How I got the shot: Andy Biggs

How I got the shot: Andy Biggs

 How far away were you and what focal length did you use to get this shot of the elephants?

We followed these elephants around for a few hours. This one didn’t take that much time actually. We often track subjects for several hours and try to take the best photos that we can. The great thing about this day was that Mt. Kilimanjaro was visible which isn’t always the case. By the time, I took this shot, I was on foot and fairly close using a 24-70mm.

Speaking of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I’m really intrigued by the amount of detail throughout this image. When you took this photo, how did you expose it to maintain so much detail and dynamic range?

In my photographs, I’m much more sensitive to highlights than shadows. As far as camera settings, I always shoot in manual. After twenty years, it’s sort of become an instinct to be able to shoot in manual and know where I need to be to preserve my highlights.

When you’re tracking animals like this, do you spend a lot of time on foot?

You can rarely be on foot and get a good photograph of an animal. It’s too hard to not be heard or seen for very long so we typically stay in our vehicles and at times get out on foot. The vehicles obscure our shapes from the view of animals so you can get out on foot within a short distance.

So backtracking a bit, you told me you used a 24-70mm lens for this. I’m always hearing about wildlife photographers using 500mm and 800mm lenses, could you tell me a bit more about your lens choice?

Sure. I compose my images with the intent to make large prints out of them. So I like using wider lenses because it allows me to show more of the environment and put the animals into context. Using a wider lens, also allows me to lend a sense of scale to my wildlife photos. With a telephoto or super telephoto lens, you’re just compressing things so much that all you can see is one animal and the environment is kind of lost.

Andy, I think that answers all the questions I have for you today. Thanks so much for sharing these insights.

Thank you. Anytime.


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