Tecshots Blog

Sloth Fun
Sunday, October 07, 2012
Sloth Fun

I was paddling in a dugout canoe on a remote tributary of the Amazon when my native guide, Wilder, spotted a 3 toed sloth high up in a tree close to shore. We got out of the canoe, but standing at the base of its tree, the sloth was just too high up to get any kind of decent shot. Always enthusiastic, Wilder was really disappointed that I didn't take even a single shot. So I tried to explain to him - me speaking in English and him listening in Spanish - the importance of being up close and at eye level for good animal shots. Before I knew what he was up to, Wilder's boots were off and he was shimmying up the tree towards the sloth 60ft up. A couple of minutes later, Wilder came back down, holding the sloth to his chest with one arm as if it were a baby. And so I was able to get a couple of OK shots of a 3 toed sloth.

Spray & Pray -- not for me!
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Back in the good old days we shot film. And because of the cost of film and the major hassle of changing out a roll, we all learned to be pretty stingey about when we chose to push the shutter release button - absolutely didn't want to waste a good piece of film unless there was a good shot in the viewfinder. And over time, this would really train a serious photographer to compose his/her scene in the viewfinder and make a concious good shot/bad shot decision before pushing the button.Nowdays, with digital, it cost nothing in money or additional effort to take an unlimited number of shots and to take them as fast as that camera will fire the shutter. This is derisively called "spray & pray". And I think, in almost all situations, it is bad photography that leads to bad photographs, both artistically and image quality wise.I believe -- and I may be in the minority on this -- that if you, as the photographer, compose the shot in the viewfinder and, if there is action, wait until you see your shot "develop" in the viewfinder before pulling the trigger, that you will get better photographs -- and photographs that you actually created. I liken the "spray & pray" craze to a paint artist having unlimited canvases and standing with his/her back to the canvas and throwing the paint over their shoulders in the hope that one of the resulting paintings will actually be good.But ...

The Third Rule of Wildlife Photography -- Get Down!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Sloth Fun

For me, and for many others, the very best wildlife photographs are the ones taken from a really low angle to the subject -- often at or below the subject's eye level. Now, if you are shooting a giraffe, that is generally not too tough. But for most other animals, getting low can have some technical difficulties, or physical risks. And the challenges of shooting big animals in the wild is often compounded by the fact that you, the photog, are stuck in a jeep or Land Rover or big truck which is pretty high off the ground. So, I want to share a couple of my tricks -- really only the safe ones -- to get down with big apex predators.The following shot of a big male lion is OK -- but certainly not a shot that anyone would put on their wall (this is my basic criteria for a good wildlife shot).  This shot was taken from the window sill of a Land Rover -- not out of the roof opening. So I am sitting there, watching this big boy and trying to figure out how to make the shot more interesting. Light bulb in brain! I open the passenger door that is on the side of the Land Rover facing away from the lion, climb out and setup my camera on a beanbag underneath the chassis of the Rover, just under the door. Pretty safe, because there is the Land Rover between me and the lion and I am about 75ft away and can easily get back in if he decides to get up. Only worry is another lion sneaking ...

The Great White Shark - Protect Them Today or Gone Tomorrow
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Sloth Fun

 Without a doubt, the most feared predatory animal in the world is the Great White Shark. The Jaws movies -- and all the other movies and TV specials that they spawned -- have instilled fear and loathing of the Great White for the past quarter century. This visceral response would make one think that Great Whites attack and kill humans with wanton abandon -- but in reality, fewer than one person is killed by shark attack each year in the US and fewer than four worldwide. To put this in perspective, about 30 people are killed in the US each year by pet dog attacks, 150 are killed by deer (cars hitting deer, actually) and worldwide, 90,000 are killed by spider bites and over 3 million by mosquito bites. Even though the Great White is the most feared, humans have also been attacked by tiger sharks, bull sharks and oceanic white tip sharks. And the oceanic white tips probably are the record holder for human fatalities.Now each year, we humans, in our infinite wisdom, grace and harmony with the natural world, kill 40 million sharks -- we kill them for their fins and their fins alone. And with the majority of these sharks -- the majority of 40 million sharks -- the fins are cut from the shark while it is still alive and that shark is then thrown back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death.40 million -- that is 40,000,000!!! Every year!!!There seems to be a general ...

Excerpt from "One Man's Polar Bear" written by Dennis Compayre with photos by Andrew Bazeley
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

 What follows is a short excerpt from the book that I am working on with Dennis Compayre. Lots more about the book at www.onemanspolarbear.com.  WSW wind, minus 18 Celsius, clear and cold, a band of heavy dark blue clouds over open water. Pieces of floating ice mirrored at the horizon inviting you to a towering city of white. The breaking sun diffused by a film of cloud gently easing us into day. Wind nudging at your cheek allowing a brief respite before the bite. Quiet morning.My first cup of coffee warmed my chilled hands. Looking out the window as the November sun broke the horizon and flooded the eastern sky with promise, I felt the bump. There was a bear banging on the side of my buggy demanding my attention. The force used told me without looking that he was a big boy. With caution I leaned over the driver’s seat of old Buggy One and scraped away a small patch of frost from the side window.A full grown polar bear standing on his hind legs could easily punch out the glass, so without knowing the temperament of my early morning visitor I was reluctant to present myself as a target until I could figure out if he was a bad ass or not. From a few feet back all I could see was a wide black nose pressed against the bottom of the window, a full eight feet from the ground. The bear was drawing in smells where the sliding window rested in the frame. All the ...