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Nature Photography - Introduction

Joe Kegley | E-Mail | Updated 02-12-2011

Sparring Elk

Nature photography has mushroomed into one of the most popular pastimes within the digital photography arena. The discipline combines a passion for natural history with artistic expression and encompasses a wide range of aspects such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, and close-ups. For a few, nature photography may be a source of income, for others it's only a hobby. Yet both ends of the spectrum have in common a deep appreciation for natural history.

Without a doubt nature photography has become big business. There are thousands of folks offering "photography tours" for a price and a multitude of instructional books/videos available for purchase. In addition there are computer and printer hardware, post-processing software, and actual camera equipment required for all digital photography genres. A high-end camera and super telephoto lens combination for bird photography may cost upwards of $12000.

As of this writing doing a search on Google for "nature photography" without quotes brings back 15,600,000 results and a search with quotes brings back 4,800,000 results. Yep, nature photography is big business and many of us are caught on the wrong side of the transaction.

Though the above information may seem a bit dismal, it's not meant to discourage you but to set a level of expectation. The market for nature photography is oversaturated with would-be professionals selling their images, instructional services, and touring services. Don't expect to jump on board and receive quick financial rewards, there's a lot of competition including a good number of professional nature photographers already established.

Why nature photography? You'll find that most folks who enter into the nature photography genre already have an active interest (or obsession) with the outdoors and natural history. All have an appreciation of (and respect for) the earth and its natural resources. You'll find folks with an assortment of backgrounds and lifestyles participating in nature photography including biologists, botanists, hikers, backpackers, hunters, fisherman, kayakers, campers, birders, and general outdoor enthusiasts. The list could go on. If you enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the earth's natural elements or have a fascination with fauna or flora then nature photography will enhance your appreciation for all things natural.

The following pages discuss many of the tools used by nature photographers. Our hope is that these pages can provide guidance for those in the process of selecting equipment specific to their interest .

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