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5 Minutes with Shannon Wild - wildlife photographer and cinematographer

11/23/2020

They say variety is the proverbial spice of life, and so dancing across the genres of photography and filmmaking, despite there always being a little overlap, is always fun and insightful for us, and we hope you, to see the different styles of photographers out there. This week we chatted with our friend and stunning wildlife photographer and cinematographer, Shannon Wild! 

Please make sure you visit Shannon on the web and Instagram and Facebook

Who are you, what do you do and how long have you been doing it? 

My name is Shannon Wild and I’m a wildlife photographer and cinematographer, so far for 17 years. I’m Australian but moved to South Africa in 2013.

Shannon_Benson_ThinkTank_Photo_Interview_Natgeo

When you started out in the field you’re in, how did you get your first “break” / was there a defining moment you just knew “This is what I want to do!” 

I was working as a graphic designer for many years and bought a camera for work. I’ve also been passionate about animals and was a volunteer wildlife carer with a focus on reptile rehabilitation, so naturally I started taking pictures of reptiles and it processed quite rapidly from there. I soon discovered that I enjoyed taking photos more than my day job so I made a concerted effort to learn and practice as much as possible so I could eventually make it my profession.

Dancing_Animals_By_Shannon_Benson_ShannonWild

When people like me ask you that question “What’s your favourite photograph you’ve ever taken” which one do you think of first?

After 17 years there are a handful that come to mind but the first is my image called ‘White Rhino with Cattle Egrets’. The position of the birds are they fly toward the rhino make it appear as if the flight sequence of one bird, depicted by three birds. The sky was moody and I shot very low, as I like to do, to simplify the background. I audibly squealed when I saw the picture, something that I certainly don’t do often.

Leopard_In_A_Tree_By_Shannon_Wild

Do you have a photographic inspiration?

Nature is my inspiration. (And we can see why!) 

Inquisitive_Polar_Bear_5_Minutes_With_Shannon_Wild

What gear do you mostly use and what bags do you use mainly?

These days filming wildlife documentaries is the bulk of my work, I use various RED cameras and cinema lenses.  For bags it’s Think Tank Photo, no question, they’ve lasted me for years, travelled all over the world and survived every climate imaginable. I use a mix of the Video and Production Manager bags as well as various sizes of rollers bags, cable management and filter nests.

Golden_Impala_In_The_Sun_By_Shannon_Wild_ThinkTankPhoto

Any advice for someone wanting to do what you do?

My best advice for young aspiring photographers and cinematographers is persistence.
Half the battle of wildlife photography is actually getting out there, spending the time to increase your opportunity for wildlife sightings and gaining more confidence with your gear and subjects.
Take advantage of the wildlife around you . . . that may be your garden, local park or even somewhere more wild. 
Become familiar with your gear . . . this is absolutely key and is only possible with practice. I recommend beginners focus their learning on one aspect at a time so they don’t get overwhelmed and confused. Try to thoroughly understand one component, such as Aperture, or Shutter Speed, or ISO for example and then move onto the next component until all the pieces will come together and you will clearly understand how each element works together and affects the other.

Rhino_By_Shannon_Wild

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