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Meet the Masters of Nature Photography

Wildlife in the context of our ever-evolving environment are some of the most challenging subjects to capture, and yet there are the talented few who have done just that: inspire us with their patience and dedication to preserving and photographing nature. Take a look at the chosen ones by Telegraph UK.

Photo by Jim Brandenburg, North Dakota, USA, 1975

‘’It was windy on that North Dakota prairie, so windy that it was unnerving. It was also midday, and knowing that the light isn’t good at that time, I was sitting in my car eating a sandwich. I looked out on the slough, at the sooty tern going back and forth and the bending reeds and thought, I wish I had a movie camera. I stuck my lens out of the window and casually shot a few frames, then went on my way and thought no more about it. When I finally saw the picture, it was a big surprise. This is one of those cases when something changed, where the picture looks different than I remembered. It was early in my career, and I took this and my other prairie pictures and showed the story to National Geographic. They were fairly shoulder-shrugging about it: ‘Well, we’ll get back to you.’ So I went to New York and showed this photograph to Audubon. They kept it for the cover. I then got a call from National Geographic wanting to hold it for a story. It was my first encounter with the two biggest magazines in America, and I was in an awkward situation. The picture ran in Audubon, and thankfully National Geographic still gave me what was to be my first assignment for the magazine.’’ -Jim Brandenburg

Photo by David Doubilet Ncamasere Channel, Okavango Delta, Botswana, 2002

‘’We were told the Okavango Delta was the most beautiful dive place in the world. We were also told that we were ‘mad as hatters’ to think about diving there, that we would be eaten or worse if we did. It was indeed the most beautiful place, a dream-like garden, yet wild and crazy and full of clear, green water and waterlilies that bent with the flowing floodwater. It was delicate and dangerous because, wherever we went, there were crocodiles under water nearby. It was like swimming with dinosaurs, and we were wary and looking over our shoulders all the time. We never dived in a place twice, because once the crocodiles felt our presence through vibrations in the water, they would find their way there and wait like the perfect ambush predators they are. Once I pleaded with our guide to take us back to a perfect ‘little studio’ spot, but as we rounded the bend, there was a 17-foot croc waiting where we had been photographing the night before. But this northern region, the panhandle, was so special – like a kelp forest created by an interior designer with no restraints – that we couldn’t stop diving there. This shot is perhaps my favourite from that time. I was searching for bream when this fisherman appeared above me in a mokoro (a dugout that’s the jeep of the delta) pushing across with a wooden ngashi. He stood statue-like peering into the water, the noon sunlight silhouetting him and casting a shadow across the waterlily forest like an African sculpture. That’s the bit I love. It’s a surreal image – the very essence of Africa.’’ -David Doubilet Ncamasere Channel

Photo by Frans Lanting, Chobe National Park, Botswana

I wanted to contrast the archaic shape of an elephant and the modern form of an impala as they both drank from the same waterhole. I positioned myself flat on the sand so that the elephants were in the foreground and then used a long lens to compress the distance between the animals, which had the optical effect of making the elephants seem larger than they already were. Juxtaposing big and small animals this way was a breakthrough. By choosing a certain perspective and a certain lens and then cropping the elephants so dramatically, I could make them look enormous. It’s a concept that’s found its way into the vocabulary of quite a few other photographers since then.’’ -Frans Lanting, A Grand Perspective

Who’s your favorite nature photographer? View the full gallery on Telegraph.

written by denisesanjose

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 中文(繁體版), 中文(繁體版) & Italiano.