Celebrating Earth Day Everyday

Social media is an excellent way for photographers to connect with other creatives from all walks of life. You can easily share stories, support each other, and learn from one another, no matter where you are in the world or the stage of your personal or professional journey.

We love bringing photographers together and hearing about the work they’re producing their unique backgrounds, and why they’re passionate about the work they create. That’s why we hosted another Twitter Space with a few photographers we admire.

This time, we connected with wildlife and landscape photographers to celebrate Earth Day. We went live on Twitter and brought together a handful of people from our photo community for an inspiring and surprisingly educational discussion.

Listen to our full chat below, and read on for the highlights – including a great candid conversation about protecting the beautiful places and wildlife we photograph, advice for aspiring photographers, and gear preferences from our featured guests.

Cover images courtesy of Tom Schillinger, Sophie Carr and Brandon Guell.

Meet Tom Schillinger, Sophie Carr and Brandon Guell.

When planning for our talk, we asked each of these photographers to select a few photos to share and discuss. Take a look at the photos they selected below and listen on to hear the story behind each image. Then follow these photographers on social media to see more of their work!

Brandon: I have a lot of thoughts on the matter, to be honest. In my work, I collect adults, eggs, and embryos. I collect different species of snakes, I run experiments, I collect samples, and I do all of these things under the necessary permissions and permits from the residing national governments and different institutions. All of these things are done very well, but it gives me this different access to potentially photograph animals in these unnatural contexts. And despite having that very easy access, I don’t do that.

So the photos I’ve shared today and pretty much every photo that I’ve really published or shared has never been in that context because I’m very adamant about shooting wildlife in natural contexts and natural spaces with minimal disturbance. That’s something that I just adhere to, it’s something that I really enjoy, and I think it also makes photography as a concept more interesting. And as a practice, it makes it more thrilling and also more challenging, too.

Sophie: Yes, it’s quite interesting because I’m not really a wildlife photographer. But I do come across wildlife from time to time… and you’re always in a bit of a quandary as to how far you should be, how close you should get.

Iceland obviously has a huge number of tourists who travel all over the country, and a lot of them have different kinds of ethical standards for protecting the land… But I try to leave as little of an impact as I can and as a landscape photographer, 

Tom: I love using telephoto lenses because I’m torn apart, to be honest, with this whole wildlife discussion.

I think it’s okay to feed animals to a certain degree or to lure them into a particular position to get a nice shot if you’re careful and not invasive… but all of these trips that people are doing where I see 100 photographers line up to photograph penguins because it’s an organized event… I don’t know; I cannot resonate with that. I’d instead step back, and I’m the one 50 meters behind the seals here in the ocean while tourists are going up close and almost touching them.

And it gets me mad because it doesn’t bring anything other than having a cheap shot for invading nature in a way that’s not healthy… then this stuff goes on Instagram, and people like it. I don’t know; it’s weird.

Brandon: The first couple of years I was getting into photography, I only worked with two lenses. I’m on Canon, and my first camera was a 5D Mark III, which is a fantastic camera. The lens I like to use the most is the 100mm macro lens. It is just a fantastic lens. It’s because most of the photography that I enjoy is getting close. A lot of my work, and a lot of the photography I like to do, is at night. So I do a lot of off-camera handheld flash photography with this macro lens, which gives you so much flexibility with where to put the light.

I don’t think any of these pictures I shared today were taken on that lens, but a few of them were taken with the other lens I started off with, which is just a nifty fifty, a 50mm from Canon. It’s an overall go-to lens, really fast, really light.

I started with those for a long time, and over the years and more recently, I’ve picked up some bigger telephoto lenses, which I have enjoyed using when photographing other types of animals. But for me, macro photography is what I want the most, and I would not recommend any different lens on the camera systems than the 100mm macro.

Tom: I obviously love the Sony A7RV for the resolution, but it’s also a perfect hybrid between my wildlife and macro work. The autofocus is insane for its fast-moving nature, and the 60MP is ideal for my macro work.

The Sony 100 – 400 4.5 – 5.6 OSS GM is one of my favorite lenses due to the focal range, of course, but also for macro. With its minimum focus distance of just 1m, you can get incredibly close to the subject while maintaining enough space not to scare away sensitive lifeforms.

The Sony 200-600 5.6 – 6.3 OSS G is the ultimate wildlife lens, and the Laowa Ultra Macro 2:1 2.8 is my go-to macro lens.

As for drones, I use a DJI Mavic 3 with the Polar Pro Lens kit.

And for my tripods, I have the RRS TFC-24 MK2 Series2 Ultralight Carbon Fiber Tripod and the RRS TVC-34 Versa Series 3 Mk2 Carbon Fiber Tripod. The TFC is my absolute favorite tripod I have used by far. Especially since it is super easy to clean and service. The TVC-34 is basically the same as the other but offers the needed sturdiness to support my big tele lenses.

Tom told us about a handful of other lenses too! Check out a photo of his lens gallery below and follow him on Twitter (@pixonoid) to see more of the images he creates with his gear.


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