Interviews with 10 top wildlife photographers


Need some inspiration? Read our 10 questions for 10 wildlife photographers who describe in detail how they work and get that perfect shot.

1 - Please introduce yourself, where are you based and where do you photograph wildlife?

My name is Billy Dodson, I currently reside in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the United States. I photograph in Africa exclusively for now, but eventually I hope to do more wildlife and bird photography in my own country.

Marcus Westberg - I’m a Swedish photographer, and now based in Sweden for the first time in 25 years. I spend a lot of my time in Africa, although not exclusively, photographing (and writing) conservation, travel and human-interest stories. This fall will take me to Zambia, China and Uganda.

Todd Gustafson of Gustafson Photo Safari and To the Ends of the Earth LLC. I am located in Chicago, USA and use that as my base to travel to Tanzania, Rwanda, Namibia, Botswana, India, Egypt, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, and Europe.

Pete Oxford, a British biologist and professional photographer specialising in conservation and indigenous cultures. I have recently relocated to South Africa after living 32 years in Ecuador, South America. I photograph on all continents.

My name is Elliott Neep and I’m based in the UK, living in South Oxfordshire. I’ve worked as professional wildlife photographer for over 13 years with key portfolios from East Africa, India, the British Isles, the High-Arctic and Antarctica. I also work as tour leader and photographic guide, leading groups to Africa, India, and the Polar Regions.

Tom Way - I'm a professional wildlife photographer based in the UK spending the majority of time photographing Africa’s large mammals.

My name is Peter Delaney, I am based in George, South Africa. I photograph wildlife in Africa.

My name is Cameron Anderson Raffan, I was born and grew up in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Currently I am in Sri Lanka, but not permanently based here, slightly nomadic for the time being. I have photographed wildlife all over southern Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, Central America and North America and Sri Lanka. 

Roger Hooper, Roger Hooper Photography. I photograph wildlife worldwide but have a special love of Africa and Kenya in particular.

My name is Keith Connelly and I am a guide and wildlife photographer based in Kampala, Uganda. I am fortunate to be able to photograph wildlife all over Sub-Saharan Africa.

2 - How did you start your career as a wildlife photographer?

Billy Dodson

I became a photographer after visiting Africa on a mountain climbing trip several years ago. I started taking photos as an excuse to return to Kenya and Tanzania. I eventually became totally enamoured with photography and then further evolved into a conservationist. That’s my primary focus now.

Marcus Westberg

Almost by accident! I bought quite a lot of photography gear ahead of a 10-month research stint in the Masai Mara back in 2011 (I have a degree in environmental management). I reached out to a few conservation organisations, offering to help them out, and a few months later National Geographic got in touch and asked if I’d mind blogging for them. They didn’t pay, of course, but it opened a lot of doors for me, and I spent the next year driving around southern and central Africa, building up my portfolio.

Todd Gustafson

My Dad was a biologist/zoologist teacher and headmaster in Tanzania. He took us on a couple of wildlife safaris. He was quite good with a camera and gave me my love of photography.

Pete Oxford

By accident really. I had come back from a trip to the Russian Far East, up in the Chuckchi Sea with a collection of images of Polar bears and indigenous peoples. I offered them to a local South African magazine where they were snapped up and used in large spreads. I thought ‘This is easy’ and got into it full time. It was never that easy again!

Elliot Neep

In a word, serendipity. I was recovering from both redundancy and an illness. As part of my recuperation, I took long walks in the local woods with my dog and my camera. My previous employment was as a website and intranet designer, so I had the skills to put my images online and, most importantly, be found. A small agent picked up my images and offered me representation. More agency contracts followed, along with awards, and regular features in leading photography magazines and BBC Wildlife magazine, as well as the National Press.

Tom Way

After finishing a sports degree at university I spent time travelling. Realising I had a strong passion for wildlife and travel, I started a career as a wildlife photographer on my return by establishing my own business.

Peter Delaney

I quit my job in finance after 14 years and spent a year of over-landing across Africa. I then decided to stay and make a living as a photographer.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

I first picked up a camera in order to photograph birds for better identification when I moved into the safari industry in Botswana. I quickly realised that I had chosen a rather difficult subject for photography but through much practice (and failure) I managed to hone my photographic skill. I learned along the way that photography was a very interesting art form that I quite enjoyed in itself.

Roger Hooper

About 20 years ago after visiting Namibia to photograph the famous Sossusvlei sand dunes, I tagged on a safari to Etosha to see the wildlife. I enjoyed the experience so much that from then on, I concentrated on photographing wildlife.

Keith Connelly

I started my career as a professional safari guide in the private reserves of South Africa.

3 - What is your most memorable sighting?

Billy Dodson

I was sitting in a chair at Mana Pools in Zimbabwe late in the afternoon in October of 2017 when a bull elephant circled the perimeter of my camp for several minutes and then stopped about 50 meters away, staring directly at me. He eventually walked straight toward me, completely resolute and confident but showing no signs of aggression whatsoever. He stopped with his feet almost touching mine and parked directly over me for several minutes, searching around my boots for the bits of fruit that had fallen from the tree in the center of our camp. Had I been sufficiently moronic I could easily have reached up and tugged on his tusk, which was just above my head. That temptation was easily resisted, however. He finally eased away but visited several more times during the course of my stay, never again as close as on that first afternoon. I didn’t have a camera close by at the time of the incident, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll never forget it as long as I live and when my mind is vacant – which is quite often – I can close my eyes and still see that big fellow’s trunk at work around my feet and the deep wrinkles on his forelegs. It was the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had in the field.

Marcus Westberg

Wow, that’s a tough one. Encounters can be special in so many different ways. I’m not much for hunts and kills, but one of my first ever sightings in Africa was of a group of lionesses on a zebra kill a few meters from the shore in the Mara river, surrounded by crocodiles and hippos. That was pretty tense. But in the end, it’s impossible to beat great ape encounters: the connection is unlike that with any other animals. I’ve had young gorillas try to open my camera bag a few times, and a juvenile tried to steal my tripod once. But the most memorable encounter? I got peed on by the world’s largest habituated primate, Chimanuka (a silverback Grauer’s gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DR Congo) - the whole family was up in a fig tree, and I decided to try to get some original shots by positioning myself just underneath them. Very smart move.

Todd Gustafson

Either a family of three leopards lounging on the same branch of a massive fig tree with the Serengeti as a golden backdrop or a handsome male ocelot hunting along an idyllic sand beach on a remote Brazilian river.

Pete Oxford

I have many. I often say it is the last subject photographed. If I was forced to answer with a single sighting it may be the Iberian lynx. I spent three months in the field and did an article for Nat Geo. It is the rarest cat in the world and had previously not been ‘properly’ photographed. I became intimate with several individuals and one beautiful female in particular.

Elliot Neep

I was working in Bandhavgarh National Park, when a fortunate series of events enabled me to be the last person to see an adult tigress, that morning, as she slept in her favourite meadow. After a few minutes watching the tigress, four tiny tiger cubs crawled on to her and began suckling. I was in bits, as was my guide Diggy and the mahout. They were only two weeks old, with blue eyes and no teeth. It was highly emotional and unforgettable.

Tom Way

To be on foot and close proximity to our largest land mammal always leads to memorable encounters. When working on an Elephant assignment in East Africa, I was able to lie on the savannah floor whilst a large breeding herd calmly passed a few meters away.

Peter Delaney

I have been blessed to have witnessed many memorable sightings. But having a leopard sleeping beside my tent all night is one of my favourites.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

As a true avian enthusiast it is hard to not to say finding a rare species (Pels Fishing Owl or Narina Trogon) for the first time after years of searching. But I must say after spending a year living with the incredible Chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, starring at the DRC across the lake, then finally making it across the lake into the DRC and seeing the Mountain Gorillas (Humba family) in the Bukima region of Virunga National Park and having the experience all to ourselves (Kate and I) must be my favourite experience.

Roger Hooper

My most memorable sighting and special memory is of sitting on the beach in South Georgia amidst hundreds of king penguins emerging from the sea and passing all around me. It was so special that I forgot about taking photographs and just enjoyed the moment.

Keith Connelly

I always find this question to be the hardest to answer as my last most thrilling sighting always tends to be my most memorable...if I have to tie it down to just one I would have to say a sighting where a hippo had died in a territorial fight and was being fed on by 25 + hyena's, when an old male leopard snuck in amongst them and stole a chunk and ascended a tree to feed. The hyena's were joined by two lionesses and five Nile Crocodiles...so chaos ensued. The hyena would fight off the crocs and the lions would run in and snatch a piece or two before the hyena would turn their attention to the lionesses and chase them off giving the crocs time to move in and snatch a few chunks of meat. All the while this gave the male leopard sitting above the melee time to enjoy his piece of fat. This cycle continued for quite a while before a massive bull elephant came out of the river charging into the scene and scattering the hyena, lionesses and crocs just leaving the leopard to his meal.

 

4 - Where is your favourite place to photograph wildlife and why?

Billy Dodson

This is the toughest question in the interview, because there are so many magical locations in eastern and southern Africa. If I’m only allowed one choice I’d have to pick Ndutu, Tanzania, which is in the southern Serengeti, during the February migration season. It is the most vibrant place in the world for those few weeks between the end of January and early March. The place is alive with wildebeest and zebra giving birth to the new generation. The big cats are present in huge numbers and believe me, they are open for business. I once saw 14 different cheetahs in a five-day span. And if that’s not enough, there’s a spectacular array of birdlife in the woodlands near Lakes Masek and Ndutu. If I’m allowed a second choice, I think it would be Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. The opportunity to walk in the company of wild dogs, elephants and other wild animals is a rare privilege that is not to be taken lightly.

Marcus Westberg

I love variety, and I enjoy the challenge of a new environment, so I don’t really have one. I’m not a ‘pure’ wildlife photographer insofar as I photograph a lot of landscapes and people as well, and often for magazine articles, which means needing the photos to tell a story. But let’s see. In Africa? The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is fantastic for its open landscapes and huge wildlife concentrations. Photographing gorillas is challenging but rewarding. Parks like South Luangwa, Hwange, Mana Pools and Etosha are gorgeous and offer a variety of landscapes. Sabi Sands is great for leopards. The Okavango is unique. Elsewhere in the world? I absolutely love Svalbard: dramatic landscapes polar bears, reindeer, walruses and dozens of species of birds. Such a fantastic place.

Todd Gustafson

Having grown up in Tanzania, I feel a huge connection with its people, landscapes, and iconic wildlife. I’m there for about two months of the year and it always feels like home.

Pete Oxford

I prefer mammals and marine subjects over most things so somewhere mammal rich or underwater in the company of sharks.  

Elliot Neep

For a long time, the only place I photographed was India. I was obsessed with tigers. In later years, my focus moved to the open savannah of Kenya and Tanzania, where I frequently photograph big cats and the Great Migration, as it circles the Mara-Serengeti Eco-system. This has become, my most treasured destination. There is so much to see and so many animals to photograph, all with their own intermixed stories of life, death, and the eternal struggle for survival. The first time I flew into the Masai Mara, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end… it felt like I was coming home - the most bizarre feeling!

Tom Way

My passion is Africa, as primarily a big mammal photographer I feel there is no better place on the planet than this continent to produce such a variety of powerful imagery.  

Peter Delaney

Etosha National Park, I love the starkness and harsh environs. And the high density of wildlife means there is always a subject to photograph.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

I always loved the challenge of photographing the chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania. This type of photography is a challenge, having dark, moving subjects in a dark forest, you cannot use a flash and a tripod or monopod puts you at risk as the chimps could grab onto it and fling your gear. So getting the photograph you have in your mind often ends up in failure which makes the reward for nailing the shot you are striving for even that much better.

Roger Hooper

I love the Masai Mara in Kenya, as well as the wonderful variety of wildlife the landscape and light there is very special.

Keith Connelly

Really tough as I find each part of Africa to have its own unique appeal and photographic opportunities, so I may have to plead the fifth on this one and say all of them.

5 - Which image are you most proud of and why?

My favourite photo is a very simple one of a lioness on a termite mound with a cub under her chin. I like it because I think it expresses the affection these animals feel for each other better than any other image in my inventory. -Billy Dodson

Billy Dodson lions

That’s even more difficult to answer, and I usually struggle to put together a collection of even my favourite 100 images! But I’ll go with two: Gorilla Care, because it’s a unique photograph and the one which more than any other single image helped launch my career, and Elephant Storm, simply because I think it’s a beautiful, dramatic picture. -Marcus Westberg

Marcus Westberg Elephant Storm

There is an image of a flamingo grouping at Lake Nakuru. It was runner up in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year. -Todd Gustafson

Todd Gustafson flamingos

Lynx image. -Pete Oxford

Lynx Pete Oxford

It’s impossible to mention just a single image, because there are just so many. It could be my first awarded image of two tigers leaping into a waterhole with a great splash. Or, my most well-published image of a cheetah, leaping onto it’s mother (whom is sporting an expression of exasperation). Or my favourite polar bear portrait, with a huge male sitting and resting in complete peace - photographed while manically bobbing up and down in a zodiac in horrible choppy water. -Elliot Neep

Elliot Neep Cheetahs

Despite not being either original or unique, the piece I'm most proud of is titled 'View To A Kill'. Lions are my favourite animal and I wanted an image showing the intensity and raw power these special animals portray. -Tom Way

Tom Way Lion

The Gladiator/Showdown which was a winner in WPOTY 2013 and was my first double page spread in National Geographic. -Peter Delaney

Peter delaney wildlife photographer image

This is a very tough choice, I have many images that are very important to me for many different reasons. Having my image of Teddy in the Remembering Great Apes book is a great honour itself and definitely could is one such image. The image I have chosen is that of Primus, the alpha male of the M-Community in the Mahale Mountains National Park. It represents what I have explained above in Mahale, capturing a moment during a Chimpanzee siesta that I had pictured for about a year before managing to capture it, the fact that it was with the alpha male made it that much better. -Cameron Anderson Raffan

Cameron Anderson Raffan wildlife photographer image

The image I took in Zambia of nine lionesses sitting in a beautiful ebony forest, the lionesses are perfectly positioned, and the light is great. -Roger Hooper

Roger Hooper Lionesses

My image entitled Horns of Dilemma which was featured in the Remembering Rhino's book is a standout favourite. It is such an emotive image for me and having been personally affected by the blight of Rhino poaching this image has real sentimental value for me. -Keith Connelly

Keith Connelly Rhinos

 

6 - How do you think your style has evolved over the years?

Billy Dodson

As the years have progressed I’ve found that I default more and more to tight shots of the wildlife. Whether animal or human, I’ve come to believe that the window to the soul of any living thing is through the eyes and I think my photos in recent years reflect that approach. Having said that, I’m not at all sure that is a positive development. My friend Marc Mol is an absolute master at capturing animals within the framework of their environment, and his photos are dazzling. I may evolve back in the other direction thanks to the inspiration Marc.

Marcus Westberg

I think one of the most important improvements - and it’s definitely one that comes with experience - has been the ability to see more than just my primary subject. In the early years, although I took some great photos, I was more concerned with my subject than with what was going on around it. And I don’t necessarily mean the background, but the little things that can turn a great single image into a series of images and a great story. Today, as a photojournalist, I’m much more concerned with the storytelling aspect.

Todd Gustafson

I started as many do, getting as close as I could to a subject and strove to get a great, detailed portrait. I have built my career on capturing the peak of action and interactions between natural history subjects that reflect the human condition.

Pete Oxford

I have tried to become more of a storyteller concentrating on issues, raw and real images of subjects in their environments. With regard to people I seem to be spending my life documenting tribes around the world on the edge of cultural extinction which saddens me.

Elliot Neep

My ‘style’ is constantly evolving, as it should do. In the early years, I was probably a little too keen to get as close as possible, with a big telephoto for portraits with high-impact. As time goes by, you understand that it is essential to tell the whole story, not just reproduce pretty portraits. I began waiting for more behavioural opportunities, to capture predators in action and animals fighting for survival. In recent years, I have paid more attention to the environment and the context in which these animals exist. I now use a medium format camera and photograph animals as part of wider vista and capturing them within their habitats. The thing that always bothered me with ‘pretty portraits’ is that they said nothing of the animals life, or even where it lived.

Tom Way

It is inevitable that style and taste changes over the years. Having only started my career as a wildlife photographer 6 years ago, the most significant change has been from merely documenting a moment in time, to turning that moment into a piece of art.

Peter Delaney

It has moved from documentary style to predominately black and white photography which I sell as fine art prints.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

After starting trying to capture birds in a perfect setting, I definitely feel I started as a perfectionist. Slowly but surely learning more about the art of photography I found myself experimenting more, especially with slower shutter speeds trying to capture that perfect imperfection in the movement of an animal. More recently focusing on the light itself, not necessarily the perfect light setting but rather trying to capture a piece of light that falls on an animal. So I would say I still have my perfectionist nature in my photography but just that my idea of perfect has evolved from the straight forward seeing what the eye sees to an infinite world outside of that.

Roger Hooper

I think my style has changed slightly over the years, mainly that I now find myself looking for lovely landscapes that include animals, rather than cropping too tightly on the animal alone.

Keith Connelly

I would have to say that I now tend toward a more dramatic style of imagery then at the beginning of my career, I really seek out emotional and dramatic scenes.

7 - Do you have a go-to piece of kit you use more often than any other? If so, why?

Billy Dodson

I’m a Nikon shooter and I’d have to say my “go to” lens is the 200-400 F/4. It is absurdly sharp, and the image quality is spectacular. It’s every bit the equal of a prime lens. I’ve also found that the focal range is ideal for wildlife, especially bird photography.

Marcus Westberg

Not really - partly because I use quite a lot of gear. So, it depends a lot on the job. I would never leave home without my 24-70mm lens, but I always carry two to four cameras, so it’s never my only setup. For gorillas I usually bring a 16-35mm on another camera, while my second go-to lens would be my 100-400mm. I bring a 70-200mm f/2.8 in case it gets too dark for the 100-400mm. If I’m photographing more conventional wildlife I use a 600mm prime. I rarely use tripods or monopods unless I’m staying in one spot for a longer period of time or doing landscape photography, trusting instead that I’m able to handhold even the 600mm.

Todd Gustafson

I use a full frame camera body with a 600mm 95% of the time, both prime and with a 2X teleconverter. I love the working distance that allows me to capture intimate moments without being inside the subjects’ “fight or fight” zone.

Pete Oxford

Probably my most used lens is my 200-400mm lens. I like the zoom capability for framing different compositions and it is good for people portraits as well.

Elliot Neep

For years, it was my 600mm f/4, whether it was Canon, or later with Nikon. Now, I use a FujiFilm GFX50s, digital medium format camera. If I am working as a guide, I hire or borrow a DSLR and 400mm or 600mm telephoto, just for the job of guiding and teaching.

Tom Way

One of the key factors to my imagery is emotion or in essence capturing character. Enjoying a portrait style of shooting the Canon 400mm is my go to piece of equipment. The 2.8 aperture is an advantage when either photographing leopards in the morning light or orangutans in the depths of the Sumatran rainforest.

Peter Delaney

My Fujinon XF100-400mm Zoom Lens, this is my go-to lens for its versatility and optical sharpness, allows me to keep my photography simple, one camera and one lens.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

Canon 300mm f2.8 mk ii, I love this piece of kit whether in the savannah, the jungle, photographing birds, gorillas or surfing dolphins. Seeing the image quality at the end of a shoot always puts a smile on my face

Roger Hooper

My go to kit changes as equipment available changes, but at present it would be my trusty Canon 1Dx Mk11 with a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM Lens.

Keith Connelly

My Sigma 500 f4 Sport lens is my most prized piece of kit.

8 - Have you ever lost or had kit fail on you in the field? What did you do?

Billy Dodson

An excellent question. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never experienced equipment failure in the field. In a perverted sort of way, I’ve almost wished it would happen just because the elimination of a lens or two from my bag would force me to think outside the box… be a little more creative. But alas…no such luck. I did have a Nikon D600 and a 80-200mm F/2.8 stolen from a checked pelican case a couple of years ago, but it happened on the return trip from Africa. Because my insurance coverage was comprehensive, it wound up being a minor inconvenience and nothing more.

Marcus Westberg

I had a camera (with my 24-70mm) stolen on the first day of a month-long assignment in Madagascar. But the worst was when three of my go-to lenses broke in the space of one week, halfway through a three-month trip to Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Zambia: my 16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm. That was painful. I managed to borrow an older version of the 16-35mm from a friend. Canon sent me an older version of the 70-200mm (which I had to pay $400 import duty on in Uganda), and the 24-70mm I could still use as long as I had no important details in the middle of the picture, since mould had somehow set in the centre of the glass (it was the one lens I didn’t have a UV filter for). That made things interesting.

Todd Gustafson

I have equipment go down all the time. Last month in Madagascar is was lens, flash, and audio equipment that went down in a rain storm. This week it was sand getting in the zoom of a 100-400 in a Namibian wind storm. Things drop, get dinged, etc. I’m pretty good at making things work in the field as a stop gap measure, but sometimes I just have to switch lenses and change my view as a photographer. Also, on a tour other people may have extra equipment to loan to those who are in need.

Pete Oxford

I had a full pelican case stolen in Bolivia once, including my exposed film of a high-altitude flamingo shoot. I spent three days scouring the black markets of La Paz trying to locate my gear.

Elliot Neep

Oh yes! During my first ever tour to India (2002), I lost a camera body as we rattled along a rocky track. We hit a bump and the camera body toppled out of my hand, hit the seat and bounced out of the vehicle. It then hit a rock and sailed silently down into a ravine. I remember it, like it was yesterday. I was asked by my insurance company whether I "could have fetched it out?" I then explained that the ravine was about 200ft deep and I was more likely to find tigers, leopard, and sloth bear than my camera! Thankfully, I had a spare. A year later, I was on Skomer Island, photographing puffins with my Canon EOS3 (film camera). It was bolted to my tripod. I’d bent down to get a filter from my bag and a gust of wind blew the whole rig over, smashing the camera body on a rock. It was then I moved to Digital - it pays to have insurance! I also had a Canon 7DmkI fail on me - fresh out of the box and arrived just before a month-long expedition to Antarctica. It failed almost immediately, with fuzzy images that were completely worthless. Thankfully, I always travel with three bodies and had my other main camera, plus the spare. There was nothing else I could do. My lens stabiliser motors seem to have a hard time on safari. Both of my Canon and Nikon 600mm f/4 lenses had their stabiliser motors replaced at least once.

Tom Way

Yes unfortunately when working on Zambia's Kafue River photographing Hippo, I did lose camera equipment as it toppled off the side of the boat. It was the last evening of the trip and there was nothing that could be done apart from endure a long journey home to re think my wildlife photography career!

Peter Delaney

No, I have been very fortunate...

Cameron Anderson Raffan

After living remotely for many years, I have had this happen a few times and being months away from getting even close to a decent service centre it can be extremely frustrating. Always have a back-up is my solution, you may not be able to afford the same body and having two of the same lens would be the ultimate luxury, but mostly at least a spare old body and a half decent lens so you can still carry on shooting. Especially after spending a lot of money and travelling to a specific destination to have your gear fail would be a huge downer.

Roger Hooper

I hate to discuss this, as I have never had a piece of kit fail on me and as I am off to The Pantanal in Brazil shortly I hope this is not tempting fate!

Keith Connelly

I have had lenses and bodies fall off mounts into sightings before, with disastrous consequences, not much to do but to fall back on your remaining lenses.

9 - What are your tips for protecting expensive camera gear while in the field?

Billy Dodson

I try to keep my camera bag closed at all times and I also have a jacket in the Land Cruiser and make sure to place it over any outsized lens that isn’t in use. The idea is to minimise the dust that lands on it. I also love shooting in the rain, which means I have to keep the gear covered to avoid damaging it. You can purchase expensive covers for the cameras and lenses, but I’ve found that a strategically customised plastic garbage bag works fine for me. It’s also critical to clean everything every single day. I’ve found that this is most effectively accomplished immediately upon return from the field. This work should always be performed in conjunction with the consumption of a cold, refreshing adult beverage.

Marcus Westberg

Use UV filters and always replace your lens caps when not photographing. Use a good bag. And don’t fall over more than necessary.

Todd Gustafson

I am the worst person to answer this. I’m in really rough conditions and sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do…you are going to get soaked, sand stormed, or suffer drops and bumps in rough conditions.

Pete Oxford

Stay alert! Living in Ecuador insurance was not a viable option, so my gear gets a hard workout before I replace it.

Elliot Neep

Most, if not all, of the equipment that I buy or use is for 'professional use', with rugged build-quality and top spec environmental seals - to keep out rain and dust. My lenses are covered with a neoprene jacket as soon as they’re out of the box - more to protect the paintwork and resell value, than anything else. I trust the enviro seals to really keep out rain and dust. I don’t change lenses while the vehicle is in motion, in case I damage the contacts and get the dreaded “ERR” code. I am careful with my gear. I never drop it (even onto a seat) or throw it around. The riskiest situation is when out in zodiacs in rough weather and you’re getting soaked with salt water spray and occasionally inundated by the odd wave. Here, my kit is sealed away in dry bags or a Pelicase. Photographic kit is expensive stuff and, as this is my only source of income, I look after it. “Look after your tools and they will look after you."

Tom Way

From experience I advise you to insure your equipment. Yes it is an extra expense on top of already expensive equipment, but it is well worth the cover. I also cover my lens with a lens coat to avoid scratches that may devalue the equipment.

Peter Delaney

Have a good camera bag. My tip is to take out insurance on all your gear… as accidents will happen no matter how careful you are.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

This depends on how long stay in the field, when living in the jungle with high humidity I built a sealed box with a hot lamp in it to store my gear to reduce the humidity and mould. For shorter trips, a good case or bag that has sufficient lining. Silica packs in the bag if you are in high humidity areas, these save your gear on those short trips in the long run if you are in and out. Have waterproofing if you are going to the rainforest or travelling in the green season, I always carry a back-up bin liner just in case. Having a second body is also a big saviour, changing lenses in the field is dangerous, I have seen many an accident trying to change lenses in the field.

Roger Hooper

I try wherever possible not to let my equipment out of my sight when travelling. When in vehicles or boats I keep it covered in protective water and dust proof bags. When in hotels I always leave the do not disturb sign on my door and use safes for anything that will fit inside. I use Think Tank roller bags which are great and have a cable and lock built in. This can be attached to anything and won't easily move; useful for airports, restaurants etc in some slightly unsafe areas of the world. I try and keep three copies of my files and when travelling home and keep them all in different places. One will go in the checked luggage, one in my pocket and one on my laptop. Again, hope I am not tempting fate.

Keith Connelly

Make sure your gear is secured on whatever platform is being used. Gimbal heads and ball heads have a nasty habit of being left loose.

10 - Why did you agree to get involved in the Remembering Wildlife project?

Billy Dodson

Two reasons.
  • I’m seriously dedicated to wildlife conservation in Africa. I partner with the African Wildlife Foundation and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and support them both to the very best of my ability. Spending weeks in the field taking photos of these animals is a pointless exercise unless some higher purpose is ultimately served.

  • I love Margot Raggett, who is the founder of the project. She is a superbly gifted photographer and a noble and selfless human being. She deserves to be supported in her conservation efforts. I will always do my part when called upon. 

Marcus Westberg

Is that a trick question? I can’t think of a single reason not to get involved!

Todd Gustafson

This is it! This is the front line of the defence of our wildlife! This effort goes at it in two very strong ways. It brings in money that goes directly where it needs to go to continue the fight. It also creates awareness and involvement. People need to know what the struggle is and what we can and are doing to move forward.

Pete Oxford

A truly worthy cause and with Margot behind the wheel, good exposure for elephants, rhinos and great apes (so far) was guaranteed!

Elliot Neep

Because I want to help. Remembering Wildlife is a phenomenal initiative. Genius, in fact. Collectively, wildlife photographers have an immense catalogue of outstanding photography and a huge following on social media. When you combine the talents of so many creatives, the end product is pure gold. I am lucky to know Margot and be part of her initiative, since the beginning. I am lucky in my profession as a wildlife photographer. I know this and appreciate it. The Remembering Wildlife project is a way in which I can happily give back, aiding and supporting wildlife initiatives, protecting and conserving the wild animals and habitats, that I treasure.

Tom Way

It is a privilege to be involved in the Remembering Series and an honour to have the opportunity to help raise money to protect certain vulnerable species across the globe. The Remembering Series shows that if people are willing to unite under one banner to fight the cause then something can be done to protect these animals.

Peter Delaney

I believe that the projects that they support will make a difference.

Cameron Anderson Raffan

After a few years of living in African wildlife reserves through the current poaching crisis, I have seen and felt the impact of human infringement on the wilds. From the gunshots echoing throughout the Selous Game Reserve decimating the elephant populations to the point where it has become a rarity to see an elephant in an area that was once home to the largest elephant populations. Going on to see the psychological torment of Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, now living in sanctuaries, that were saved from deforestation and the pet/bushmeat trade. Reading daily articles and journals of the War that conservation has become. This book can help in stopping such bloodshed of animals and people alike through showing the world these creatures in all their majesty. Along with providing needed funds for those working so hard in their efforts to protect the last of these beings. It is not a difficult decision to get involved in such a great project.

Roger Hooper

Apart from the fact that the wonderful Margot Raggett is an impossible person to say no to, it only took a moment when she first explained the project for me to leap at the chance of being involved. It has been a brilliantly successful journey so far, raising incredible amounts of money to support endangered wildlife, and long may it continue.

Keith Connelly

I strongly believe in people-based conservation and that everybody doing their little bit can have a huge impact on the protection of our at-risk natural areas and species. Remembering Wildlife is the perfect platform to reach people and do some real good by supporting worthwhile conservation initiatives. We as photographers have an obligation to conserve the areas that we most hold dear.

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