Conservation photographer Shawn Carey gives us tips on
documenting the natural world and tells us what we can do
to give back and help protect wild spaces.
Bird Photography for Conservation
with Shawn Carey
- Birder turned photographer.
- Teacher, fundraiser, and Advisory Council member for Mass Audubon.
- Partner in Migration Productions – specializing in documentary photography and video of birds for conservation efforts.
- Snowy Owl Project – Boston
- Puffin Project – Maine
- Kestrel Box Program – Connecticut
- Shorebirds – “Epic Journeys”
- Current project – reintroduction of Common Loons to MA.
- Projects take several years (multiple seasons) to document and are all self-funded.
- Canon 1DX MK II – shoots very good video as well as stills
- Tripod – set up slightly differently for video
Need a large fluid head to pan/move/tilt
Custom “sled” mounts to the head of the tripod to support the camera and lens at 3 points.
Reduces shake as you pan and tilt camera.
- Shotgun Mic with a big windscreen.
Very difficult to get quality audio.
Manmade noises travel long distances and can be heard even in very remote locations. (lawnmower, airplane, traffic, dogs barking, …)
The mic will even pick up the sounds of shutters from other photographers nearby.
- GoPro camera
- Do what you really love doing – don’t force it. If you’re really passionate about it, you’ll do well.
- Be flexible. Opportunities for still shots may not present themselves if birds are in a large group or are in motion. This is the perfect time for video. Seeing the whole scene unfold could make more sense to the viewer than a single shot.
- Try a GoPro. It’s small, can be concealed to blend into the environment, and can be triggered remotely. It can be tricky and does not produce good audio.
How you can help
- Understand what is going on. Wildlife needs space. They’re being squeezed from all sides.
- Support ballot initiatives, land trust organizations, Audubon groups, and state and city government projects.
- Become members of conservation organizations.
- Use charitable marketing strategies to get your name out there. Donate images (just ask for credit). This can lead to jobs and commissions.
Facebook: Shawn Carey