Interview with Wildlife Photographer Rob Cross

Rob Cross has taken his wildlife photography to levels beyond most of us. His portfolio features kingfishers, stags in the morning light, jumping squirrels, owls, etc. Animals that are on most wildlife photographers to-do list, but that we rarely get a chance to capture. Photography-RAW got the chance to interview him about his approach to wildlife photography.

How did you become interested in wildlife photography?

I have always had an interest in the natural world so when I got into digital photography it was always going to be about capturing as much of nature’s beauty as I could.

Photo by Rob Cross

Which other photographers have inspired you in your wildlife photography and how did they influence you?

No one person has particularly inspired me as such, I would say seeing various peoples images pushed me to get better but nature itself was the inspiration for me. Obviously, the internet has driven that too because there are images posted everywhere nowadays. A few years ago it wasn’t so saturated and a few people stood out from the crowd.

Did you have any formal training in photography, or how did you learn the craft of photography?

None at all, i just learned as i went along. For me the interest in photography was secondary to my interest in wildlife and my first camera purchase was merely to record what i saw. However my interest in the photography side of things just grew and grew because it soon evolved from just wanting to record what i saw to wanting to produce better photographs. To take good photographs you need to have a strong interest in what you are doing and need to have a decent understanding of your equipment and how to use it. The most enjoyable thing about photography though is that you are never fully satisfied and you always know you can keep improving, there is always a different image to be taken.

Photo by Rob Cross

What set of skills is important to be successful in wildlife photography?

Good fieldcraft and importantly respect for the subject. This is so important if you are serious about achieving good behavior images. The more time you put in the better you will understand and anticipate your subject. It can take months to understand how it/they behave but most individuals are creatures of habit and a pattern will eventually become more obvious. It’s not just enjoyable to photograph but also to watch, understand and gain knowledge of any wildlife subject is hugely rewarding for the experience alone.

Photo by Rob Cross

How much research goes into finding the subjects you want to capture, and how do you go about it?

This varies hugely, it can take weeks or months to get an image you are really satisfied with but on rare occasions you can get lucky! I spent five years photographing Kingfishers for instance, every individual had its own behaviour pattern and no two birds behaved totally the same. However in time I was able to anticipate how one particular individual was going to behave and captured my best images with this bird, it was a massive thrill.

How much is post-processing part of the images you create? And how do you approach post-processing?

Post-processing is important, however, I am someone who believes in presenting the image as it was taken as much as possible so personally I dont spend an awful lot of time doing this. I pretty much stick to basic adjustments, clean up any noise and add a touch of sharpening. Some photographers rely far too heavily on post-processing in my opinion but I have always steered clear of doing this too much.

Wildlife photography Photo by Rob Cross
Photo by Rob Cross

How important is gear for this style of photography? And what camera gear do you use?

I use Canon gear, and my main body is A Canon 1DX MKII which is a fabulous camera. It’s a very expensive piece of gear but extremely capable as well. However, you can get lovely images with a much cheaper camera, and the market has a huge amount of choice. My advice would be to do plenty of research and buy the best you can afford, don’t skimp on it as you get what you pay for and even more importantly learn how to use your camera properly! The new mirrorless cameras are getting better and better, and I believe this is where the future lies.

Photo by Rob Cross

What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting started with wildlife photography?

As I have already covered learning about the subject is the one piece of advice I would give above all else.

Thanks a lot to Rob Cross for sharing his approach to wildlife photography. After a couple of wildlife photography interviews here at Photography-RAW, I think it has become clear that knowing more about the subject that you want to capture is key success, and probably one of the things that most of us focus the least on.

If you want to see more of Rob’s wildlife photos you can find them on 500px.com or at his website.

Photo by Rob Cross
Photo by Rob Cross

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Hey I’m Peter. I’m the owner and editor of Photography-RAW. I make sure that you get the best articles about photography. Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape, nature and macro photography. I hope you enjoy the site 🙂
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Hey I’m Peter. I’m the owner and editor of Photography-RAW. I make sure that you get the best articles about photography. Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape, nature and macro photography. I hope you enjoy the site 🙂
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