PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING SOME QUESTIONS PLUS I HAVE SOME RESOURCE LINKS FOR YOU BELOW.
 

Don in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy hearing from those who visit my gallery. Some of the more frequently asked questions follow. If you have another question, send an email to me at  don@dongettyphoto.com 

 

Question: What kind of camera equipment do you use?

Question: Do you always use a tripod?

Question: Can I use your photos for a school project?

Question: How did you become a professional nature photographer?

Question: Did you put your website together on your own?

Question: What is your favorite wildlife subject?

Question: As an amateur photographer, how do I get my first photograph published?

Question: It must take tremendous patience to do wildlife photography, doesn’t it?

Question: What is your opinion of photographing captive animals?

Question: For wildlife photography, what is your favorite location?

 

Question: What kind of camera equipment do you use?

Answer: I use Canon digital SLR camera gear. Currently I have EOS-1DX Mark II, EOS-1DX and EOS-7D Mark II bodies and a variety of Canon lenses: 800mm f/5.6L IS, 500mm f/4.0L IS II, 200-400mm f4L IS w/ 1.4x, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and 28-70mm f/2.8L  and. I also use Canon 1.4x III and 2x III extenders. I’m not one of those who spends time debating which brand is best. What’s most important is to know how to use the gear that you have.
 

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Question: Do you always use a tripod?

Answer: Yes, whenever I can. I use a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod with a Wimberley Gimbal Type Head II. There are times when you just can’t use a tripod. In Africa, shooting from a safari vehicle, I use bean bags as camera supports. At times I photograph birds from behind the steering wheel of my vehicle using a bean bag or Puffin Pad. When photographing from any vehicle, the engine must be shut off or the vibration will ruin the image. I hand hold a camera when there just isn't time to set up the tripod or if other support just isn't logistically practical.

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Question: Can I use your photos for a school project?

Answer: Send me an email asking what you would like to use and in most cases I will provide it to you.

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Question: How did you become a professional nature photographer?

Answer: First you should understand that the definition of being a "professional photographer" varies widely. I am retired from over forty years in businesses unrelated to photography. Although I sell photographs, it has never been a profitable endeavor for me, nor has that been my objective. That said, I have been photographing wildlife for over thirty years with some of the best equipment, in many of the best locations on our planet, and have produced images which rival many of those who are doing nature photography as their profession.

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Question: Did you put your website together on your own?

Answer: I did, with the help of Zenfolio technology. Since I'm not a computer programmer with html skills (whatever that is), it's only with today's technology that someone like me can put together a website. If you want to set up your own site on Zenfolio, be sure to use my referal code, G5R-4FS-D2F , for a 10 % discount. My original website that was started in 2001 was great for its time, but I had to pay a skilled web designer to do it for me.

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Question: What is your favorite wildlife subject?

Answer: This is a very difficult question. There’s nothing like being on foot photographing the huge Alaskan brown bears. Finding an allusive leopard is always a great thrill. Birds can present a challenge even when you have a big lens. I guess the answer is that I don’t have a favorite. Any animal that exhibits behavior or expression and finds itself in good light through my viewfinder is my favorite of the moment.

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Question: As an amateur photographer, how do I get my first photograph published?

Answer: The answer is really simple. Submit. Many amateur photographers would like to see their images in magazines, books or calendars, but never get around to giving it the opportunity to happen. Numerous magazines have annual photo contests or pages for reader submitted photographs. You can also search the web for photo contests. Just follow the directions, submit, and see what happens. See my credits for some ideas of where to submit.

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Question: It must take tremendous patience to do wildlife photography, doesn’t it?

Answer: I guess it depends on your perspective. You don’t just sit under a tree in the woods hoping that a critter may happen by. You go to locations where you know you can find wildlife and you search it out. When you find a good subject you may spend a lot of time with it waiting for some behavior, a great composition or the right light. If you truly enjoy nature, the time passes very quickly. I’ve spent six hours straight sitting on a cliff above a bald eagle's nest with young chicks and the time flew by, not to mention the eagles. I’ve spent many hours with cheetahs that I knew would have to make kills to feed their young. To see a cheetah running at 70 miles per hour makes it all worthwhile. For me, to lie on a beach and read a novel would require patience beyond comprehension.

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Question: What is your opinion of photographing captive animals?

Answer: I prefer to photograph wild animals in an uncontrolled wild environment. From an editorial perspective, to represent that a photograph is of a wild subject, when it is not, is just plain deceitful and unethical. Should "wild" animals be kept captive at all? Well, I suspect that the majority of us saw our first "wild" animals in zoos as children and this is what planted the seed of our interest in wildlife. Without this childhood experience, I theorize that there would be far less interest in wildlife conservation today. Great photographs of animals such as mountain lions, wolves, lynx, etc. also help to expose the world to the beauty of these creatures. I believe such images indirectly help to maintain an interest in their preservation. Sure it’s possible to get photographs of these creatures in the wild, but it’s rare at best. In a society that allows the use dogs to chase and tree mountain lions, and then shoot them at close range, I can’t get too worked up about photographing well cared for captive animals who were bred in captivity.

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Question: For wildlife photography, what is your favorite location?

Answer: AFRICA! I have been very fortunate to have had a successful career which allowed me the time and funds to photograph in Africa. My first safari was to Kenya in 1989 and I was hooked. Since then I have been to Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana with return safaris to Kenya. Each of these countries offer a wide variety wildlife subjects and the wildlife species also varies by country. Although wildlife in Africa has suffered from loss of habitat and poaching, the photography is still outstanding. With fourteen safaris under my belt I have never had a slow photography day in Africa.

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RESOURCE LINKS

EQUIPMENT

B&H Photo-Video is the photo equipment dealer that I have used for many years and I have not been disappointed.

Canon Professional Services provides discounted repair services, free gear checkups, loaner gear and more to members.

Really Right Stuff sells high-quality Arca-Swiss type lens and camera mounting plates, tripods and related equipment.

Wimberley Professional Photo Gear makes the ultimate tripod head for large lenses.

Outdoor Photo Gear provides a wide selection of quality photo gear.

NatureScapes.net store offers a wide variety of photography items for nature photographers.

 

PHOTO TOURS AND DIGITAL COURSES

McDonald Wildlife Photography I have known Joe and Mary Ann McDonald for many years and recommend their photo tours and digital photography courses.

Wild4Photographic Safaris Stu Porter is a great photographer and the only tour guide in South Africa with vehicles that are set-up specifically for serious photographers. Stu also does tours in other African countries.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris may well be the largest company offering nature photography tours to locations around the world.

Franz Photo Dale Franz is a great photographer who leads photo tours in Wyoming and Alaska.

Foto Verde Tours is the place to go for photo tours in Costa Rica. Greg Basco is an outstanding photographer.

 

MAGAZINES AND CONTESTS

BBC Wildlife is a magazine that sponsors the most prestigious nature photography contest in the world.

Nature Photographer Magazine provides an opportunity for unknown photographers to become field contributors, who can have their photos and articles published.
 

Nature's Best Photography Magazine is a premier nature photography magazine with a highly competitive photo contest.
 

Nature Photographers Online Magazine has a wealth of information for nature photographers.
 

BirdWatching is a birding magazine with a weekly on-line photo contest which gives photographers an opportunity to be published.
 

National Wildlife is a magazine that has a very competitive annual photography contest.
 

Outdoor Photographer magazine is a monthly magazine with a wide variety of articles and information for nature photographers as well as photo contests. They also offer a wealth of photography information on-line.
 

Wyoming Wildlife is an award-winning monthly magazine published by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. If you spend time photographing wildlife in Wyoming you should subscribe. They have an annual photo contest for images taken in Wyoming and they don't charge a fee for entering. This provides an opportunity for many photographers to get published.
 

 

LOCATIONS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
 

The American Bear Association maintains the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary which is a can’t miss location for photographing black bears.
 

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an excellent location for photographing the creatures of the American Southwest.
 

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a location in Northern Utah where I enjoy photographing birds in the spring.
 

Tundra Buggy® is the larger of the two companies that rent vehicles for viewing the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba. They also run their own photo tours.
 

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society has information about this National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida.
 

Santa Clara Ranch , is a great location for photographing the birds and other animals of south Texas. I have been there twice and hope to return.

 

Friends of the Bosque del Apache has information about this National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.
 

Grand Teton National Park provides information on one of my favorite locations.
 

Yellowstone National Park News from Yellowstone Net is a site to use if you want to keep up on what’s happening in Yellowstone.
 

 

OTHER RESOURCES
 

Focusing On Wildlife is a site that has many interesting articles on wildlife conservation and nature photography. I am proud to contribute articles to this site.
 

North American Nature Photography Association is an organization that can be a great resource. Each year it puts on a "Summit", which is major convention for nature photographers.
 

Snugg provides an interesting history of cameras and photography and how they have evolved over time.
 

eNature: America's Wildlife Resource is a great recourse for information about mammals, birds and other creatures.
 

Mpix is a great way to have Gallery Wraps and other prints made via the internet. All prints ordered from this website are processed directly by Mpix.
 

Red River Paper is a great source for paper to those of you who do their own printing.
 

Photo Links takes you to a directory of more photographers than you can imagine.
 

Photography Colleges provides information on earning a photography degree on-line, becoming a professional photographer and more.

Beginner's Guide to Bird Watching has a lot of practical tips for those who want to start learning more about birds.