WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY when it’s best [behind the scenes]


This is pure luck… They were on their way to me and… So, that was great. What a morning! I did one of my common mistakes though – that’s probably laziness, which is
my enemy in the morning because I went to bed a little late last night.
I was putting the last work into a really nice nature conservation trip
to Africa, to Kenya, and actually a trip you can join if you’re interested. I’ll
tell you much more about it a little later but yeah, I worked on that yesterday evening. I
went to bed a little late and the result was that when the alarm clock was
ringing at 5:00 in the morning I was just so tired and, instead of
jumping up immediately, I was in bed maybe 20 minutes more, and then I had to
get up and, you know… it’s just a, just a stupid thing because I
hadn’t packed the whole thing in the evening so because I was a little tired
it just took forever to get batteries and tripods and stuff together. So yeah, it’s a
lesson I should have learned many years ago. Yeah, in the evening I thought ‘oh
I’ll do this in the morning, it’s better,’ but the result was I didn’t get out
until a little to six, and that’s like an hour, at least an hour, too late or maybe
two hours actually… So I went out, walked along these trees where I’m
sitting now and then, further that way, suddenly these cranes were there and I’m like, I
have heard them here and I know they’re here, but I have never seen them so close.
They were like… I don’t know how it goes, a few hundred meters, maybe a hundred
meters when they were closest, and when I sat down there, when I got there, I
couldn’t say anything. I doubted if I should start turning on the
little camera there, that one, or if I should just photograph, but
I needed to so it turned it on. I don’t know what to do. That’s why I’m talking now. I really don’t know what to do. I didn’t think I was going to photograph
them because they were so close and I thought they were so aware. When I
started to, I made a little noise with the tripod and then like they started to
come closer to me, probably because I was in all these clothes, camouflage clothes,
and they didn’t know what it was and they got closer and closer until maybe 55/70 meters or so, and I didn’t dare to do anything. This time I did use the silent shutter, this time I just tried to stay as still as I could. I didn’t dare to
make a photo though, because I didn’t dare to start to faff around with
getting the tripod up in height. Then I decided anyway to make some photos. I’m glad I did because they didn’t notice me. I must be well
hidden through the reeds. I was just so afraid of my silhouette because, you know,
if if I sit here with the dark background everything is fine, but if I
stand up with the sky as a background, even though I’m well
camouflaged, it’s just a black silhouette moving. So yeah, I got a little film
and I got some photos, but I was struggling with these reed’s, because
the dead ones are very bright and kind of gave a little
flare effect on the photo. And then there were the leaves, the fresh green
leaves, and they were constantly in the way. I tried to use them a little
creatively by making them blurry, blur the picture on one side of the photo and
then I tried… like with the woodpecker I don’t know if you remember how I
shot through the leaves, and found a little place where the leaves were not
covering the photo, I tried to do the same here. So on this photo of the
cranes, I had these reeds in the foreground. They were really distracting
the autofocus. So what I did here is, I’m setting my autofocus to continuously
autofocus and then I used the back button to lock it.
That means that I can always push my back button and then override manually
and that’s the technique I have used here. I can use it as some kind of
effect to either blur the photo or blur one side of the photo, as you can see in
this one. It’s the the cranes in the right side and then you have the reeds on the left side of the photo. They are kind of closing the
photo over there. By moving to the right and to the left, I can change
that a little bit and get completely different photos. If you want to know
more about this technique and how I set up my autofocus, please leave
a comment below and ask your questions and I can include that in a future
Behind the Camera video. Or I can actually make a dedicated video about
that. So, what started out to be a morning without anything, and the light was a little boring, and I thought I was too late, turned out to give me
my first photos of the cranes here in this area, and so close. And the most
important thing is what I’m going to do now. Because I haven’t read that much
about the cranes I’m going to look into that. Try to find information about
their hearing, their sense of smell… You know, some birds actually have a brilliant
sense of smell, like the… you know, the ones that are always in the
cartoon with a naked neck, with the one feather and the beak, and they always
come when lucky Luke is about to die! They will sit
around and wait for him. I don’t know what they’re called in English, but these
birds they have an incredible sense of smell. I want to find out
about their eyesight, the cranes, and how is their smell, how’s their hearing. I
need to know that, and that’s how I usually work when I’m photographing this
kind of stuff. I don’t know anything about it. I know a lot about the fox, and
all about the deer, and a lot about the buzzards and birds of prey, but I don’t
know about the cranes. I’m going to go figure it out. I like to get further down for some of my photos, you can see I have the horizon of
the green field and the dark forest, and that is cutting almost through the
cranes. What I would like is to get all the way down and
shoot along the field so that I actually get just above the
grass. That means that the cranes will be standing there, with their beautiful
colours, with maybe a dark background. I want to get down in level. I couldn’t
do that here because of all the reeds. Another thing I like to try to do –
because I know the Sun is rising over there, and if I can get in a position
where the Sun comes up behind the cranes, so I get a little silhouette. Or I get
when they do that trumpet thing, the quack-quack, then I can maybe get some, you know, some steam coming out of the… or moisture, coming
out of the beak, and with a backlight I can maybe create an effect there. But you
can hear, I’m dreaming now! But let’s see what I get in the next few week’s. So yeah, I
think that was it. I think what I struggle a little about here was I have this big backpack, now I have the solar panels, the batteries, because I
wanted to show it have extra batteries in there, I have my drone with
the batteries and, I have all kind of things that I don’t need. What I would like to do is pack a little simpler because with that camera
that’s filming now on the tripod, with the binoculars, with the tripod, with
all these big things, I struggle a little because the weight and
the volume make it really hard… It’s like the opposite of walking just
me and a lens without anything else, without the tripod, without anything. I
talked a little about that in the last Behind the Camera video. I think next
time I’ll try to pack a little different or make a little base camp close by.
Maybe not a base camp but a little camp close to where I’m going to photograph
where I can put all my stuff and then just go with the tripod and the camera
and the binocular and the vlogging camera and the coffee, and then I think
that’s a better tactic! The light is getting a little hard now, I’m
going home now to have a nap, to prepare a lecture for tomorrow evening, and do a
little work, office work, boring work, really boring work, that
I don’t like. Then I’m going to have a nap so I can get ready for
this evening. Because at this time of the year where the sunrise is at a little
past 4:00 and it said sets after 10:00 the night is not long enough, so what I usually do is I get a few
hours during the night and then I have a good nap during the day because evenings
and mornings are the good times for me. That’s when the animals are active, that is when
there’s no noise, that’s when it’s beautiful – there were still dew drops
on the grass when I got up this morning. So it’s time to get another
cup of coffee here and then I’ll go back home and see you this evening. Looking forward to see if we see anything up there.
In the evening, I think it’s tempting to go down here again, but I
think I want to go up to the forest because I haven’t been there for a while. I want
to go up and see. Do you remember last year with the badger, that forest where I
saw the fox, one of my very first videos. I’ll link to it up here. I think it was my very first video I did here on YouTube about a year and a half ago. I
was walking in the forest and talking to the camera. It was the very first time I
was vlogging, so it was incredibly weird to walk with that tripod
and talk to the camera and then I talked and talked and talked, and took on
my 3d camouflage and then, suddenly, in the middle of everything, the fox just ran
over and I just got one picture of the Fox at the end of the road and then
it disappeared again into the forest! Yeah that was the forest. I think I’ll
go up there tonight and see if I can see some deer, a badger or fox, whatever. Yeah,
see you tonight! There’s lightning, there’s thunder…
This is fantastic. There’s a fox, there’s a fox… Thank God I did not go home just after
the thunder and the rain. I’m totally soaked but it’s worth every single drop of
rain. That was a crazy experience. I mean you
just… double up on getting something I didn’t expect. I could see, around
6 o’clock, 5 o’clock, how it was building up with this dense
feeling of rain and I thought there’s thunder coming in and… I just got up here and…
You know, when I was walking down there towards the badger, trying to sneak
my way, and suddenly I could hear in the background, I knew rain was
coming and then, within… I mean I got so wet, I was totally soaked within 20 minutes. I had rain jackets on, but just normal hiking trousers. It just went down my legs, in my shoes and that
was the point I think I said to this camera ‘Oh everything is wet,
I need to just continue filming because I wanted to capture this mood…’ This one is so full of rain and water and it’s dripping, because I really want to
film these beautiful patterns with the fog. And it’s so surrealistic when I sit here now. It’s so quiet, the birds are
singing, there’s almost no wind and just 3-4 hours ago it was pouring
down. I’m so happy I didn’t shut off
the camera, put it down in the safe camera bag. I just continued to shoot
with the video of the rain pouring down and the leaves and all this stuff, and then I decided to, to call that a day, and I finished the
video of the vlog. I can’t wait to share some of this with you Just a little rainy mood and to share some of the cranes from this morning and then I
think this has been a very, very different day, but see you out there! And then there was just something in my mind saying ‘oh I can’t go home now,
this evening is still young, I need to be here a little more.’ I just remember, I thought let me just go to the meadow and
see if there’s a deer. I went there and there were no deer and I thought ‘oh just a little more, just a little more,’ I just had this feeling that I had to continue and
oh, I’m glad I did, because when I saw that fox I was like ‘what
do I do ,what do I do,’ because that is where it’s becoming really, really
challenging because… I want to get the photos, but at the same time I want
to share it on that camera, the vlogging camera. But, having to turn that on and
off, and focus, and sound, and all that kind of stuff, and at the same time
concentrate on the fox, and concentrate on one tripod with the 600 millimeter,
and another tripod with that one, having these things going on it’s extremely
difficult especially, not when I’m photographing a plant or from inside my
blind, but when I’m out here exposed, all the movements, all the tripod hitting
tripod, you know the sound of tripod hitting tripod is just not a
good combination with deer and foxes and animals with good
hearing so I try to find that balance between just putting up the vlogging camera
and getting in position. But then I had to go back and get the…
wow that was challenging and it was too challenging today.
I got some really good photos of the… at least, some photos of the fox
that I really like, because it was so wet… But it disappeared too fast I
didn’t really get anything really good! As I continued up and I saw
the hares, and I saw the second fox, it just became too much with that camera so, my thought was just let me get what I can, let me share what I can,
but I need to get some photos. I need to get some video here. This
situation is unique and I was just trying to concentrate on getting
something really good. I had to make up my mind because I decided
to leave my camera bag behind, it was too heavy, too bulky,. Then I
wanted to use a tripod, and then I didn’t want to use a tripod and, to be honest, I would have
preferred it without the tripod, but it was already getting too dark. I already ended
up photographing on ISO 12000 on f4 with the 250 of a second with
a 600 millimeter with a 1.4 converter, and that was just incredibly low light. So
yeah, I needed a tripod to to make decent, sharp photos
without them being too blurred. Then comes this moment that was insane
because I was sitting there, I can’t remember it very clear now but I just remember
sitting there, photographing the hare and then I thought ‘okay well I’ll leave that
little camera behind because it’s going to destroy the whole thing when I’m
faffing around, let me just concentrate.
Before I started doing the vlogging thing it was just me and my camera, and
then the hare. Let me just get that moment and I left that camera behind. I was only maybe, not twenty but ten or fifteen meters away, and I kneeled down and I got the photo
and the video of this beautiful little hare. Suddenly in the background I could see something brown, and when I looked up it looked like the
back of a deer. And then a head came up and there was the red deer. Instantly I
regretted that I didn’t have that camera because that moment was just… it was just
so insane because, when I was looking at the red deer the hare would jump in
front of the picture and I have just, you know… before that I had the fox, and
it was just so… it was just so insane how much happened within a few hours!
And the fox, let me just jump back to the fox, the fox, when I saw it on
the other side of these trees, I needed to go all the way down
to the end, but then luckily I found a tiny spot where I could photograph him
and, with the use of the foreground, I got this really nice blurry effect, a dreamy effect like I got with the woodpecker. And this wet fox, very dark
because it was so wet, just walked around out there. It came closer and
closer, to the point where I was afraid that it should see that it was me
sitting there. Then it got so close and I think it caught my smell and
it then walked the other way and then disappeared. Not
scared or anything, but it didn’t come back. I think it could smell me. I think there
was some scent hanging there because everything was so wet, and there was a
tiny bit of wind. But that was incredible. When I then continued
down, I saw these hares and I went out to photograph them. These red
deer, they were just so incredibly close, and they got closer and closer
and closer. There was nothing I could do, because I was there sitting in
the middle of the field in my 3d camouflage. But still, I think they were
at around 35 meters away, five or six red deer ,with their
small ones, and at that point I was just getting afraid of scaring them.
Because I was sitting there and at some point they would smell me, and at some
point they will see a small movement. So what I tried to do there was
I actually tried to back out, I tried to get away from them again. Every
time they looked down or had their back to me I moved back, and I almost got all the
way back to where the trees were. Then I knew I would be much better hidden there. But then one of them saw me I think, or saw a
movement, and then they all had their heads up, and then it was like a staring
contest. I was sitting there trying to… I was just looking down so they couldn’t
see my face, and I could see they were definitely just all staring at me. And
then they brought their heads up and then they ran off. Again, no panic but they knew I was there. The good thing is, I could
hear them stopping in the forest and when I went back, they came out again so
they had not been that scared. They didn’t know it was a human probably, because of
these clothes! So yeah, they came out again, but at that point I was already
getting out. I think what I have learned from this day is, sometimes it’s just, you know in the morning, I thought ‘no it’s not so good.’ I still went out
with the camera, cup of coffee, and I got the crane pictures and a beautiful
morning and then, now here, I got soaked, it was raining. I was tempted to pack
down and I was almost getting out of here, when I realised ‘oh let me just stay a
little more,’ and it really, really, really paid off. I can’t remember when I last
had such an opportunity last. So many deer, so many animals,
deer, foxes, hares within one single evening. It was crazy, but what a day, what a day! Yeah, I think it’s a time for me
to get the last of my tea and then it’s probably… It’s late, I’m getting tired, you
can probably hear that. It has been a long day – early up and late to bed. It’s after 11:00 now, so, let me get my cup of tea and then,
yeah, see you out there!

100 Replies to “WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY when it’s best [behind the scenes]”

  1. Great video Morten. Always happy to see a new Upload. 👍😊
    Keep up the great work, such an Inspiration. Thank you!

  2. Like I have said before Morten, you have to get the shots as they occur as its you business. 
    You provide us with plenty to see anyway, so don't concern yourself about that .

  3. Every time I see a "New" video announced for you, Morten, I hope that it will be a reprise of your outstanding musk oxen in the blizzard or the mountain hares in the blizzard tent safaris. No other You Tube photographer has ever impressed me for the qualities of determination and severe conditions like you did. Hope you do it again someday.

  4. Vultures! I think that was the word you were looking for, when you talked about the birds with great sense of smell and the naked neck… You are going to need the word for Kenia 🙂 I am thankful for another great BTC video. Great!

  5. Another really good video… It's so relaxing I love it. 😍 You actually motivated me to get a job and put some money aside to buy a camera and get out there to join the wildlife photography club ! So thank you very very much.
    Is a canon 7D mark II with a tamron 150-600mm g2 a good starter choice ? I don't know anything about photography gear but I want something that will last.

  6. Great video Morten, inspiring as always 🙂 Do you ever guide people in small groups or individual workshops in your area? I think it would be a great experience for many of your youtube followers, me included 😉 How's the Z6 doing with the new firmware? I was thinking of getting one to complement my D850, but all the negative comments about its autofocus have held me back so far.

  7. Hi Morten, I think you should not hesitate to leave the vlogging camera behind you more often, when there is the need to; shows us the images later and tell us about them in this sort of video, they are also great! Cheers

  8. were you thinking of vultures –Turkey Vultures (I call them Pallbearers ) here in Idaho , The Sandhill Cranes here have little one's with them at this time here cute creatures.

  9. 7:47 looks like a monster in an old Korean Godzilla movie 😉 Not the Head of course 😉
    Thank you for showing us what happens next to the camera…

  10. Hey Morten! Why don't you get a gopro and mount it to the lens collar facing backwards? That way you can always capture your response even if you turn the camera vertical.

  11. I love getting out and searching for the next shot. Practicing my photography and bushcraft skills, attempting to gain experience so maybe the next adventure is better. After a bit more than a year I've learned a plethora of things about myself and my crafts, among the most surprising, I'm happiest when my adventure doesn't turn out to be about my gear. It's true. The fewer things I take the more enjoyable the trip. At first, without skill and experience, I'm taking everything but the kitchen sink. Now it's just a much lighter pack and my camera bag. However, to each their own. I hope your next adventure is better than the last. Good Luck and keep the great videos coming.

  12. Always a pleasure to see and hear your adventures, please keep sharing your excitement, love and respect for wildlife… see you out there!

  13. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, another great video and thank you so much for taking us along with you. It’s after 2 in the morning and I should be in bed, but I’m sitting outside with my dog and a cup of coffee, watching your video and listening to the bats flying around above my head. There’s no better way to watch your adventures. 😀👍👍👍🇮🇪

  14. Cool vlog! It felt like sitting down with you in the forest as you told us about your day. And thank you for adding the photo specs. Good luck with your lecture, and have yourself a great weekend out in nature!

  15. Another great video Morten, don't worry about filming for us!! capture the moment!!Great BTC footage thanks for sharing…Chris…🇬🇧🇨🇦🇬🇧

  16. Hello morten ive been very curious on what af u use when you take birds,foxes. do move the af points manually or use 3d track or just af c with single point. I hope you will make a video on that

  17. Hi me , appreciated man , I am follow from Chile admire you job , your dedication is unique , thanks men for show your job !! Don't stop the up the videos !

  18. I enjoy your vlogs man – don't think I see anyone in full getup going out to shoot like u

  19. I think Morten is fast becoming a YouTube wildlife legend. Morten, Trond Westby, Geoff Cooper, Mark Smith, Steve Mathis and a few others like him are inspiring people to get out a take pictures and enjoy our surroundings and time in nature. I especially like the comments on the videos of these chaps as they are almost always positive and supportive. I wish I had the courage to vlog my experiences such as they are.

  20. Hi Morten a video on how you manage auto focus in this type of scenario would be very helpful. Many thanks 👍

  21. Thanks for the amusing video. Always it is a great pleasure to follow your explanations. Greetings from Germany, Rolf

  22. Thanks a lot for your work. Again you produced a really great content ! I would appreciate a special video about your camera settings and way of thinking when you're about to press the shutter release button !

  23. Just a suggestion Morton, I'm no videographer or vlogger but I was wondering if perhaps you could attach something like a flexible arm (Wimberley "plamp " type thing) to your camera tripod. If you then used a GoPro (or similar) attached to that it would allow you to concentrate on the photography but still get some video footage. I have the manfrotto 502 video head and it has screw sockets on it to allow for attachments. Very entertaining video as always.

  24. if you see 3 cranes alone it is always a couple and a young bird from the previous year. crane's are my favorite bird. i have photographed them in spain in the migration.

  25. A video about your manual Focus Technique and Autofocus Settings would be really great! Thanks for Your awesome work! Love Your Videos and your Passion for photography, nature and wildlife!

  26. Good Night.
    I have a 70 ~ 200mm f / 4 USM lens, without IS.
    I thought about buying a Canon EOS 2X extender.
    What do you think?

  27. Vultures, Morten! Thanks, for sharing Your brilliant photographs, and the adventures that led you to taking them.

  28. Hi Morten. I’m in the market for a super telephoto & am undecided between the versatility of the Nikon 180-400 f/4 or the reach of the Nikon 600mm f/4? You did a video a while back when the Nikon 180-400 f/4 first came out & seemed pretty excited about it but I haven’t seen it in any of your videos since. Seeing as how I have noticed that you upgraded your Nikon 600mm f/4 to the new version am I to believe that you didn’t like the 180-400? If so could you let me know? Many thanks again for another fantastic video. Mark🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

  29. Morten I've learned a lot from you. Your Knowledge is priceless, thank you! I've been using the Z6 with sigma 150-600mm. im @shared_wilderness on IG

  30. Eres el mejor de todos y espero que te valla bien en toda tu vida te felicito por hacer los mejores videos de la vida

  31. Have you thought of going to the amazonas rainforest? i have seen in some sites that there are wildlife that hasn't been documented

  32. Tbh dont like the foreground you put. First of all they are not semetrycal. Second they obstruct the main subject too much. Crane shots were the worst of the bunch.

    Get ahead of the reed and get down on the floor instead please .

  33. I so agree with you comments on when to photograph and when to vlog. As photographers our instinct is to capture the image first but it can be so difficult to strike a balance between the two. That is something I am really struggling with as a newbie to vlogging. Thanks for a great video once again.

  34. Beside this wonderful video: I´m just sitting on my balcony, drinking some good wine (not coffee, too late 🙂 ), listening to Jan Garbarek and enjoying Morten´s Book. My advice: BUY IT! It´s so wonderful!

  35. Hi bro you are very nice photography I love your photography and your nature friendly 👌👌👍👍
    Say care your health and all the best 🤔🤔🤔🙏🙏🙏

  36. Dav Morten. Jeg har lige sat og set 3 af dine videoer. Jeg får aldrig fulgt op på dem. Men nu er tiden, da jeg har en junior på armen 24/7.

    Spørgsmål:
    Jeg gik til Skive – fra Horsens – over Finderup øvelsesterræn, efteråret 18’.

    Der var aftryk fra meget i TN. Har du overvejet at afsøge omr for canis lupus lupus? Glæder mig til at se mere!

  37. good day sir. I really subscribed to your channel recently, but I love his videos, I met him through a Spanish channel "Un poco de todo" . My English is a bad thing, I'm sorry. ❤️

    Like si también lo conociste por "Un poco de todo" xd

  38. hi bro I suggest visiting Indonesia, there you can see various kinds of birds that are very interesting and maybe that you haven't seen

  39. I so totally understand what you are feeling here… a part of being blessed , a part of being lucky and a part of feeling proud to have been at the right place at the right time! Keep going on the good work & off course the pleasure of doing it !!!

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