Today I am excited to announce that my new fine art photography book ‘Never Cry Wolf‘ is now back from the printers and will very shortly be shipping out to all those who placed pre-orders – thank you. Never Cry Wolf is available for order through my online store HERE with first shipments now heading out to their owners. The book includes a selection of photographs of wild wolves photographed during the last weeks of Autumn, on the cusp of the seasonal transition to Winter. The collection includes more than forty photographs of a young wolf pack coming of age as it learns to survive in the dynamic and rapidly changing Arctic wilderness on the border between Finland and Russia. A video preview of the book can be watched below.
Designed and printed in Australia on the finest archival art matt paper the first 100 pre-order copies only include a limited edition A4 fine art print of one of the Wolf photographs. Printed on Moab Somerset Museum Rag 300gsm, the fine art pigment on paper print is the perfect accompaniment to the book. Never Cry Wolf is available for Pre-Order now for $90 AUD inc. GST (approx. $65 USD) plus postage. I hope that you enjoy the photographs and quotes from this project Never Cry Wolf.
Yesterday evening I presented my one-hour webinar with BenQ on How to take Better Wildlife Photographs. The webinar had a huge (in fact a BenQ record) number of registrations and a great number of participants (despite the time differences). The one hour just flew past and although I tried to squeeze in as much as I could there were still many topics, tips and stories I just did not get time to cover.
I do want to thank all of you who participated and who took the time to fill in the survey at the end of the webinar. The comments received were 100% positive, constructive and really helpful in the planning of future events. There will be further webinars coming courtesy of BenQ covering more aspects of both Wildlife and Landscape photography and I will post the timing for them as soon as possible. The webinar from last night is currently being uploaded to BenQ’s You Tube channel for those of you who missed it or could not attend because of the time differences. I will post the link a the bottom of this post as soon as it is live.
Very insightful. Was great and be great to have another webinar!
Yes, but needs another on what Josh didn’t get to.
Yes. Very informative
That was great, thank you. Joshua explains his process so well and I love my BenQ monitor
Yes. It was very insightful about the use of new cameras and old cameras and the use of lenses. Also, about the research required , preparation of the shot and the use of backlight,etc.
Thank you very informative, fabulous wildlife photography thanks so much for the wonderful presentation
Yes, Joshua was a great presenter and the content was very interesting.
Very insightful, loved it
Yes, great information!
It was fantastic. Alot covered in a short time. Well worth it.
Yes great information
Yeah it was lovely to hear Joshua’s thoughts and more ideas on how to capture a great image 🙂
yes. I learnt a great deal, thank you
Yes. so much common sense that applied to my budget, equipment, and ability, as well as to high flyers.
I like the practical photography tips that were given
Yes. Some great tips on wildlife photography
Yes ….excellent information
great webinar, Josh’s passion really shone throughout the webinar
What I managed to see at the end, mostly the Q and A section was valuable. I failed to pick up that it was 6.30 pm Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra and then make the necessary adjustment. I’m looking forward to seeing the recording.
Yes, great background on techniques and app,ication.
Yes, I didnt know much about photography before this
yes – fantastic
Brilliant. It has inspired me to reconnect with my photography that has been in the background for a while.
Yes, I liked the stories of “out in the field”, that was useful. I’d like to see what wasn’t mentioned in the time frame given, and perhaps offered links to them.
Yes, loved the content. Very informative and useful.
Yes, I found it extremely valuable and I was able to gather a lot of insight
This was a most helpful webinar by a very competent speaker. Most enjoyable
Yes, very helpful and lots of useful information to digest. Please have Joshua Holko back for another session.
Yes. Getting down to the eye level of the animal.
Yes wonderful in sight on wildlife photography.
Yes, lots of tips which related directly to the images
Yes, there was alot of information to take away from this webinar. The speaker is very insightful and knowledgeable in his field. Every photographer uses different techniques and its interesting to hear about their journey and tools of trade.
Great content, definitely useful.
Yes. Really enjoyed the presentation. Great Q+A
I once watched Joshua Holko’s presentation before and waited for this opportunity. It was fantastic and he covered wide variety of things in such a short time. I certainly learnt a lot and got inspired. Thanks a lot.
there were lots of off the cuff comments, that resonated, and either consolidated what i already knew, or gave new ideas and prospective. Thanks Joshua the info on monitors was also very helpful as i am in the process of deciding about one
Yes, brilliantly presented and informative.
I am an experienced – expert wildlife photographer. I picked up a few pointers but the webinar was still very useful to me as it confirms that I am not doing too much wrong. It covered many of the things that I share with my safari clients and at presentations.
Excellent. Ran out of time, so another session would be great.
Yes. Practical and useful information. Longer would have been good but presenter was very thorough.
Re confirmed some of my rules, plus learnt lots more.
Yes. Josh is clearly a subject matter expert and comes across really well
Yes and interesting to hear how Joshua takes his photos and that he does not rely on post production which I really believe in, if you take a great shot then there should be minimal post production. It sounds like Joshua doesnt really use a tripod?
Yes! I really enjoyed Joshua’s willingness to provide answers to questions and be candid about his approach.
Tomorrow I will be presenting a one hour online webinar on behalf of BenQ monitors on how to shoot the best wildlife photographs. The webinar is completely FREE and will include topics such as how to photograph Wildlife, best practice, the importance of colour calibration and even a little information on soft proofing for print. There will also be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. The webinar will run February 17th 6:30pm Melbourne Australia time.
Join us with Joshua Holko on this live webinar where he shares his knowledge and experience on how to shoot the best wildlife photography, soft proofing for print, why calibration and colour accuracy matters, there’s also a chance for you to ask him any questions you may have at the end! Looking forward to everyone’s attendance!
A significant revelation in wildlife photography came to me back in the film days when I was shooting 35mm transparency (Fujifilm Velvia and Provia). I was photographing Australian wildlife in a Nature reserve in Healesville, Victoria for the second time in consecutive weeks. My first outing to the park had yielded just a handful of mediocre photographs that I was mostly very dissatisfied with. Many of my exposures were off, the lighting was harsh and the animals were just too stagnant in the frame. Importantly the images that were well exposed were cluttered and busy and not at all like I had envisaged. Of course, in my minds eye, every photograph as I clicked the shutter was going to be perfect. Well exposed, with a beautiful soft, clean background that leant itself to the sort of thing I was used to seeing grace the cover of many photography magazines. And then, as I was taking a much needed coffee break, I had a revelation. In fact, I had several revelations.
The first of these was that I realised the subject (animal) needed to be doing something interesting in the frame. A stagnant shot of a Koala just sitting in a tree was frankly, utterly banal. It is as boring as a Polar Bear standing still on the ice. It did not matter what focal length was used and it didn’t matter where the animal was positioned in the frame or how perfect the exposure and composition were. What mattered was that the animal was doing something that peaked the viewers interest. Many years later this became what I now describe as the three ‘F’s of wildlife photography. Make sure the animal is Feeding, Fighting or Fornicating.
The second revelation was understanding the importance of depth of field in relation to the subject. Typically, I was shooting with the lens significantly stopped down to ensure adequate depth of field. I was massively over shooting my numbers though and whilst I was guaranteeing myself of a sharp subject, I was also guaranteeing everything else in the background was pin sharp and failing to give myself any chance of isolating my subject from its background. Hence, many of my images were of subjects against highly cluttered busy backgrounds. These days, I tend to do the exact opposite and shoot my lenses either at their widest aperture, or very close to it. I also spend a lot of time actually choosing the background I am going to shoot against.
Both of these might seem quite obvious to the seasoned wildlife photographer (and both are second nature to me these days), but both remain areas I see a great many people making the same mistakes. Usually, in the excitement of the moment when the wildlife is located many photographers simply forget to consider these critical elements whey they are composing and preparing to press the shutter. In their eagerness to make sure they don’t miss a shot they end missing any chance of actually capturing a decent photograph.
My final revelation and the one I want to place the most emphasis on in this article was understanding the importance of background in relation to the subject. On many occasions just stepping a foot or two to one side of the initially chosen location will yield a far better photograph. In fact, these days I will often choose my background first and then wait for the wildlife to come into the frame. In the final result the background is as important as the subject. Without a suitable background the subject will become lost in the frame.
There are a lot of elements that need to come together to capture a great wildlife photograph. You need an evocative subject. To boot, the subject needs to be doing something interesting in good light. You also need to be in the right position to ensure the background is ideal and you need to ensure you are as close as possible to eye level with the subject. You have to put all that together in a cohesive manner to capture the critter in the context of its environment in such a way that you convey a sense of place in which the animal lives. Then on top of all that you need to ensure you have the technical aspects set appropriately. You need the ideal f-stop for the perfect depth of field in combination with an appropriate shutter speed. Of course, the ISO can be used as a third variable to help achieve both these numbers, but these decisions all need to happen in a split second before the action is missed. And they need to happen through muscle memory. The moment you have to switch your brain from being an artist to being a technician the moment is lost. Im short, there is a lot of artistic and technical elements that need to come together to ensure a fantastic photograph results.
Once the RAW photograph has been successfully captured and you are back in the studio then the final phase of a successful wildlife photograph begins – the post production. In general, if its a great wildlife photograph (capture) then generally there is very little required in the way of post production. A small tweak to exposure, white and black point, a correction to white balance and some capture sharpening are usually all that is required if the original capture was optimal. What counts in the post production is a colour critical monitor so that you can actually gauge the colours on screen. To this end, I am using a BenQ Sw321C 4k monitor in my studio that has been correctly calibrated. The monitor provides a huge Adobe RGB colour gamut and ensures the colour I am seeing on screen accurately reflect the colours captured in the original file.
One of the biggest mistakes I see from photographers once they are back in the studio occurs during the post production of their files and is almost always the result of working on a non calibrated display with a poor colour gamut. Irrespective of the brand of monitor you are using, you must calibrate the display to a known standard if you want to have any chance of setting the white balance accurately. Calibration is easy, and only takes a few moments, but is mission critical to the final result. The quality of the display does make a difference and is as important as the choice of camera and lens.