Seeking inspiration for extraordinary wildlife destinations? Wildlife photographer and tour leader Mark Sisson lists his must-see bucket list locations in this extract article that appeared in Wild Planet Photo magazine.
Bucket List Wildlife Photography Locations with Mark Sisson
Ever since turning full-time with my wildlife photography some 15 years or so ago, the question I am most frequently asked seems to revolve around what is my favourite species that I’ve photographed. Because I am still happy to simply have the opportunity to be outdoors with my camera and engaging with wildlife, the very genuine answer that I give is, “the last species that I spent any significant time with.” Put simply, if it is in a good setting, is doing something interesting and absorbing from my perspective and preferably in good light then I am as happy to spend the day photographing a House Sparrow as something more exotic.
The same sort of response applies to the question that generally follows this one (increasingly so now that overseas travel makes up a large part of my work mix). When I was asked to pull together insights into some of what I consider to be the locations that deserve to be on a wildlife photographer’s bucket list, then the locations I have come up with are inevitably slanted towards those I have most recently enjoyed, as well as those I am most anticipating returning to in the immediate future.
Aside from my local work this spring (rabbits are featuring high on that list), my last trip at the time of writing this was to the southern-most state in the USA, that of Texas. The visit, which was a return for me personally, but the first time I had run it for Natures Images, the wildlife photography holiday company I co-run, was timed to coincide with the spring migration. It involved visiting three different ranches that have established their own excellent selection of hides (or blinds, if you hail from the US itself) which, along with careful feeding and provision of water, act as a magnet for birds either passing through, visiting for the summer to breed or resident throughout the year. The result is that, for pure bird photography and several species that are unique to this corner of the country, this must be one of the most species-rich and therefore photographically busy places to go to.
Many are small species and so a good focal length of lens is critical: for this trip I was trying out the new Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM | Sports for the first time and at times supplementing it with the new 1.4x Tele Converter TC1401 as well. To my mind this sort of setup on a good full frame body is ideal for most hide based bird photography and it proved no exception here: it’s equally important mind to have a really good solid tripod especially if working with a long lens like this is new to you.
Although there are opportunities with larger species including raptors, such as Crested Caracara and the iconic Greater Roadrunner (he of Warner Bros “beep-beep” fame), as well as a number of mammals that can grace the scene including Collared Peccaries (Javelinas as they are called locally), Ground Squirrels and plenty of Eastern Cottontails, this is mostly small bird photography territory and so the simple advice of watch where things go, pick your perch, visualise your final image composition and then wait for the bird to move into position very much applies.
Mark is a widely published and award winning nature photographer. As a Director of Natures images, the leading wildlife photography holiday and workshop business, he has many opportunities to travel with his camera as well as the opportunity to share his passion and knowledge for nature photography.
Follow this link to read the full article on the Wild Planet Photo website: http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2017/bucket-list-wildlife-photography-locations-with-sigma/
To visit Mark’s website, click this link: www.marksissonphoto.co.uk