North American predators are extremely difficult subjects to film in the wild. Almost all published photographs of puma or mountain lion, bobcat, lynx, wolverine, and gray wolf are of captive or wildlife models. Yet the images one can produce at a wildlife model shoot are dynamic and compelling and fun. We'll be offering two different seasons in 2004, the end of winter in northern Montana and the peak of autumn's color.
Northern Montana is the home for almost of the subjects we'll be shooting on both our Triple D shoots. We've scheduled our winter shoot to take advantage of the likelihood of enjoying the best of the winter season -- when winter snows are still present in many areas but when the temperature is clement and not frigid. Our autumn shoot should coincide with the peak of Montana's fall color, so we can expect to have predators framed by red and yellow foliage in gorgeous settings. Now, imagine all of these subjects in the grand landscape of northern Montana! If you can imagine that, you'll have some conception of the types of photographs possible on this unique wildlife model shoot.
We'll be shooting for three days, with a fourth day reserved as a rain day. In the event that we do not need the rain day we will shoot on this fourth day AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE to you. We'll be doing a total of 8 shooting sessions in the three days of shooting, averaging almost three shoots a day. Our subjects will include cougar, bobcat, red fox, coyote, wolves, and tigers. We'll probably shoot lynx, wolverine, arctic fox, and badger..
You will be shooting a smorgasbord of North American and Northern Hemisphere predators, from one of the largest species, the Siberian tiger to some of the smaller major predators, including two species of fox (red and arctic in winter) and bobcat.
If weather permits, we'll take a few of our subjects to a compound in East Glacier where our backdrop will be the mountains of Glacier National Park. In March there is a possibility that inclement weather could close the highway to East Glacier, or there could be too much snow at the East Glacier compound to make photography practical.
Our shoot will be divided among a variety of 'primary' and 'secondary' animals. The secondary species include striped skunk, porcupine, raccoon, and badger. We'll be shooting several of these, in addition to the primary species which are our primary focus.
A mandatory orientation meeting will be held on the first evening of our photo shoot. Mary and I will also do an introductory slide presentation (or a power point presentation on computer) where we'll review the subjects and, far more importantly, the techniques we'd suggest you use for a successful shoot. We'll discus metering, composition, AF concerns, and group dynamics and protocol, so you'll have a really clear idea of what the conditions are like and what you'll be shooting and where.
We'll be photographing the next four
days, with our shooting times determined the evening before by
the Triple D staff. Depending upon the location and the subject,
that starting time will usually be sometime after 8AM because
the light usually doesn't reach a compound before that hour. Shoots
will continue throughout the day, with a break for lunch . Our
last shooting session may conclude by 6PM or so, again depending
upon the subject, the lighting we desire, and the location of
If you sell photographs you probably
know that American predators are best sellers.
If you photograph for your own pleasure or for camera club competition or for prints, this shoot will provide you with an extremely wide range of subject matter.
If you normally photograph solo and haven't considered filming with a group, I don't think you'll find it compromising. On my personal shoots I often find I pick one spot and spend a great deal of time at that location, using a zoom for compositional changes. On group shoots, we encourage people to do likewise, but then to change positions with other photographers to get a different viewpoint and perspective.
A real benefit of shooting Triple D for me was the close working distances I enjoyed. On my last shoot in September I used a Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 lens for the majority of the shoot, sometimes adding a 1.4X tele-converter for increased length.I did use fill flash a few times, and at the close working distances the flash worked great, especially on -1.7 fill.
We will provide ground transportation
to all of the shooting sites during the shoot, based upon our
meeting point at the Browning Cabin where we'll be staying.
Lodging is included. We'll be staying at the Browning Cabin, a guest house owned by Triple D Game Ranch within sight of their facility. There are several rooms in the guest house but participants will be required to share a room. There are two bathrooms in the house which are, of course, shared by the group.
We'll be providing a Welcome Dinner on our first evening and a Farewell Dinner on the last day of your shoot. Lunches will be provided for the four days of the shoot. We'll also be providing a variety of snacks and cereals for breakfast. Two dinners - on Day Two and Day Three -- are not included, but the group eats as a group at a local restaurant.
The fee also is based upon a total of 8 shooting sessions including a mix of primary species, secondary species, and the special fee subject (the Siberian Tiger). The Photo Tour fee includes lodging in Browning Cabin based upon double occupancy, lunches during the four shooting days with predators, two dinners, breakfastes at the Browning Cabin, and transportation to and from the shooting sites.