Going the Extra Mile

David's Technical Tip

Use a well-positioned remote-controlled camera to capture shots of dangerous wildlife.

‘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.

Cameras

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 favours two camera bodies above all else. When a subject is fast moving, he looks no further than the Nikon D5. The high frames per second and powerful motor drive make for a combination that can capture any moment and allows for pin sharp imagery. For everything else, David prefers the high resolution of the Nikon D850. David was asked by Nikon to spearhead the campaign that launched the new Camera in 2017. The D850’s supreme resolution allows David to blow his images up to the large trademark sizes for which he has become known.

Equipment Bag

A Nikon D850 and a Nikon D5 with the following lenses:

  • AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED
  • 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S Nikkor
  • AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED
  • AF-S 35mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S 58mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED
  • AF-S 200mm f/2G VR II IF-ED
lion-takes-remote-camera the-prize_v5 david_alaska3 nikon_lion-small