Editor’s note: We asked celebrated local wildlife and nature photographer C.C. Lockwood to share some tips for our June 2021 “Wild Baton Rouge” issue. The below tips are in his words, as told to Benjamin Leger.
1. Just do it! Get yourself to national parks, state parks, wildlife refuges, botanical gardens, arboretums or even your backyard. The more you are out there, the better chance you have of seeing something Instagram-worthy.
2. To me, four things go into a great photograph—plus a few little kickers. These are equipment, technique, composition and location. Of course, you have to have a camera. Find out what model and lens will fit your areas of interest, such as birds, landscapes, close ups, underwater or whatever. Buy the equipment to fit those interests. Then learn to use it and how aperture and shutter speed affect your photographs. Next, make sure you point your camera in the right direction—compose it right. Finally, see tip No. 1: Get out in nature. Then, the kicker is looking for fantastic light, which will help you achieve that award-winning image.
3. Use a tripod enough to be quick and comfortable with it. Always use it when it will make your photo better. Not only will it make your image steadier, but it will also help you commit to making a better composition.
4. Join a camera club—or better yet, join the North American Nature Photography Association. Read and study nature photography books and magazines. You don’t need to copy anyone’s work, but studying others will pay off when you are looking at any subject.
5. Have locations in mind near your home when the light is beautiful. Let’s say you’re on the way home from work, the sun is nearing sunset, and you see red and yellow with streaks of white clouds and a deep blue cold front sky. Know a tree, a building or a pond that you can look west over, and go there for that perfect shot.
About the photographer
C.C. Lockwood has produced 14 books, written articles for National Geographic and other magazines, taught photography workshops and has his own photography gallery. A few of his many awards include the Ansel Adams Award from the Sierra Club, and a Louisiana Legend award from Louisiana Public Broadcasting. His most recent book, Louisiana Wild, depicts the diverse lands owned by the Nature Conservancy in Louisiana. cclockwood.com
This article was originally published in the June 2021 issue of 225 magazine.