An Interview bird photographer Candace Lee

An Interview bird photographer Candace Lee


How did you get started in photography?

I've been fascinated by nature for a long time and started by simply taking photos of beautiful and unique moments that caught my eye. Over the years, my love of nature has grown along with my passion for birds. I didn't have a professional camera until about 6 years ago and didn't have a real zoom lens until 2020. Once I had a good lens, my fascination with birds really took off as I fell in love with the challenge of photographing them and sharing their beauty with others in hopes that more people stop and appreciated what's right outside their windows.


What was the first camera you ever owned?

The first decent camera I owned was a Canon PowerShot G9. I now have a Sony a6600 and it's been a good camera. I recently treated myself to a Tamron 150-500 f/5-6.7 lens which has been a nice upgrade from my previous Tamron 300mm lens. I'd love a Sony a1 if money was no object, but I think the a7 IV might be a good next step for me. As for the lens, I'd probably go with the Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS, but it's unlikely that I'll own that any time soon.

Candace Lee's kit packed in the Kiboko City Commuter

Where are you currently based?

I'm based in the Seattle WA area and just moved out here from Texas 2 years ago. It's so beautiful out here and perfect for nature photography. I've really enjoyed seeing and photographing so many new birds. I do still travel back to Texas a lot and enjoy all of the birds there as well.


What are some of your favorite places to photograph and why?

 I do have a few favorite spots but also love to explore new ones. There are some wonderful wildlife refuges in the area which are always amazing for a variety of birds. I do have a few local parks as well and tend to enjoy places that have a combination of forest and wetland habitat. I also love taking photos from my balcony which faces a forest. I created a bit of a birding sanctuary on my balcony and spend time out there every day. The variety of birds I get to see is amazing and I always get super excited when a new bird makes an appearance.



What or where inspires you next?

I'm inspired by all of the photographers that travel the world in search of new birds, and I'm hoping to do more of that in the future. I've never done a trip that is solely based around birding but that sounds amazing and really hoping to experience that in the next couple of years. I've seen so many amazing birds already but, with over 10,000 birds in the world, I’ve barely scratched the surface.


What do you look for when creating a photograph? Do you go in any order like "light, subject, composition, action" or is it a different process?

Lighting is very important and a key priority for me. I learned early on to avoid harsh shadows on your subjects as they distract the viewer, so my preference is shooting subjects in early/late day light or in overcast/defused lighting conditions when possible. I would say composition is equally important and I always strive for a photo that evokes emotion and tells a story.



How does photography play into your daily life?

I get outside with my camera every single day. I do have a full-time office job, but I always make time for nature each day it because it really feeds my mind, body, and soul in so many ways. I also typically always have my camera in my car, just in case I see something exciting!



How far do you go to capture a truly unique moment? and what is the craziest thing you've done to capture a photograph?

 I can't recall anything really crazy but this past winter I was very obsessed with seeing and photographing Short-eared Owls for the first time - so I would spend many weekends driving hours to and from the fields where they hunt and would spend most of the day just mesmerized by them and doing my best to photograph them. It was amazing and I can't wait until this next winter to do it again.


Where can we find more of your work?

My website and Instagram are the best places to see my work. My website is and Instagram is @candaceleephotography