GOING THE EXTRA MILE
DAVID’S TECHNICAL TIP
‘When conceptualising animal shots, think laterally and strive for an image that sits outside normal boundaries. This may be to achieve perspective by capturing shots that look up at the animal from the ground, but often to get the animal at eye level and pin sharp. This can prove problematic when photographing dangerous animals but a solution is offered in the form of well-positioned remote controls.’
One of David’s more unusual pieces of equipment is a custom-made 14-pound steel box. This object is used to house his camera body and then placed near the subject matter of his assignment. He then triggers the protected camera from a short distance by pressing a hand-held switch at the right moment… his timing has to be perfect. All of David’s photographs tell a story; his durable camera casing has several tales of its own, ranging from being buried in a swamp in the Camargue, doused in Old Spice aftershave in Amboseli and smothered in rhino excrement in Lewa. These ‘treatments’ have been used after extensive research into identifying the most attractive and enticing smell for the animal in question.
David used a scented remote to capture ‘The Prize’, his iconic, pin-sharp shot of a lioness walking across the dusty plains of Lake Amboseli (Kenya) at sunrise. Shortly after taking the shot, the lioness took the camera casing in her mouth and walked 700 yards into the bush. Fortunately the stoical camera casing and enclosed camera body were retrieved.
The equipment that David takes with him on location will naturally vary according to the subject matter of the assignment and the lighting conditions/climate of the environment in which he is photographing.
David has been using Nikon camera bodies and lenses for almost 30 years, which testifies to the high regard that he has for the quality of the brand’s products. His cameras have withstood exposure to all of the elements; from the intense heat of Vergenoeg (Namibia) to the freezing-cold snaps of Igloolik (Nunavut).
A Nikon D3s, D4s and D810 with the following lenses:
• 105mm macro
• 14-24mm f2.8
• 24-70mm f2.8
• 24mm f1.4
• 35mm f1.4
• 85mm f1.4
• 200mm f2
• 300mm f4 and f2.8
• 500mm f4