Ep 259: How to photograph wildlife with guest Scott Bourne

Photographing wildlife can be one of the most rewarding activities in photography.

But how do you deal with the unpredictable nature of animals?

How do you position yourself to get the best shot?

And what can you do when you’re left to the lighting effects of Mother Nature?

In this episode, we talk to wildlife photographer Scott Bourne about why he photographs wildlife, his approach to wildlife photography, the story behind the amazing image he spent 13 years chasing, why birds are the hardest thing to photograph and how to do it, what really makes a great wildlife photo, what most photographers are getting wrong, where the good places are, how to get great shots at a zoo, working around glass and fences, the importance of pre-visualisation and camera settings/focus.

Gina and Valerie hope you enjoy the podcast.

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Show Notes

Listener question

My name is Chris and I am living just outside of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Interesting things to shoot around here… have the ship traffic on the St Clair River which connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie. The main industry around here is Oil and Gas – so there are some interesting possibilities with the plants at dusk, with all their lights.

I am looking to transition into having a photography business, and I found your “So You Want to be a Photographer” podcast… I am so pumped and excited from listening to you and Valerie. I am only up to episode 14, but I have learned so much, and can’t stop listening to you guys! It is very inspiring!

For my birthday, my girlfriend gave me passes to the upcoming air show in London Ontario, and got me into the photo line. I am very stoked – it will be amazing to be that close, and possibly get some amazing shots! Do you have any suggestion that will make my day more successful?

I shoot with a Canon D30. I have a Sigma 120 – 400 F4.5 – 5.6 lens and a Tamron 18-400 F 3.5 – 6.3. My thoughts were to use the Sigma, as it will let more light in? Much heavier lens though… but that is why the make monopods… right?

I also have the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens and a 10 – 18 mm lens – I thought they would be fun with static displays at the show.

Thank you so much for taking the time with the podcasts each week – and being such an inspiration!

Check out the answer to this question in this week’s episode.

How to photograph wildlife with guest Scott Bourne

Scott Bourne

Olympus Visionary Scott Bourne is a professional wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He was one of the founders of “This Week In Photo”, founder of “photofocus.com”, and is the co-founder of the new “PictureMethods” podcast and blog (picturemethods.com). He’s been involved with photography for more than four decades and his work has appeared in more than 200 publications. In addition to being a trainer on lynda.com, he’s led workshops and seminars, taught for or spoken at conferences and events sponsored by Palm Beach Photographic Center, Cooperative Communicators of America, Apple, The National Association of Photoshop Professionals, CreativeLive.com, the National Association of Broadcasters, North American Music Merchants, MacWorld, Washington Professional Photographers Association, WPPI, PartnerCon, PPA, Seattle Art Center, Marketing Essentials International, The Consumer Electronics Show and Olympic Mountain School of Photography.

Scott was one of the first photographers ever to receive the designation Apple Certified Professional Trainer (T3) for Apple’s Aperture. He also previously held the designation Certified Adobe Photoshop Instructor and Professional Photographers of America’s Certified Professional Photographer designation.

Scott Bourne
Olympus Visionary/Bird Photographer

Picture Methods Podcast
Podcast Methods Podcast



Topics covered

  • What makes a good photographer?
  • Why Scott photographs wildlife
  • Scott’s approach to wildlife photography
  • The story behind the amazing image that he spent 13 years chasing.
  • Why birds are the hardest thing to photograph
  • What makes a great wildlife photo?
  • What are photographers getting wrong?
  • Where are good places to start shooting wildlife
  • Any tips to get great shots at a zoo
  • How to work around glass and fences
  • Importance of pre-visualisation
  • Camera settings/focus
Image by Scott Bourne
Image by Scott Bourne
Image by Scott Bourne

Aussie Slang word of the week

Trackie dacks: Trackie dacks are tracksuit trousers, and underdacks are underpants or knickers.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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