The power of Animalscapes
04/08/2009 by rafaelrojasphoto
I must reckon I am one of those “landscape-guys”. Even if I feel attracted to Nature in general, it is true that my hands sweat specially when i witness great light flickering over the land. However, that does not mean that I frown on wildlife photography. During the last years, I have discovered how I enjoy taking those images that could be “labelled” as “animalscapes”.
These images, where animals are depicted in their natural environment, have a great power as they normally show a very deep approach of the whole natural balance. The landscape part of the image is given a lot of life and scale by including an animal into it. At the same time, the animal is portraited in its environment, so that the image, as well as being creative or artistic, has a very interesting documentary load.
However, even if landscape photography and wildlife photography are themselves very difficult to master (almost impossible I would say, as a nature photographer will never surpass nature itself with his/her work), animalscapes are tremendously difficult to succeed. You will need a powerful landscape image with a very good light that would almost work on its own, and an animal in the good place and the good time doing something special that depicts its behaviour. Impossible?. Almost.
During the last years I have seen that some of what i consider my best wildlife images have come in an “animalscape version”. It has not been done on purpose. Maybe my “landscape-guy” label has forced me without realizing it to analyze the scene in terms of landscape with a wildlife touch, rather than focusing on the animals alone. I have frequently caugth myself using a 24-70 mm zoom when all the rest of photographers around were using the long telephoto weapons. Do I mean with that i am kind of special or right in my approach? Far from that. What i mean is that maybe from my sub-conscious i feel more attracted to the “whole” picture, the relationship between the animals and the land, the land itself as a craddle for life. I tend to be just more attentive to another kind of image.
The procedure has been more or less the same. Normal or short telephoto zoom, graduated filters, pre-composition suiting the landscape more than animals, observation to see how the animals were moving around the land, pre-focus, pre-exposition, camera on tripod and a long wait till the moving part of the image (the animals) were where i wanted them to be or did what i wanted them to do. Normally, this came after I took a series of more conventional close-up images focused on the animals themselves (normally very far from the quality of images you see from other photographers!), and as soon as i had the “switch” of my photographic mind into “animalscape mode”.
A very rewarding kind of image that freezes a fleeting moment when everything is put in the good place for a second or less.
Thanks for reading and great light to you all.
Note: Click on the photos to see them bigger!