Tin Man LEE


Hello and welcome to my page! Like many of you, I had a full-time job not related to photography. Then one day, all of a sudden, I discovered wildlife photography. Little did I know that my life would never be the same. During my days off from work, instead of sitting on a couch reading a book or watching TV, I found myself wading through chest-deep frigid glacier water, trekking in knee-deep wet mud in deep forests, or running in crusty snow—in other words, "immersing" myself in photography. Wildlife photography rekindled the deep love of wild animals and nature that I had as a kid. Through photography, I found an outlet to express my feelings and reveal my dreams. It's been an incredible journey, and I am so thankful for the new friends I have made along the way, the new places I have gone, and all of the unbelievable encounters with the animals that I have had the privilege of meeting. I hope you'll join me on this amazing journey through my photos and blog posts. Drop me a line at "Contact Me" or reach me at my Facebook page anytime. And most of all, don't forget to sign up for my free newsletter. Thank you so much for your support.

For more info about my photography, here are a few articles about me that I am incredibly grateful for:

#1:  The Art of Nature Photography, foreword by Steve Freligh, Co-founder and CEO of Nature's Best Photography, for the "Natural World, Cultural Elegance", a Photography Exhibition by Tin Man Lee, Sept 2015 - Feb 2016, HKUST, Hong Kong.

#2: Google/Nik Photographer Spotlight +Tin Man Lee – Nature and Wildlife Photographer by Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler. Special thanks to Laurie Rubin May 4th, 2013

#3: 13 'How did you get that?' wildlife photos from Tin Man Lee by Jaymi Heimbuch, Mother Nature Network, Dec 30, 2013

And I am very honored to be selected as one of the:

"22 Wildlife Photographers that Work Wonders" by NatureTTL, along with the legendary Mr. Tom Mangelsen and many other master photographers.

"10 Wildlife Photographers You Should Follow Right Now" by 500px.com, one of the most popular photography sites on the web.

FullSizeRender (2)


By Tin Man Lee, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA 11/6/2014


#2: MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOKS. The Magnificent World of Wildlife by Reader's Digest was a book I hand-picked as my birthday present when I turned six. The book resurfaced recently when mom was looking through storage boxes in Hong Kong for grandma's old photos. Mom said I used to read this book repeatedly, cover to cover, and bring it with me everywhere during my childhood. I faintly remembered the existence of the book, but didn’t remember any of it’s content, so Mom took a few snapshots of the book and sent me. I was surprised to find that the animals I have been so thrilled to photograph were all mentioned in the book, with pictures similar to mine! This book later led me to fall in love with all books written by Ernest Seton especially "Monarch, the big bear of Tallac".

The magnificent animal world.

#3: TO BE HAPPY, ONLY DO IT FOR YOURSELF. I take pictures for my own self-satisfaction—to create images for my own enjoyment and viewing, so that I can remember special experiences with my "wild brothers and sisters." I only go looking for the specific species I dream of photographing, and I only take photos of them the way I want—not to please anyone else but me. Nothing else really matters. It's a way of finding myself.

#4: A LOST WORLD WAS FOUND. What started as an escape from stress ultimately took me on various trips into nature. Little did I know that I would rekindled my childhood dream. I found a whole new world through wildlife photography—a world outside of human beings, where wild animals are busy minding their own business and trying to survive. Many species are either struggling with the disappearing sea ice, enduring the loss of their natural habitats from urban planning, or running from hunters, yet most of them strive, adapt, and survive. And they are so beautiful. I am privileged to have the opportunity to record the otherworldly, fleeting moments when my life and theirs briefly intersect—moments that have taken my breath away numerous times. Through photography, I can record and tell myself that these were not dreams, but instead were very real. It's a wonderful world out there, and we humans have a lot to learn from it.

#5: "THE PHOTOS YOU TOOK SUCK," a girl once said to me. It was the summer of 2000, but I still remember it vividly. One doesn't easily forget a moment like that. But my love of photography wasn't based on a desire for validation. For a time, I seriously considered earning an MFA degree in photography, but in the end I chose engineering, focusing on imaging (largely because MFA programs require a portfolio submission, and I didn’t have one). Plus, I always thought imaging and photography were similar. Anyway, one thing leads to another, and I now have a day job in biotechnology, which I do enjoy a lot.

#6: READING IS MY OBSESSION. I was an only child, and my parents used to bring me to their workplace every day, where I would read non-stop. Even now, I can sit in a coffee shop or a book store for hours, just reading, thinking and dreaming. When I let my imagination roam, that’s as good as life gets—especially if there is a latte involved! I feel that if I can come up with one good idea from all the stuff that I read in a day, it's well worth it. I remember I loved the wildlife stories of Ernest Seton when I was a kid. I was so touched by the stories that I would force my parents to sit down in front of me while I gave them a loud stand-up oration—and I would feel depressed if they didn't cry after hearing the stories. I wondered how it was possible that they were not touched, so I would force them to sit still so that I could rephrase the stories, again and again. Now I feel bad that my parents had to sit through all these long speeches! One of my favorite stories was "Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac." Little did I know that I would one day come face-to-face with a brown bear, and take a photo of him pouncing in my direction at Katmai National Park. The bear looked exactly like the one I imagined in my childhood!

#7: DRAWING, CALLIGRAPHY, AND POEMS. I love animals, and I have loved drawing them since I was a small child. It all started with our yearly boat ride back to my native village to visit grandma, when my parents gave me a sketch book. The ride took a whole day, and I drew nonstop. I also love to practice Chinese calligraphy. I have always been intrigued by the lines, strokes, styles, and patterns of Chinese characters, and have been practicing since I was seven. My parents recently sent me a few pictures that they found while sorting through some boxes. They reminded me that my calligraphy was much more beautiful when I was a kid! These were the awards I got when I was 12, I believe. It's been a downward spiral ever since!


I also love Chinese poems (and Chinese "Ci"), which we had to study and recite when we were kids. But only recently, when I revisited these poems after having had a taste of life—rejections, failures, loss of loved ones, injuries, breakups, etc.), did I start to realize how deep the feelings were that these poems conveyed. The poets’ creativity, emotion, imagination, attention, understanding, and observation of nature are just so incredibly good. Some of the poets were keenly aware of the light, the life cycle of nature, and the behavior of the animals in their poems—things I would have never realized if I had not been to the wilderness myself. I love Su Dongpo (Su-Shi) the most. Who else has the courage to write two poems right before being sent out for a sudden execution after being framed in a political struggle? (Luckily, the execution was stopped at the last moment—otherwise we wouldn't have many of his masterpieces.)





Due to popular demand, here's a quality translation of these Chinese words that I found on the Internet, by Professor Chunshen Zhu. This is an excerpt from "Reflections on the Ancient Red Cliff": “I must laugh at myself, letting sentiments grow into grey hairs too soon. But isn't life a dream, after all? Let me pledge this cup to the River, to the Moon.”

How beautiful and poignant! Thanks for sticking with me to the end. I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about my life.


  1. Kris Kessinger on March 7, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Hey Tin man I struggle with sharp images. I shoot AV and single point focus. Can you give me some pointers? Do you offer any photo workshops?

  2. Mimi M Routh on June 15, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Sir, your story is inspiring — and your pictures are over the top! I hope your body is responding to wise care, helpful exercise, etc. I volunteer to care for injured and orphaned wildlife — including bears — in the Sierras. We see the furless baby chipmunks, some bird eggs not yet hatched, bear cubs who still need cuddling, etc. All are eventually released to the wild unless a sanctuary appears best for a few. So it is wonderful to see mother love and healthy wildlife in your pictures. Take good care of your Earth Suit! God bless!

  3. Barb Taylor on July 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Your determination to beat the odds is inspiring, and a good lesson for us all. The passion we feel for our craft pushes us forward constantly, and that’s what I love about photography. Your passion for photography got you to where you are today and you have my deep admiration. Your photographs of birds and wildlife take my breath away.

    • Yulua, Pavel on March 5, 2024 at 12:04 am

      Dear Tin Man! We would like to offer you participation in an international photo exhibition in Russia. The theme of the exhibition is “Motherhood in the Wild”.
      If you are interested in this project, please contact us!
      Yulia and Pavel Glazkov

  4. Bishal Katuwal on August 30, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Hey Tin, 
    This is Bishal Katuwal, I’ve worked with some major brands in the industry running Facebook ads and Google Ads.  I was an employee at Traffic and funnels where I learned all the marketing knowledge. After that, I went on to work with some major brands in the industry… 
    I am emailing you today because I really like your product “Sharp Winning Photos 2.0
    ” and I believe there’s a huge potential for that product. 
    And because I am reaching out to you, I am willing to spend my own “Money” on ads on your product and also do all the heavy work like creating ad copy, editing videos for ads, day to day management, etc… and all you have to do is split the profit we make from it. 
    We’re a marketing agency and clients pay us $3K and more for our services every month. I am not asking you to leave whoever you are working with now(if you are working with someone) and come to us. I am saying you can keep them and work with us on the side and share the profits. 
    If you’re looking for a serious growth without having a lot of ads headache then let’s chat. 
    You can visit my Facebook profile as well. Also messaged you on your business page and your personal FB profile. 

    Looking forward to talking to you 
    Thanks Bishal K 

  5. Jesse Anderson on December 30, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Tin Man, (what a great name) I am an artist. Do you allow mere mortals, like myself, to use your photos for reference material for paintings? Your work is simply incredible and I would sure like to try one of them. My website is jessanderson.com if you’d like to see some of my work. I appreciate your time. I only wish I could spend some quality time out in the woods with you. I love to take my own photos when I can. Thank you. JESS

  6. DAVE on March 16, 2021 at 12:45 am

    What happened to the PROMISED DENOISING E-BOOK AFTER SPENDING AN HOUR TO WAIT FOR IT ON YOUR PROMOTIONAL SEMINAR? (now requested 3 times) I just get all the paid for offer emails that are fast becoming junk as I couldn’t trust getting a refund if you don’t live up to a simple free ebook promise??

  7. Earl Deickman on May 28, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Great work! Do you make presentations to camera clubs?

  8. Bill on October 12, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    How do I get the denoising e-book? Because of Covid I cannot afford your course at this time, but I am really interested in receiving the denoising e-book.

  9. Kim Stanton (Australia) on November 22, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    Hey Tin Man Lee
    Love your photo in Bears Remembered.
    I am a mega Coastal Brown fan and have been to Kodiak and Katmai.
    Going again next August. Jon Kumamoto (Wilson) is my hero !!!

    Congratulations on a wonderful shot !!!

  10. Patrick Smith on January 28, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    Hi, Tin Man!
    My name is Patrick Smith, I’m a photojournalist in the Orange County area. who also love’s wildlife photography with all of heart and passion. Photography, especially wildlife photography has been a life-long passion of mine. I’ve not made much money from my wildlife work, but ever my now again I do. Long story short, I’m local, I’ve seen you at Bolsa Chica. I took a few “once in a lifetime” images of some Cheetahs, and I feel they are my personal best of my life, especially for wildlife, but maybe period. I will not share them or anything, they are maybe so good I believe I may win some awards. I would never ask anyone to help me unless I thought it was destiny?

    Like you…. I too picked up and left everything and started a journey to figuring out how to make photography work for me. Anyways I’d so greatly appreciate if you would be willing to take a look at the best two of three frames out of a burst? I’ve looked a lot online and I truly believe these images are special or a notch above. National Geographic good. However I have zero experience with contest and I’m really hoping you could give me a little advice. I’d be happy to return the favor by appearing as a guest speaker on your show or lol take you to a nice dinner? I was recent diagnosed with CTE, from TBI’s. It’s been a rough road lately for me, and I have 12 year old daughter. I’m only telling you this as I know now I don’t have a long time to life. Could be 6 months or 6 year’s or more. The worst part is there is no cure, but I’m working on getting into an experimental treatment.

    I’m telling you this, because I’ve met B. Moose Peterson, Art Morris and others. I’ve taken a few decent wildlife images, I’ve sold a few, won a couple of contest, but never do much with wildlife work. It’s mostly for myself and I mainly show my work to family and friends. I started wildlife photography at age 9 years old. Now at 36 years old, I’ve worked for AP, Los Angeles Times (many times), Photographer for SCNG, at OC Register until about a year ago when I gave it all up for chasing wildlife photography. Now I have two options on these images, sell them on my own, and I’m pretty sure I could sell them quite easily. However, I’d much rather submit them to contest, because I believe they worthy of serious consideration.

    This email had been awkward to writes, I apologize it’s just emotional and I feel weird, as I never really have ever asked anyone for help like this. Back in the 2003-2008 era I was with Sportsshooter.com and I met many of the best professionals at some workshops and meetups. We had portfolio critique/reviews and that helped me some. However as a photojournalist for many many year’s now, I’ve had the pleasure of helping a few up in coming photographers with mentorship and coaching. If you would be willing to discuss these images or a possible way for us do a zoom call? I’m not sure, my website is old and outdated, plus a lot of my professional sports images I needed permission to use. So I have many new and much better images than are on my website. I’d be happy to show you some of my other best wildlife shots.

    Anyways I promise you or at least I hope you know I’m not going to waste your time. I’m sure you get a lot of messages, so I understand if you can’t reply. I just thought I’d try to enter these images somehow into the proper contest and maybe be able to do what you do now, or at least to make my family, especially my daughter, proud. Like I said, I’m not trying to spring a make a wish request on you, but I’m hurting. I hope and pray these amazing Cheetah images will change my life for the better. I was so inspired by your story I did the same thing as you, said bye to everyone, work…just drive, and go get the images that matter, or evoke emotion in one’s heart or soul. They are certainly my best few images of my lifetime. By a long shot. Hope you would be so kind as to offer any support, I’d greatly appreciate it. Sorry to take up so much of your time. God bless you Tin Man! You’re a talented person!

  11. Mihir m kalyani on July 23, 2023 at 8:18 am

    Hello tim,
    In the past i have covered lots of purchased wildlife course, but im not satisfied. I have no doubts about your quality qualifications and visions.
    Can you give me a demo of your wildlife course, i won’t think twice before your 999 dollar course and i will purchase your course with no doubts, but can I get a demo if possible. I have lots off gear and im satisfied with my work but i want be an extraordinary, i want to be the best. If you find anything wrong with my words please do inform me. Thank you.


  12. Bassie on September 26, 2023 at 11:16 am

    I love you Tim Man Lee

  13. bob on October 5, 2023 at 9:31 am

    lol you sad

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.