Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What film do you use?
A: I have been using Fuji Velvia because I find the color has a wider range. However, the new line of Kodak professional film also is very interesting and I am using it more often. It is important to realize that different types of film have different characteristics, and learning these is an important piece of knowledge depending on the locations one is in.

Q: What do you rate your film at?
A: Fuji Velvia is rated ISO 50, but I rate it at ISO 40, which I believe is closer to its true speed.

Q: What kind of camera equipment do you use?
A: I use Canon 35mm bodies and lenses. I have lenses ranging from wide-angle and macro up to 200-400 zooms as well. I always choose carefully when I travel and rarely bring everything. I also have a medium format Mamiya 645 camera which I am starting to use more often. But again, not always when on long trips.

Q: How do you decipher the composition of the image in the frame?
A: Keep in mind the importance of isolating your subject, this will only make the image stronger. Try to get rid of clutter in the frame that detracts from your subject. You can do this a few different ways, either with a telephoto lens or by changing the aperture, it is generally up to the photographer to decide.

Q: Do you have any hints for shooting portraits of animals in the wild?
A: It is important to get enough of the animal in the frame, especially when shooting hoofed animals such as deer and caribou, as to avoid the image looking too much like a wall mount. By giving a little more depth to the body of the animal, the problem is easily solved.

Q: Is it better to shoot horizontal or vertical images?
A: There are times when both formats are equally valuable. I try to shoot both formats, if the situation permits, to cover all my bases.

Q: What time of day is it best to shoot?
A: Although daylight film is designed for sunny conditions, midday sun is usually the worst for photography. Midday sun generally produces flatness of form and washed-out colors. Early and late in the day the tonal range is less extreme and the film can record more subtle gradations of tone.

Q: Do you ever use a flash?
A: Sometimes it is much more desirable to use a fill- flash during daylight hours. Not only does this brighten up the subject, but it also helps to freeze motion, maintaining a crisp focus.

Q: Do you use any filters?
A: The only filters I use are a polarizer and sometimes a graduated neutral-density filter. The polarizer helps to take out the reflections, deepens the colors and makes the blue of the sky darker. The neutral-density filter balances out the extreme contrast of lighting in a particular situation. It enables the photographer to use the same shutter speed and aperture for both the highlights and shadows within a certain frame.

Q: Do you generally try to use one particular shutter speed and aperture?
A: Definitely not. Varying your shutter speed can give two totally different images. A fast shutter speed that freezes motion is one perspective while slowing the shutter speed down and panning the camera is an entirely different image. It's good to try different things and play with your camera, you'll learn what works and what doesn't.

Q: How long are you gone on a typical trip?
A: The length of each trip varies greatly. I generally have an exact idea of what I am going to photograph before even leaving the studio. This makes my time much more efficient for wherever I am. Total, I am generally gone about 10 months out of the year shooting in the field.