Welcome to another Episode of Photographer Spotlight, this time I had the honor to step inside the world of Moose Peterson from America, who makes brilliant wildlife images but also shows breathtaking aviation images. In this exclusive interview, you’ll find out what it is that makes him so good in his field.
1) Tell us about yourself, where are you from, what got you into photography and since how long do you photograph?
I’m a 3rd generation Californian which influenced the first 20yrs of my career (starting in 1981). I live in the Sierra Mtns which sums me up pretty well. Being in the “wilderness” is the core of my life and totally influences all my photography, wildlife, aviation, and landscape.
2) How much time do you spend on photography on average?
It never stops, it’s a 24/7/365 passion for me. I might not be behind the camera all that time, I am thinking about the next photograph, looking at light, or experimenting with a new piece of gear or concept. I do have a camera in my hand every day even though I might not be making “the” photograph.
3) What is the favorite photo you took and why?
My conventional and digital files number 3.1 million. Everyone is a favorite as they are all memories. But those I hold most dear are the private photos of my family.
4) Which gear do you mainly use / What is typically in your camera bag?
I’m a Nikon shooter, have been since day 1. I don’t have a typical camera bag per say. I grab the tools I need from the locker for every project. It might be the 800mm for critters, 200-400 for aviation, 105f1.4 for folks or 14-24 for landscapes or the complete opposite. They are tools used to tell the story I’m experiencing so no lens is pigeon holed.
5) How do you prepare for an image?
I’ve been preparing for 40yrs for the images I take today. All life experiences go into every photo. Now personally, I don’t tend to go after just one image but rather a body of images that combined tell a big story. For that, I do the same prep as I might do for writing an article which is research on the subject. The better you know the subject the better you can take the photographs that tell its story. As for gear, that’s a constant process which I mentioned before. Having a war chest of tools and techniques I can pull out when needed I think is essential for a working photographer.
6) Do you have guiding principles that you follow when you’re making pictures?
When it comes to wildlife, you bet. No photograph is worth sacrificing the welfare of the subject. Beyond that, I don’t crop in post, it’s all done in the viewfinder and I depend on camera craft and not computer skills to make the photograph.
7) How important is post-processing for you? Can you tell us what kind of post processing you typically do?
Post processing is a tool like every other that in some ways are a necessary evil. I say that because I want to be behind a camera and not in front of a computer. Since I shoot Raw those images need to be run through ACR. After that, it all depends on the subject, the story that an image will or will not go into Photoshop for finishing. For example, my critter photos don’t get “photoshopped” where my aviation and landscape images often do.
8) What’s the most challenging part of being a wildlife photographer?
Time … just like with any genre of photography.
9) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
How much satisfaction giving someone a print really is!
10) Do you have general advice and tips for other wildlife photographers?
Don’t be hard on yourself, your photos tomorrow will always be better than today so there is no ending point, only growth!
11) What are your future photography goals?
Not sure I can put that in words for many reasons. One is the ever changing way in which we communicate visually. While editorial is so important to me, moving into documentary work is challenging and exciting so seeing if I can master that visual storytelling intrigues me.
Make sure to visit Moose Petersons Website and to follow him on Facebook & Youtube!