I'm not going to even pretend I am a wildlife photographer. Instead, I'm more of an outdoor photographer in locations where wildlife happens to find me. Don't get me wrong: I would love to spend some time specifically shooting wildlife photographer, but it's gonna be awhile before I can follow that dream. Why? Read on.
Wildlife photographers are a specialized breed of photographer. How about a sports analogy to further not understand this? Forty six players will dress out for an NFL football game. Each player has a certain specialty. You can break the team down into offense, defense, and special teams. You can further break the team down into wide receivers, running backs, and linebackers. Then you can further break the team down by the most specialized fields of all: kicker, punt returner, and quarterback. These are your wildlife photographers. Highly specialized. Valuable. You are not just going to walk out of Best Buy with a camera and become a wildlife photographer.
I am somewhere between the Best Buy fauxtographer and the wildlife photographer. I adamantly believe the value of a photo is not the equipment, but the photographer. But there are some photos you just simply can't capture without the right equipment. My longest lens is my Sigma 80-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens. It's a great multi-use lens, and as you can see from these photos it can capture some pretty decent wildlife.
But these wildlife photos weren't quite as wild as you might think. The pelican pictured above was perched on a post along the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. A lot of the birds on the beach were just 50-100' away, making it an easy capture with my trusty telephoto lens. But in these instances the wildlife really came to me.
Every once in awhile I'll go crazy for a long weekend and rent a 300mm f/2.8 lens and a set of teleconverters. Teleconverters, or TC's, are placed between the camera body and the lens and allow you to increase the focal length, or range, of the lens. I typically use a 2x TC, which means the 300mm lens is now 600mm and I can capture wildlife much further away.
With all that being said, I love wildlife photography and would love to get better at it. But that will cost a hefty investment in some big glass. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens is on my wish list (it's a long list) but hopefully one day I'll be able to afford the investment and produce some really stunning wildlife photography. Until then, enjoy these photos I have captured on the beach, in the mountains, and everywhere in between.