We Simplify The Technical!
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Show Notes for Episode 28: Wildlife Photography ft. Daniel Cox
The fact that it’s not getting as cold as it used to get is one of the primary issues. Mother bears go up into the mountains in Svalbard. In the valleys are fjords which are supposed to be frozen, where seals will have cubs and is host to a smorgusborg for polar bears to eat! With no sea ice, there’s no food for the polar bears. They’re in year 2 of a 5-year project. The Norwegian Polar Institute is funded by their government so they have access to amazing equipment. Science is important to help us understand where we’re going as a species, where we’ve been, what mistakes we’ve made and how to not make the same mistakes in the future so we can prosper and live a quality life.

To prevent the cameras from freezing, BJ has developed homemade cameras that are large pelican boxes. They are somewhat insulated and run on batteries. They are a type of surveillance camera that shoots 4k video, and have been adapted to capture motion and monitor activity. They are triggered by movement, and are pointed toward the den (about 350 yards away).

“If you don’t have the business skills and the drive to get out and make things happen so you can make a living out if it, it just won’t happen.”

Daniel worked for a commercial studio, and put himself through college by shooting weddings, although he wanted to do more wildlife stuff.

His heart was in the conservation industry, so he’d go to Washington DC for conservation groups: nature conservancies, National Geographic, the National Wildlife Federation.

He would work on the whitetail deer as his bread and butter, then work on other projects, including natural history stuff. He would submit whitetail deer photos, and started going door to door to try to sell photos.

Pete Czura taught him that the #1 thing you have to do is go see the people you want to work with.

“You can’t be afraid of working hard.”
– Daniel Cox

So many people enjoy doing photography, so with supply and demand, it’s hard. Daniel’s advice to aspiring photographers is that you have to figure out how you’re going do it, come up with unique ideas, and work hard to make it happen.

There are so many little things that happen that without it, who knows what direction you might have gone? Daniel says that to get very successful, there is always some luck involved and there are people that help you. He says that he feels it’s so important to appreciate that and understand that.

To capture a white polar bear on white snow on an overcast day, you have to overexpose 1.7 stops.

Shadows on the snow are great to meter on (such as low evening light) . When spot metering, he would find the brightest part of the snow, open it up 1.7, and it was all perfect. You can see the same thing on the histogram.

He shoots in program mode. He adjusts it based on the histogram.

When shooting underwater, he used either his Panasonic GH4 with housing, or a Panasonic Lumix Underwater Point & Shoot.

Contact Daniel Cox:

See you next week for episode 29!

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