Welcome to my web page for nature and wildlife photography. For over the last 35 years I have been taking people on trips and photographic workshops (we call them fun shops) around the world. I like action photography that tells a story, and that is what you will encounter in detail later on this page.

Dr. P in Katmai National Park Alaska

Enjoying some brown bear viewing in Katmai National Park

On this trip you can get up close and personal with this coastal brown bear

My veterinary degree has opened up doors on these trips that is not available to the average nature and wildlife photographer. Because of this, I have unique action photos and a profound understanding of the nature world.

I would like to share this with you on this page. If you read my stories, and don’t just look at my photos, you will get more out of it.

Dr. P sedating a lion

When the veterinarian for the Kenya Wildlife Service found out I was a colleague I was invited to sedate a lion with him. You can learn more at the Lions of Tsavo trip below. 

If you ever join us on a trip you will learn advanced wildlife photography and get to use my professional Canon cameras and telephoto lenses on occasion. We have a ball, take tons of photos, eat like royalty, and learn about a different culture. These trips are life-changing experiences for most people.

A Hadza hunter staring at me

Talk about a different culture! This man is my new best friend because he took me hunting with him for the day. He is a Hadza, also know as an Hadzabe, and I learned all about his culture that goes back 10,000 years. It was just fascinating to be with these people. The Rwanda/Serengeti link below has more details. 

Watch how the chief shoots an arrow at a monkey in a tree and listen to how they talk

I make a web page for the people that go on my trips so they can show off their photos to their friends.  It’s not just a bunch of disparate pictures, it’s a travelog that explains each trip in detail (with a good dose of humor and laughing at ourselves sometimes).

This is my version of photojournalism, and how I share my photography with others. It’s a good way to educate people on what is going on in the world, particularly from the conservation point of view. You are always welcome to join us and get that special keeper you can print out and hang on your wall, or brag about at your next party.

Dr. P giving a slide show on an Africa trip

For the people that go on my trips I put on a slide show showing off their trip to their friends on my large screen TV. This makes the pictures come to life, and when embellished just right, their friends who did not go on the trip wish they had.

This page has photos on just some of the trips I have taken over the last 35 year. There will be detailed description of these trips and the people and wildlife that live there, so click on the many links to get the full story.  There is lots here, so take your time and enjoy.

Here is a list of some of the places you will be visiting in detail later in this page:

  • Falkland Islands
  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Nomads of the Summer and the Golden Eagle Chicks
  • Mongolia and the Golden Eagles
  • Africa’s Lake Ndutu and the Selous
  • Photographer’s Africa
  • Orangutans of Borneo (2nd time)
  • Arctic trip for polar bears
  • Rwanda for gorillas
  • Serengeti National Park for the big cats
  • Hadzabe people of Tanzania
  • Galapagos
  • Tanzania
  • Antarctica
  • Wildebeest migration in Africa
  • Kodiak bears of Katmai National Park
  • Maneless lions of Tsavo National Park
  • Orangutans of Borneo
  • Black Rhino of Zimbabwe

I give presentations on these trips frequently, check the LBAH Facebook page for the next one.

Wildlife presentation flyer

Wildlife presentation flyer

Wildlife presentation flyer

Animals on the Decline in Africa

If you are a wildlife photographer you need to think about getting to the continent of Africa soon. The abundance of wildlife, and the predator-prey relationship, is the best on the planet. You cannot wait and expect it to stay this way much longer.

It is changing dramatically due to the burgeoning human population of a billion people and rising.  The other reason is the rampant poaching fueled by the demand in China and other Asian countries for animal parts, especially rhino horns and elephant tusks

Leopard Face

This male leopard photo was taken in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia in October of 2020. They are still there if you go soon.

My primary interest in African photography is photographing the big cats hunting prey. It is an intense experience to watch them when they are fixated on their prey- nothing will dissuade them from attacking it.

These photos are hard to come by, and it took me five trips to see my first one. Here are a few teasers: when you follow the links below to see the full hunt you will see how they catch their prey.

Yearling Cheetah Hunting a Gazelle

These yearling cheetah are learning how to capture a two-day-old Thomson’s Gazelle calf in the Masai Mara

A leopard running over a log chasing its prey

This female leopard in Botswana is deftly running across a log as it pursues its prey

A lioness chasing zebra

This lioness in the Serengeti is ready to jump on a zebra

Cheetah Hunting a Wildebeest Calf

This yearling male cheetah is taking down a three-day-old wildebeest calf on his own in the Serengeti

Leopard Climbing Tree at Night

This night-time leopard climbed up this tree in 3 seconds when a hyena threatened to take its prey

To learn more about the plight of the big cats, and what is being done about it, I went to Namibia in 2017 to learn about cheetah at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. More info is on the Namibia link below.

The big cats, along with far too many animals in Africa, are in trouble, and rapidly declining in population due to the burgeoning human population.

Dr. P with Park Ranger in Hwange National Park

Dr. P in 1995, with a Zimbabwen park ranger named Zhou, after finding three black rhino in one day. If you click on the 1995 rhino trip below you will learn much more about this.

Black Rhino Face

Dr. P took this photo of a black rhino in Etosha National Park in 2017. Follow the Namibia link below to learn more

A day in the life of a safari vehicle- 2 minute fun video

In the video we start off at 6 AM as the sun is rising. Once the sun rises, our guide, speaking in Swahili, calls other guides to see where the action is. For those of you not versed in Swahili, our guide is asking if they have seen any lions this morning. They reported nothing so far, so he is telling them in a humorous manner that I need to find something interesting to show the guests, so keep me posted.

Eventually our vehicle spins out on the grasses of the Serengeti, one of the occupants shows how breezy and bouncy it is when driving home as the day winds down, we watch a video of the Serengeti while in the Serengeti, help another vehicle stuck in the mud, drive through a flooded road, and make it home before the sun sets. A typical day in the life of  safari vehicle.

Veterinary Conservation Trips

Dr. P travels the world to help with animal related conservation. In March of 2020 (during the Covid-19 outbreak) he went to Costa Rica to work with Dr. Marie Rush doing veterinary and conservation work at Wild Sun Rescue with Jeremy Levine.

The scarlet macaw at this feeding platform is from a breeding group at Wild Sun that is being released to repopulate the area.

Dr. P and Dr. Rush are also worked with howler monkey babies. Their mothers were electrocuted by walking on wire that was not insulated (98% of Costa Rica) and the babies survived. They are being cared for to hopefully release them back into the wild.

Howler Monkey Baby Biting Stethoscope

You need to move fast when you examine one of them or else you might end up with teeth marks on your stethoscope

It is the volunteers at Wild Sun Rescue that do much of the work rehabilitating these babies for release back into the wild

When the veterinary work was finished Dr. P taught Dr. Rush wildlife photography with professional equipment. It is a big step up for many people, and there is a significant learning curve.

Macaw Pair Nuzzling

Professional photographic equipment and knowing how to use it can make a difference

Flying Macaw

Even with professional camera equipment it takes practice to catch one flying past

Future Trips

April 2021- A special trip with Roie Galitz in Svalbard to photograph polar bears up close on snowmobiles.

June 2021- Dr. P is taking 12 people on a small boat to teach Arctic and polar bear photography.

August 2021- South Africa to sedate a rhinoceros and go on safari.

October 2021- The Falkland Islands to photograph the ginormous elephant seals and the killer whales waiting to eat their pups, along with those way-too-cute penguins! Click on the Falklands link just below to learn all about going to this fascinating place.

June 2022- Baffin Island Canada to photograph the Narwhal and Polar Bears.

In the future Dr. P has repeat trips planned for Borneo with the orangutans, Mongolia with the golden eagles, and Africa for the big cats.

Recent Trips

The Falkland Islands- A Penguin and Marine Mammal Spectacle

Nothing is more entertaining than a penguin going about its business, like this Gentoo evading a sea lion. In this link you can enjoy the antics of many species of penguins, along with huge elephants seals, and learn about this unique island.

Namibia- Where Desert and Ocean Meet

Click on the picture below to see us travel the country, from the dunes to the skeleton coast to Etosha National Park (don’t miss the rhinoceros photos) to the Cheetah Center


Botswana and the Okavango Delta

Join us as we see lions, leopards, black mambas, elephants (and much more), and swim to the edge of Victoria Falls


Nomads of the Summer and the Golden Eagle Chicks

After our winter trip, which you can learn about below, we went back in the summer to continue the filming of our documentary movie called “The Twelfth Eagle”

Kazakh nomad with his golden eagle

Mongolia-Land of the Golden Eagles

We are making a documentary video on the Kazakhs and their golden eagles, a relationship that goes back 5,000 years

Kazakh nomad with his golden eagle hunting for fox

Africa’s Lake Ndutu and the Selous

Our 8th and best trip yet, with lots of great wildlife sightings in the Serengeti

African elephant in the Selous Tanzania

Photographer’s Africa

My 7th time in Africa, busting those cheetah in action as they are hunting gazelle

Female cheetah on the prowl in Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Back to Borneo

In October of 2012 I went back to Borneo after a 21 year absence. I spent time working with orphaned baby orangutans and also went back to Camp Leakey.  Lots of baby photos (and videos) in this section!

Camp Leakey with orphan baby orangutan with Dr. P in Tanjung Putin National Park Borneo at the Orangutan Care Center Centre and Quarantine

Svalbard Polar Bears

An Arctic trip to see the polar bears and other marine mammals in Svalbard, Norway is one of the best wildlife trips on the planet.  Click on the cute and cuddly guy below for lots more info on this trip.

Polar or ice bear smelling for seal food in Svalbard Norway above the Arctic circle

This old male decided to play on the ice in front of us

Rwanda and Serengeti

The Rwanda/Serengeti trip was my 6th to Africa, and my first with gorillas. Click on the Silverback picture below to learn about this trip. There is also a link to my Serengeti trip with the big cats and my my two days spent with the Hadzabe (also called the Hadza) hunters.

Male silverback gorilla in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos trip was in March of 2010. It’s a must see for anyone interested in the history of Charles Darwin and unique wildlife found no place else. Click on the picture to learn more.

Dr. P with giant Galapagos tortoise in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador reptile


In July of 2009 twenty of us (two groups of ten on sequential trips) went to Tanzania. It’s the same trip I took 23 years ago, and it was wonderful to live it again. 

Resting lioness female on a log in Serengeti National Park Tanzania


Our Feb 2008 Antarctica page is up and running. Click on the penguin photo below to learn about this trip, and also see a leopard seal in acton.

Young Gentoo penguin chick molting in Antarctica


Here are pictures from our Masai Mara trip in October of 2007. View a detailed page on this trip by clicking on this funny looking guy below

Herding wildebeest blue gnu during migration in Masai mara Kenya and Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Bears of Katmai

This trip was in August of 2005. This coastal brown bear weighed over 1200 pounds according to our guide. We decided it was best not to bother him while he was dining on his salmon. We went back in August of 2011, and plan on going back to Alaska every few years.

Male coastal brown bear grizzly at Halo Bay in Katmai Alaska fishing for and eating salmon

Lions of Tsavo

This was a research trip in Tsavo National Park in Kenya, spending most of our time learning about nocturnal Africa. At the end of the trip we went to the Masai Mara. This is a maneless lion protecting his kill from us.

Male lion with cape buffalo kill in Tsavo National Park Kenya railroad killers man eater

Orangutans of Borneo (1991)

This unbelievably interesting trip was in 1991. Back in those prehistoric days there was no concept of digital photography, so all of these photos, and the black rhino phots that follow, are from slides that were scanned.

This orang had no problems showing us how she felt about our presence!

Camp Leakey Tanjung Puting National Park Borneo feeding rice and milk giving the finger

Black Rhino of Zimbabwe

This slide show gives you a good idea of the poaching problem and why it is impossible to stop. The problem is even worse now because of the rumor in Vietnam and China that powdered rhino horn cures cancer.

Endangered black rhino Hwange National Park Zimbabwe

Yellowstone National Park

 Click on the coyote picture below to learn about our trip in December of 2010 to see the wolves.

Coyote in Yellowstone National Park Wyoming in winter

Practice, practice, practice

If you want to get better at your photography you need to practice with your equipment and become very familiar with it. You might also want to join us on one of our trips and go on one of our wildlife and nature workshops (oops, funshops).

People commonly ask me if they should purchase the latest Canon or Nikon DSLR or one of the new new mirrorless cameras. The most important thing is not this equipment, it is to practice with the equipment you already have so its use becomes second nature. You need to be quick on the draw to get those wildlife photos, and that only comes with familiarity with your equipment.


After you have practiced to the point that you are familiar with your equipment, and keep on practicing to keep your skills current, it’s time to go out in the field and be P-A-T-I-E-N-T. That patience paid off for Dr. P when he waited for these kit foxes to poke their heads out of their den. You can hear him talking to them in a soothing voice as he coaxed them out after they were habituated to his presence over a period of time.

 Birds in Flight (BIF)

I shoot frequently to keep my skills up, and nothing keeps your skills up better than to shoot fast moving birds (called birds in flight- BIF). Getting them in focus and properly exposed is a fun challenge. Let’s look at a few birds in flight (BIF) pictures.

Osprey (click on the picture to learn more about these beautiful birds)

Osprey Flying by with Fish in Talons

Belted Kingfisher (click on his picture to learn more)

Kingfisher Bursting out of Water


Soaring female kestrel at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

Snowy Egret

Yellow feet of snowy egret landing at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

Black Skimmer

Black skimmer with fish in mouth returning from fishing at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

Great Blue Heron with nesting material

Great Blue Heron Flying

Northern Harrier

Norther harrier with pigeon in talons at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

Diving Pelican

Diving California brown pelican at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

Diving Pelicans

Diving California brown pelicans at Bolsa Chica Conservancy Huntington Beach California

White Pelican

White Pelican Flying

If you have a friend that is a falconer you can practice on these fast and erratically flying birds. Click on the photos to see a larger version.

Harris's hawk soaring over rabbit prey

Harris's hawk looking for prey of rabbits

Northern Michigan

These shots are from northern Michigan in a town called Harbor Springs.  It is oh so quaint (think of a Norman Rockwell painting),  and an outdoors and wildlife mecca

Fall colors and snow

Snow in October at Hamlet Village condos in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Downtown Harbor Springs

Autumn fall colors in downtown Harbor Springs church steeple northern Michigan

Horse farm around town

Autumn fall colors at horse barn in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Kestrel with breakfast

Male kestrel with mouse in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Bald eagle with lake trout

Eagle Flying with Lake Trout

Beaver with breakfast


Shores of Little Traverse Bay

Adirondack wooden chairs at sunset in downtown Harbor Springs in northern Michigan

Larks lake

Wooden adirondack chairs on a dock overlooking Lark's Lake Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Nubs Nob ski area

Beautiful fall colors at chairlift at Nub's Nob ski area in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Fall colors from the top of Nubs Nob

Beautiful fall colors from the top of Nub's Nob ski area in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Deer at the Maple river

Whitetail deer buck partially hidden in bushes at the edge of the Maple river in Harbor Springs northern Michigan

Female Elk

Female elk staring at us surrounded by fall colors at Pigeon River State Forest in northern Michigan

Sandhill crane

Sandhill crane feeding in tall grass in northern Michigan

Great blue heron flying at Larks Lake

Extreme close up of great blue heron flying past us

Don’t forget to look down after you look up

My neighbor Skipper the chipmunk

Chipmunk feeding on rock in northern Michigan

Kaz posing during fall colors

Gorgeous white horse with fall colors in background in northern Michigan

Larks lake in the fall

Gorgeous fall colors surrounding lark's lake in northern Michigan

Kit fox at Nubs Nob

Fox pup staring at us from his den

A kit fox peeking out of its den at Dr. P who was whistling softly to it

Baby fox peeking out of den

Its parent kept an eye on me while it was getting enough food to feed 3 hungry stomachs

Adult red fox on the prowl in northern Michigan

Click the Osprey picture below to see lots more wildlife and scenery of northern Michigan

Osprey with fish in talons returning from a successful hunt

I have been invited to assist Peter Read Miller and his fellow Sports Illustrated photographers at past Rose Bowl games. He is a Canon Explorers of Light member, along with other famous wildlife photographers like Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, and Paul Nicklen. He went to Kenya with me, and of course he brought back some awesome photos.

One of his more unique shots from the Masai Mara. It is a Tawny eagle chasing a Nubian vulture away from its nest.

Tawny eagle chasing Nubian vulture away from its nest

Here I am at the 2010 Rose Bowl hours before the fans show up. This is some of the equipment Peter uses during a game.

Dr. P sitting and smiling at the camera in the end zone with his camera equipment 4 hours before the Rose Bowl game

Things get a bit more crowded in the end zone when the game starts

Professional photographers in the end zone shooting the Rose Bowl game

USC’s John David Booty in a classic quarterback pose

USC's John David Booty with his arm cocked ready to throw at the Rose Bowl

USC versus U of M (the University of Michigan)

University of Michigan safety trying to stop USC receiver from catching the ball at the Rose Bowl

Vince Foster scoring the winning touchdown at the 2006 BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl

Vince Young scoring a touchdown at the College Football championship game vs USC at the Rose Bowl

Reggie Bush running for a score at the 2006 BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl

Photography Equipment

I order all of my camera equipment and accessories from Allen’s Camera. They have the best service, and do not push you into purchasing something that is not right for you. Many professional photographers purchase from them instead of the larger places like Adorama and B & H because the price is just as good but the service is better and more personal.

Click on the logo below to learn more. Ask for the Brandon, the owner, when you call or email.


The new Canon mirrorless cameras like the R5 and R6 are available. Call Brandon if you want feedback on them or want to order one of them.

I have the Canon 1Dx Mark III, and have been using it for the last few days and learning about its new features. There is a lot to learn and many combinations of autofocus to tweak for my style of photography, which is run and gun action photography of wildlife.

The true test of a wildlife camera is in its ability to capture a rapidly and erratically flying bird in flight (BIF). The follow two photos show off what this camera can do.

Black skimmer fishing

Getting one of these Black Skimmer speedsters in focus, as it darts and weaves at high speed, and has its beak in the water, is a challenge only the best of cameras can take on

This Caspian Tern is another speedster. It takes a camera with lightning autofocus to be able to capture one blasting out of the water with a fish in its beak. 

Deer running across field

At up to 20 frames (pictures) per second, this camera allows you to capture that one special moment on fast-moving wildlife

My other wildlife camera is the Canon 1Dx Mark II. The following photos were taken with this camera over many years. It is now my backup camera on my trips.

Black Skimmer (click on the skimmer below to see more Bolsa Chica birds in action)

Black skimmer streaking by at Bolsa Chica Conservancy in Huntington Beach CA

They don’t get much faster or more erratic than a black skimmer returning from feeding as it streaks past your vantage point on a windy day at Bolsa Chica. It is the autofocus that has this bird in tack sharp focus, and the frame rate that froze this bird with a nice pose. 

Peregrine Falcon (click on picture below to learn much more about them)

Peregrine Falcon Flying

Actually they do get faster than a black skimmer, and its called a Peregrine falcon. They can fly up to 240 mph on a dive, so they are the fastest animal on the planet.

Coastal Brown Bear  (click on this dining bear to learn much more)

Face shot of coastal brown bear in Katmai Alaska tearing into a salmon

My friend Les took this bear shot with the 1Dx and 500mm

This camera takes wonderful slow motion video. This Magellanic penguin was taken in the Falkland Islands. The link to this trip is earlier in this page.

Lenses- Here are my primary wildlife lenses

Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II

I now use the Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens. Its light weight at 400mm, and its quality, make it my lens of choice when I am need to be mobile and flexible. Examples might be when I am in a kayak, or when I am hiking for long distances. I routinely use it with a 1.4X TC or a 2X TC. This gives me up to and 800mm f.8 on my 1 Dx Mark II. It is the only telephoto lens I used on my Botswana and Namibia trips in 2017.

Canon 400mm DO

This is a potent wildlife camera/lens combination for a wide variety of uses

The smaller size of this setup allows for easier travel, and since it is relatively  light and flexible, also allows you to forego a tripod, especially when photographing birds in flight (BIF), one the most difficult wildlife to photograph. I also use it when I am in a kayak.

I was in a kayak when I took this photo of a bald eagle flying overhead with a lake trout. The size and weight of this lens let me move around in the kayak to get this photo 


This Pileated woodie was taken with the 400mm DO


This tern was taken with the 400mm DO and 2X TC in a kayak. It’s hard to find a more erratically flying bird.

Canon 500 mm f/4  IS II

Version II of the 500mm is my current wildlife lens of choice, oftentimes  used with the 1.4X teleconverter. I use the 500mm it for all my wildlife work when I am was not hiking or in a kayak, in which case I used the 400 mm DO described above. I also purchased it so all of the attendees of the Yellowstone and Africa trips and workshops can get a chance to use such a superb wildlife lens.

If you are going to Africa and want to come back with outstanding photos this is a great lens. I sometimes use it with a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod and a Wimberely or sidekick head. This tripod is light, very strong, and can easily hold the weight of this lens. The Wimbereley head makes the lens “float” on the tripod, and is a joy to use. When I travel with it I bring a lightweight Gitzo tripod and use an Arca Swiss ballhead and the Wimberely Sidekick.

Canon 500mm Tripod

My assistant photographer is using this setup to photograph owls in Harbor Springs, Michigan as she is training to go to Botswana with me


An industrious beaver shot with the 500mm and 1.4X TC

Eagle Profile

An eagle at well over 150 yards away with the 500mm and a 2X TC

I brought the 500 on all my Africa trips for everyone to use. It has Image Stabilization (IS) so you can hand hold it on occasion, although a tripod or steady support are recommended. We will almost always be using it from the Land Rover without a tripod since we can easily steady it (as long as the other people in the vehicle are not moving around) with a bean bag. You can see this if you link to the 2007 Masai Mara page.

Close up of striped kingfisher in Africa

Striped Kingfisher taken with the 500

Canon 300 mm f/2.8  IS II

Optically speaking professional photographers feel this is the finest lens in the Canon arsenal. It is highly prized for outdoor sports photography because it focuses rapidly, the large aperture can blur the background and the pictures it produces are outstanding. Version II of this lens is possible the best lens Canon manufacturers.

Lenses like this one, and the following one, take practice to learn how to use them properly. They are larger than the lenses most people are used to, and need steady support like a tripod or monopod in many cases, although you can hand hold the 300 mm easily for short periods of time. Keep in mind that 300 mm is oftentimes not enough power for wildlife, and this lens is commonly used with the 1.4X teleconverter to make up for this deficiency. I used this lens on the Antarctica trip to take the picture of the whale tails.  I also used this lens to take the hummingbird picture above.

Reddish egret looking for fish in the water at Bolsa Chica Conservancy in Huntington Beach CA

Reddish Egret taken with this lens and a 1.4X TC at Bolsa Chica in California

The most important part of your purchase in a digital SLR camera setup is the lens. You should budget for a high quality lens before the camera body. All too often a nice camera is used with a mediocre lens, negating the potential of the camera. Canon makes a series of nice consumer grade lenses. The 75-300, 100-300, 28-135, 55-250, and the 18-55 all give you a nice picture.

If you want to get the most out of your expensive camera you need to upgrade to Canon’s L series of lenses. This is their professional lens series, and will give you pictures of better quality. You will notice the following lenses all have a red ring around the front of the lens. This denotes Canon’s professional series lenses, and are also called “L series” lenses in the Canon world. When it comes to lenses, the axiom “you get what you pay for”, certainly applies.

If there is a green ring around the lens it is one of Canon’s DO (Diffractive Optics) lenses. This makes them lighter. I have the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II lens. It is awesome, and I use it when weight is a factor. It works especially well with my Canon 7D Mark II, because I get the equivalent of 640 mm due to the 1.6X FOV crop factor with the 7D Mark II.

Lenses can be a fixed focal length or a zoom.The fixed focal length lenses (also called prime lenses) sometimes produce a higher quality photo. An example of a popular prime lens is 300 mm. This is equivalent to 6x binoculars. It is not a zoom, it is fixed at 300mm, and you have to personally move farther or closer to your subject if you need to change the composition.

Sometimes this is easily remedied by changing the fixed focal length lens rapidly to one of more or less magnification. This  assumes you have the money to purchase several lenses, the inclination to carry them around, and the time to change them on your camera. In a dusty environment like Africa, removing the lens from the camera when you are changing it can cause problems for the camera by letting dust inside. I must admit to missing many a good picture while changing one of these lenses because the wildlife action does not stop while you are changing lenses.

The zoom lenses are more flexible, and you won’t miss as many photos because now you can zoom in and out and not have to personally move to change the composition. Since most of us are not shooting for professional publications and don’t need that extra minor difference in quality, the quality of the zoom lenses will more than suffice and will yield amazing photos.

Canon 70-200mm f/4  or f/8 Image Stabilized (IS)

This lightweight and relatively inexpensive zoom lens will cover a wide range of photographic needs. It is  recommended for general travel photography and takes great photos. If you can only purchase one lens for all your photographic needs this is the one if weight is important, and you are not shooting wildlife at a distance.

The lens can keep an aperture of  f/4 all the way from 70 mm to its maximum of 200 mm. This differentiates it from a consumer grade lens, and is consistent across the Canon line of “L” series zoom lenses. It does not have enough focal length for wildlife photography in general, it is a compromise for someone needing a lens for general purpose photography, and wildlife lens that is light and inexpensive.

The f/2.8 version of this lens is even better, as long as you are OK with the added weight and cost. This is the one I bring on my trips.

I used this lens with a 1.4X teleconverter to get this leopard shot in Botswana

Canon 24-105mm f/4 Image Stabilized (IS)

This relatively lightweight wide angle zoom has great image quality when you need to get a wide field of view. I used it often on my Tsavo trip, Antarctica trip and in Galapagos. Whenever I am shooting I always leave the house with this lens, no matter which camera I have or my subject matter. It is awesome on the 5D Mark IV and 5D Mark III, 1Dx, and 1Dx Mark II, yet it can zoom to 105 mm.


This lens was used to take this photo of the lake where the above eagles had their nest

Canon 135mm f/2.0

This very high quality prime lens is used when you want pictures of tremendous sharpness. I use it for many of my portrait shots. It excels in low light situations because of its f/2.0 aperture. When you are using flash at night the big aperture gives it more power to illuminate further in the distance. If you are photographing wildlife with a cluttered background this large aperture lens allows you to blur the background and eliminate the distracting clutter.

The  photo at the top of this page with the lion over the cape buffalo was taken with this lens. It was a night shot, and since we didn’t dare get too close to this lion and his kill, I had to shoot from a distance that was at the maximum range of my flash. Having the larger aperture (f/2.0) of this lens gave me enough flash power to get the photo properly exposed.

Many of the gorilla shots were with this lens because we were in the darkness of the jungle and were not allowed to use flash. This lens saved the day on this trip because flash is not allowed. It is also great at concerts, museums, churches and plays when flash is also not allowed.

Many of the gorilla photos, like this female with two-day-0ld twins, that was hiding from us in the dark forest, were taken with this lens

 Canon 100 mm f/2.8 macro

For closeup (called macro) photography you need a specialized lens. I use the Canon 100 mm f/2.8.  You will need to practice with this lens because focusing can be difficult due to the limited depth of field. A tripod is highly recommended. I use it for all the medical work at Long Beach Animal Hospital. Click on the Disease Section at the top of this page to see these photos, along with the Facebook link at the top right of this page.


Here is my 5D Mark IV with a macro lens attached to a ring flash


Flash is important in macro photography. One of the best ones regarding portability, ease of use, and cost, is a ring flash.


A bee on a flower

Close up of baby frog hanging on to a human thumb

I use the macro lens for most of my photography at the Long Beach Animal Hospital, especially surgery pictures.


This lens is also a wonderful portrait lens

Owl Portrait

We even take animal portraits with this lens!


This is a good time to touch on flash photography. If you are interested in wildlife or sports photography you need a good external flash. I keep mine available at all times when I am shooting, even in daylight. I use professional external flashes (also called strobes) on all my workshops and will teach everyone how to use it in daylight and evening. When you want additional reach, and are using a lens of 300mm or longer, the Better Beamer will help extend your reach.

The primary flash is use is the 600 EX. It has significant power to reach those elusive animals that hide in trees and bushes

Night shot of Genet cat in a tree in Africa

One of those elusive night creatures you can surprise with a flash like this and a good lens.  Do you know what this creature is?

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