!
Personally I’ve found that 'Jack Pyke' do a good range of both waterproof and breathable gear, that’s also pretty much silent when you wear it. This basically means that the material doesn’t rub against itself and make a noise when you're wearing it, meaning you can reposition slightly without making too much sound and hopefully not being detected by the wildlife
I get most of my gear from Outdoor Photography Gear, in Warrington.
You can check their online shop out using the link below: