I am beyond excited that the Z series mirrorless has turned me into a nature cinematographer and shown me a new way to capture wildlife.
My biggest passion is wildlife and conservation, so I’m constantly looking for ways to connect people with wild animals. I want people to feel the beauty that I see in this world. I’ve started taking short video clips of the moments when I feel connected to nature; from the texture of an elephant's skin as she walks, to the way a praying mantis turns her head and looks right at me. These are moments that give me chills and make me hold my breath behind the camera.
Since I first started shooting with the Z series mirrorless cameras I’ve been collecting these moments. The Z 6 and Z 7 have given me new eyes to see wildlife. From slow motion, focus tracking, and the electronic viewfinder’s focus peaking (super helpful for macro work), these mirrorless cameras have their own voice and new capabilities to photograph the world.
I started using the Z 7 to photograph nature and wildlife to capture large amounts of details. With the 45.7mp files I was able to see texture in the eyeballs of dragonflies. The detail that can be captured, even with my F mount lenses using the Mount Adapter FTZ continually surprises me.
I've been having so much fun with the camera. I find that I’m shooting with it everywhere. I started photographing the bugs in my neighborhood park, then really fell in love with the Z series while photographing in Kenya and Tanzania. After every shoot, I’d look at the files and after being blown away, I’d want to shoot more. These cameras are helping me see nature differently and have helped prove to me that beauty is seriously all around us.
For the footage in the video I used both the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. I like to keep things light and simple so I’ve used only a couple of lenses: the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR and the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED for macro photography, utilizing the Mount Adapter FTZ. Some clips are handheld which I think is crazy, but I love the in-camera stabilization.
I’ve always believed that life is way too beautiful and moves way too fast. I love photography because it lets me grab fractions of a second and capture that beauty. Slow motion alters time, allowing me to slow down and see and feel nature on a new level. I’ve seen things I can’t pick up with my own eye—like the pattern a bee makes with her wings while in flight, or the look in a lioness’ eye when she turns and looks at me.
I’m always trying to enhance the narrative of my subjects. When I was in a hide in Kenya photographing elephants, I felt like I was in the presence of dinosaurs. The feeling was something bigger than I could imagine, and I was having trouble putting it into a single image. I started taking video clips to capture the playfulness of the elephant calves in the watering hole and the affection shown, through touch, between the mothers and young. I began to see patterns in the water and in their trunks as they splashed around.
These moments have me hooked on shooting more slow-motion video.