Wildlife Photographers to Follow
David Yarrow is one of my favorite wildlife photographers. He is a master of the monochrome image. I especially enjoy his wildlife portraits. He pioneered a steel housing for his camera and placed it in the field to eventually trigger it when wildlife approached. His work is in galleries all over the world and he is considered one of the finest wildlife photographers to ever do it. His images tell a story and evoke emotion.
Bio: David Yarrow was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966. He took up photography at an early age and as a 20-year-old, he found himself working as a photographer for The London Times on the pitch at the World Cup Final in Mexico City. On that day, David took the famous picture of Diego Maradona holding the World Cup and as a result, he was subsequently asked to cover the Olympics and numerous other sporting events. But he refused to be pigeonholed and his interests expanded as he grew into himself. It was only many years later, that he found his true comfort zone in documenting the natural world and the last eight years have been career-defining.
Follow: Website: https://davidyarrow.photography/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidyarrow/
Thomas Mangelsen is an absolute legend when it comes to wildlife photography and conservation. He is one of the most influential photographers in any genre and has captured some of the most iconic wildlife shots ever recorded (think Katmai bear snatching salmon out of the air). His work is displayed in museums across the world, but he also has a spectacular gallery in Jackson, WY. Stop by if you’re joining us on a Grand Teton or Yellowstone workshop.
Bio: Renowned American nature and wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen has traveled throughout the natural world for over 40 years observing and photographing the Earth’s last great wild places. A Nebraska native, Mangelsen’s love of nature, his life outdoors and business success were heavily influenced by his father. An avid sportsman, Harold Mangelsen took his sons to favorite blinds along the Platte River in Nebraska to observe the great flocks of ducks, geese, and cranes that migrate through the valley. From these adventures, Mangelsen learned important lessons for photographing in the field, most notably patience and understanding animal behavior.
Follow: Website: https://www.mangelsen.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thomasdmangelsen/
Ami Vitale has traveled to over 100 countries and immersed herself in every assignment. That is why her imagery is so moving and has been crucial to conservation movements throughout the world. She has captured images depicting endangered species and continues to be a great wildlife advocate. She started photographing many genres but transitioned towards wildlife and she is one of my favorite wildlife photographers.
Bio: Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images and is on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation Currently based in Montana, frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Follow: Website https://www.amivitale.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amivitale/
Brian Skerry specializes in marine and underwater photography. Underwater imagery usually blows my mind, but Brian’s work, in particular, is fantastic. Keeping in tune with the theme of most on this list, Brian’s work follows a narrative and has focused on species in harm and worldwide environmental issues. I especially enjoy Brian’s images of Right whales and the threatened reefs.
Bio: Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014 he was one of five photographers named as a National Geographic Photography Fellow. In 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador and in June 2017 he was awarded the title of Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.
Follow: Website: https://brianskerry.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brianskerry/
Marsel van Oosten
Marsel van Oosten is one of those do it all photographers. He has excellent landscape work, but his wildlife work is critically-acclaimed. Marsel leads many expeditions to areas that are not often visited. For instance, he just got back from capturing some landscapes of Iran. His wildlife work follows the same mindset, and he has captured some fantastic moments. He blends his love for landscape with wildlife and often includes wildlife with brilliant sunrise/sunset light. I really like Marsel’s processing too.
Bio: Marsel van Oosten is a Dutch professional photographer specializing in nature and wildlife photography. Marcel’s images are known for his use of lighting, composition, color, and perspective. In his work, Van Oosten tries to simplify, to get rid of the extraneous. In addition to several first prizes in the International Photography Awards (IPA), Marsel’s awards include first prize in the “European Wildlife Photographer of the Year” competition, first prize in the “Natures Best International Photography Awards”, and he was a winner in the National Geographic and Photo District News “Travel Photography Awards” and the “Travel Photographer of the Year Awards.”
Follow: Website: https://www.squiver.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marselvanoosten/
Shannon Wild is one of many great Australian wildlife photographers. I included Shannon because I really like her processing and shooting style. Her images are very vibrant, something that you don’t often see in the wildlife realm, but it works really well for her. She combines the contrasts of the light, the wildlife, and the landscape to create really compelling images with vibrant color. She also shoots backlit wildlife, which gives many of her shots a unique, ethereal mood.
Bio: I’m an Aussie based in Africa and working wherever the wildlife calls. I’m a passionate wildlife lover and conservationist at heart with a need for technical excellence in what I do. Since 2004 I’ve worked as a wildlife photographer and cinematographer for clients such as NatGeo Wild, WildAid, United Nations as well as various wildlife NGO’s and non-profits along with commercial campaigns.
Follow: Website: www.shannonwild.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannon__wild/
Gerry van der Walt
Gerry van der Walt is one of the first wildlife photographers that I came across on Instagram. I eventually started listening to his podcast and watched some of his videos, and wow I was impressed. Wildlife photography can be a lot of point and click, and waiting for that right moment. Gerry’s approach is much different. He is a true artist in every sense of the word. Gerry experiments with many techniques to try and create art with his wildlife imagery. He is creative and his work is phenomenal. One of my favorite photographers for sure.
Bio: I am an international expedition and tour leader, public speaker, photographer, podcast host and co-founder of Wild Eye. By combining a passion for people, travel, photography and nature with my education and more than 15 years experience as a field guide and lodge manager my goal is to not only assist people, whether through teaching them new skills or pushing them creatively, in capturing the beauty of nature but also to create an awareness of the fragile balance that exists in nature and this amazing world we live in. I believe that my passion speaks for itself and my goal is to keep on creating experiences and visuals that will keep an awareness of our planet’s natural heritage in people’s minds.
Follow: Website: www.gerryvanderwalt.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gerryvanderwalt/
Will Burrard-Lucas is an absolute pioneer in the wildlife photography realm. He is known for developing contraptions that allow photographing wildlife species (especially those in Africa) at close range. He has spent time living in Africa so has an incredible portfolio of the fauna on the continent. He is an active conservationist as well and uses his image to progress wildlife movements in the region. In 2019, he captured an image of a black leopard in Kenya. It was the first recording in 100 years in Africa. He is a mega-talented wildlife photographer. Some of my favorite images come from his ‘Wildlife at Night’ collection.
Bio: I am a professional wildlife photographer from the UK. I aim to use innovation and technology to achieve fresh perspectives in my work. I am the founder of Camtraptions, a company specializing in products for remote and camera trap photography, and WildlifePhoto.com, a website which offers a range of educational resources and safaris for photographers. I enjoy photographing wildlife all over the world but African wildlife has become my primary focus in recent years. I spent part of my childhood in Tanzania, where I first developed a passion for Africa and its wildlife. In 2012, I moved to Zambia for a year and I spent much of my time exploring the Luangwa Valley.
I am passionate about wildlife conservation. I have partnered with a number of conservation organizations around the world, donating my time and images to help them with their fundraising activities. I also try to raise awareness for these organizations in my talks and on my website and social media channels. Through my work, I hope to inspire greater appreciation for the wildlife that shares our planet and encourages conservation action.
Follow: Website: www.burrard-lucas.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/willbl/
Shaaz Jung is another photographer who puts prime importance on being an artist. He divides his work into collections with a focused theme. His has an extraordinary collection of predator portraits where the animals are shown with unique expressions. He also uses a lot of his wildlife imagery to create manipulated scenes with greater symbolism. For instance, he has created a composite of wildebeest migrating through a city to demonstrate the abolishment of their migratory pathways. He has really great work, be sure to check him out.
Bio: Shaaz studied Economics at Utrecht University in Europe. Instead of taking up a corporate career, he came back to the forests of India, where he spent most of his childhood. He decided to spend his life tracking and studying leopards in South India and helped establish the Bison Resort; a tented camp built on eco-tourism guidelines.
Today, in India and Africa, Shaaz’s family and their camps use ecotourism as a tool for conservation. In East Africa, they run two safari camps in Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. They also run a trust in India known as The Buffer Conflict Resolution Trust of India (BCRTI) which helps tackle the man-animal conflict and provide vocational training in the area.
Over time, his research and knowledge in Kabini and its animals earned Shaaz quite a reputation and his work was soon published worldwide. He has spent the last decade guiding safaris at The Bison and specializes in tracking big cats. He has dedicated the last four years to studying and understanding the elusive black panther.
Follow: Website: https://shaazjung.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaazjung/
Isaac Spotts is the youngest wildlife photographer on this list. In 2018, he was named Nature’s Best Youth Photographer of the Year. He is based in Jackson, WY so he spends a lot of time photographing in the wildlife meccas of Grand Teton and Yellowstone NP. He has a keen eye for creative compositions, and definitely a unique processing style. His images have a dramatic feel to them, and his color control is excellent. I especially like how he uses depth of field in a creative manner. Isaac is a must follow. His image of the bull moose sparing is one of my favorite wildlife images.
Bio: My name is Isaac Spotts. I’m a young, passionate wildlife and nature photographer based in Jackson, WY. You can always guarantee I’m out shooting photos in my free time. My love for photography has been recognized by National Geographic Editors, three times published in their Daily Dozen. Most recently my work was featured in Jackson Hole Magazine and I was named the 2018 Nature’s Best Youth Photographer of the Year (Windland Smith Rice International Award), getting my “Battle of the Bulls” image displayed in the Smithsonian Exhibition.
Follow: Website: https://isaacspicz.com/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isaacspicz/
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com
Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”
Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)