One Secret By A Legendary Photographer

(Need help with your bird and wildlife photography? Check out my free 1-hour training by clicking HERE.)

When I first started wildlife photography, I didn't know anything. I got excited when I saw a bird or wildlife, and I only had one goal, to nail a sharp shot. Turned out I was completely wrong.

In this video above, I shared with you a story I heard from a legendary wildlife photographer.

Since then, I followed this simple yet effective method and had great success. Hope you enjoy!


I'm Live. Okay, just trying to check.
Hey guys. Hello. Just trying to, well some of you asked me to go on live more often.
So here I am. I just got a new microphone.
So hopefully it works. Oh it works.
Okay. I'm just looking into the, into this thing… what else… so I was… Look at my back background.
So this is a fake brick wall backdrop.
Just trying to add a little bit more professional sense into into this living room kind of studio.
So anyways, so for those who don't know me,
I'm Tin Man Lee, I found this Facebook group where you are at few months ago
and looks like it's getting more and more popular.
Thanks for your support. And I’m seeing a lot of really
really beautiful photos that you guys shared.
So thank you. Thank you for your support.
So I see that somebody are coming in.
Okay. All right.
So April. Hey, Darcy. Hey,
oh Valerie. Hey, how you guys doing?
So anyway, so not not gonna waste your time here today.
I'm gonna share with you a story.
So from now on well, I shouldn't say that I shouldn't promise too much,
but I'm going to be coming in more often.
Okay. And so today I'm going to share with you.
Just one story just a very quick live to kick-start.
This whole series of fun stuff.
So hey Felix.
Hey Melissa, so what I'm going to talk to you today is about light.
So as some of you know,
I started Wildlife photography 20 years ago,
but I got really really serious about 10 years ago.
And and in these last 10 years I Always got asked … people asked me Hey Tin Man.
Like how do you get such good light in your photos?
So I wonder if like if you are beginning photographer if you are beginning photographer
or if you have any challenge of getting great light in your photos,
what is the secret to get that?
I'm going to share with you this story is but hey,
just so as you know, Please keep on asking me questions.
Well, yeah Melissa. Hey, how are you? I'm just yeah,
I just came in at random.
So from now on you have to prepare. So so anyways,
hey Sue, so the story was so many years ago.
I went to umm I think it was a photography conference, photography Summit and there at the keynote.
There was a very famous National Geographic photographe,r forgot his name though.
So I think it was Joel Satore and anybody heard of him like the famous,
you know, the famous project about endangered species and all, or it was Steve Winter.
I forgot which one so if you have heard of this story,
let me know who said that.
So anyway, so so this really really high caliber National Geographic photographer,
right? So he was on stage and he shared with us his first National Geographic assignment.
So he said at the time he was just assigned a boss
and the boss said that hey so-and-so go to this place and get me some nice photos of this Wildlife.
So he spent some time and then go to this place,
right and then he just, you know way
for a long time and then just wait for those good moments to take photos.
Just turn down the volume in here. Here. So yeah,
I don't believe is Joel Satore or Steve Winter.
Also another one. I've actually forgot the name.
Sorry about that anyway, so
so his boss asked him to go to this This Place Your First National Geographic
assignment get me the best photos of this species,
which I forgot what species with it was too.
So anyway, so he spent a lot of time waiting for the moment,
right? And then he collected thousands of photos.
He was so excited, right? He went he had all these back in the day was Films way
so he got all these films, developed and then he went to his boss and say hey,
these are my photos. right? at the time,
you know, he was already really good.
Right and his boss.
Look at the photos like thousands of them.
Just just look at them one by one just throw them on the on the floor
and said these are all rubbish.
Is that oh my God, like this is just such an embarrassment
and the boss asked him to like go back and get me the best photos,
right? And then so he went back
and then he spent a lot of time to take another set of really good photos.
Right and he went back to the boss
and the Boss look at all these photos and said these are all rubbish and just throw it all away.
And this time he couldn't hold it is it?
Hey, come on, right? I already spent so many days,
right waiting for the Moments, getting all the good shots,
you know nice background, you know,
and the boss at How come you never go there at sunrise or sunset?
Look at this light, these lights are not acceptable these lights are trash lights
and it is not acceptable.
And so this photographer talk to his boss and that well,
you know, the place was gated I couldn't even get in Before Sunrise or or after Sunset.
It is closed. They how do I get it?
I was already the first one lining up there every time when the gate opens and the boss said that,
you know to become a National Geographic photographer I don't care how what you are doing,
but you have to get the best light
so he thought for a long time
and eventually is that he I don't know what he did but he made it happen.
He was able to get in before the gate opened.
And finally he was able to capture photos that is right at sunrise
and sunset and the reason why this kind of photos with the light at sunrise and sunset works,
I thought for that. For a long time and actually,
you know, I don't know if you have been to Photo Tours or photo trips gotta keep talking.
I forgot to look at your comments, right? So,
oh Yaron is there. Hey Amber and yeah welcome everybody.
So what was I going to say is yes,
I remember that. I went to a lot of Tours, trips and everyone anything before and you know,
a lot of professional photographers would tell you okay if sunrise time is at 6 a.m.
They’d ask you to arrive at the spot at maybe 6:30 when the light is you have enough light,
right and then you may shoot for an hour or two and then the lights get harsh right?
And then you go back to the hotel or whatever go for lunch.
And then you come back probably two hours before Sunset
and then you shoot maybe 30 minutes before Sunset
and then you go home and have your dinner
and all but when I look back into my photos in the last 10 years.
Surprisingly, the photos that I like it the most were the photos that were not in those
timeframe that the professional photographers asked me to do
and indeed the photos that I liked the most was something like this.
Look at this. I have something prepared for you.
So if you look into here,
so these are some of my favorite photos like for example,
this one this one is two red foxes.
Dancing I call them the Last Dance Before Sunset
and and and and then and this one an
owl as short-eared owl incoming backlit
and and also this one so the this is a burrowingowl, they are
super tiny bit bigger than my iPhone maybe
or maybe even smaller.
And also this one right here this one
so all of these photos of my favorite photos were all taken at the critical moment either
as right as sunrise or Sunset and so I thought for a long time like what happens right?
How come all these professional photographers asked me to go 30 minutes after sunrise
and 30 minutes before Sunset
and and not this time because these are all the most emotional photos and I remember a quote by Robert
McKee any of you read his book The Story even though he was talking about screenplay.
How do you tell stories but I is one of my all-time favorite book books.
If you haven't bought it in Amazon, I highly recommend you to right now the audio
book is also available is called Story by Robert McKee.
So in it, he talked there is a famous quote.
He mentioned that so imagine if a guy is Proposing to a girl.
Well, I think about it right there. The guy was kneeling down with the diamond ring
and then proposing to the girl
and if the the moment was happening in a dumpster at night with like rats coming out
and really smelly right the whole situation, think about that moment
for a bit right and then compared with if the guy was proposing at the top of a mountain.
Tonight when you look down is a sea of clouds
and then backlit right here with all these dramatic light
and all and everybody's was shined with all this saturated Golden Lights and all right.
And in those moments, the guy would have a higher chance to succeed, I mean.
I mean, I mean if it's true love it doesn't really matter.
But what I mean is it is so much more romantic in those moment,
right? And Robert McKee said that this is called the mood, right
and for Photography you really have to think about almost like a screenplay andall these ingredients.
This is really this not designed
but you have to discover those moments to put into your photos by all these ingredients building up.
So so anyway, so back to the story.
So how come all these photos right with the most emotional
when put it back to my my face not there's not too nice as those photos,
right? But think about it.
So those moments were exactly what Robert McKee was saying the mood right in Sunrise and sunsets.
I think it always can help people to reconnect with some of their
memories right there the most beautiful memories.
I look at this beautiful sunrise and sunset probably with their loved ones,
right? So when we look at photos of wildlife or birds, also at those moments,
you will kind of you know, yeah how our brain works right like all these
happy moments with moment combining with those
and they will create emotion like that.
So so anyway, so so yeah,
so this is the story of this National Geographic photographer found that it is very critical to
go at sunrise and sunset and indeed.
I tell some of my students are actually I tell all of my students you try to go before sunrise
and stay after Sunset because those were the moments we've all the ever changing light
and you can really play with a lot of mood and all into that so,
So so I hope that helps with you on on how to get the good light right? photographers.
They don't get lucky. It didn't get lucky to have great light in your photos.
It's all because we only go to the places
when the best light is happening
and and I expand it a little bit more instead of going little bit after sunrise
and Before Sunset with this nice sweet light go even further go to those those moments.
So so I hope that helps for today's Live
and Let me see if you have any any problems and then everything so okay.
Oh, I got some really nice comments and also,
okay. So so that's it for today
and you may ask so if you go into those super early morning or late night,
the light is going to be pretty low.
Right? And so the exposure is going to be challenging right?
Some of you may have to get really high ISO and noise comes in.
Well, that's why last time I asked you guys if you want you to give a webinar on backlit
or low light photography,
which I'm actually preparing. So if you have any questions about backlit and and all these things,
what are your challenges right? Do you have any problem during autofocus?
Do you have any problems of Avoiding High noise and and and like getting colors and any questions.
They're definitely type it in the comments here
and I'll look at it and that will really help me to prepare for my upcoming webinar.
But for some of you who are new who want to learn more I actually had a
webinar available where you can look at it.
It's just a very quick one hour training on some of the how do
you Do exposure how do you do metering?
And how do you look for background and all this stuff?
I share some of the stories are not so you can after after the Live.
You can go to /webinar , WEBINAR
I you guys know and I'm going to type it in here.
So that would really help you to understand more about how we have to
squeeze the last ounce of light to play with the mood
and everything like that.
So how long have I talked?
Oh, I talked for 30 minutes. I was trying to get it within five.
So anyway, so I'll try to improve on that make it more concise tomorrow.
And what else well,
I hope you have a nice evening and I will talk to you.
I’ll try to talk to you tomorrow. Okay, and type in.
Any of the questions you might have and I'll try to answer them.
So very good to see you guys. I hope you like my new microphone setup
and my beautiful fake brick wall in the back.
And yeah, my my hair is a mess. So I'm wearing my cap anyway,
so yeah,
I actually got a lot of questions from you
guys. So I have quite a lot of very exciting topics coming out actually,
but definitely type in here and let me know what you want me to talk about. and if you have time, you have an hour
or something, go to and check out some of the stories.
Okay? All right. I'll see you guys later.

Leave a Comment

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