A Walk on the Wild Side with Polpich Komson
A Walk on the Wild Side with Polpich Komson
For me, wildlife photography is about being one with nature; seeing the true beauty of the wild and wildlife in their most natural form.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 600 mm F4 GM OSS | 600 mm | 1/320 sec | F4 | ISO 800
Wildlife photography becomes truly successful when we can show the reality of nature in an image. To be able to do that, it requires good preparation, effort, patience and the most important of all—luck; because we cannot control nature as we wish.
This proved to be especially true in my chance encounter with the rare white-headed vulture.
Once, as I was returning to my accommodation after hours of shooting in the savannah, a white-headed vulture swooped down and started hovering in front of my vehicle.
The car was driving on bumpy gravel road and the equipment was packed away and not ready for shooting. It was the worst case of being unprepared at the right place, at the right time. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I instinctively grabbed my Alpha 9 and FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS and leaned out of the car window to grab the shot.
Alpha 9 | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 400 mm | 1/2500 sec | F5.6 | ISO 800
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are merely a few thousand left of this critically endangered species, making them nearly impossible to capture on camera. With the accuracy of the Alpha 9’s Real-time tracking AF and excellent 5-axis image stabilization system, I was able to capture the magnificent white-headed vulture in flight without missing a moment.
When both the environment and wild animals align, we and our equipment must be one in order to create the perfect shot. In my opinion, pressing the shutter at the right time is the charm of wildlife photography.
Alpha 9 II | FE 600 mm F4 GM OSS | 600 mm | 1/1250 sec | F6.3 | ISO 1000
Sony’s FE 600 mm F4 GM is a lightweight super-telephoto lens that creates beautiful shots when paired with a Sony full-frame mirrorless camera. It has a good balance and is easy to use without a tripod. Because I can use it handheld, it increases my flexibility and my chances to capture wildlife. Being able to keep my distance allows me to immerse myself into the landscape without having to worry for my safety, making it even easier to photograph natural wildlife behavior.
Alpha 9 | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 400 mm | 1/10000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 400
When I go out on shoots, I prefer to use the Alpha 9, Alpha 9 II, and Alpha 7R IV. The speed and accuracy of the Real-time Tracking AF system dramatically increase the possibility of getting that perfect shot. When using a long telephoto lens, framing can become difficult. Not having to keep a fixed AF point or zone over a fast-moving subject makes capturing quick, unpredictable wildlife a breeze.
Alpha 9 | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 339 mm | 1/1000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 400
Sony’s full-frame cameras also have Real-time Eye AF for animals. This means that I don’t have to worry about an animal’s eyes being out of focus as the camera will track it for me. It focuses without almost any error, even on the eyes of the predators—such as lions, leopards, wolves or hyenas.
Alpha 9 | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 400 mm | 1/1250 sec | F6.3 | ISO 800
When we don't have to worry about focusing, we can pay more attention to composition and framing of the photos.
Alpha 9 | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 400 mm | 1/1000 sec | F5.6 | ISO 800
Sony’s cameras and lens are built for durability. They can withstand even the harshest weather conditions which means I can go to any extreme location without much worry. Whether it’s the freezing cold of an icy tundra, a desert storm in Africa, crashing waves at the edge of Atlantic Ocean or monsoon season in Thailand's tropical rainforest.
One additional feature that has been unexpectedly useful is the ability to charge on the go. On top of the prolonged battery life, the ability to charge the battery through the USB port means my time in the wild is not limited by battery capacity. I can charge the battery via USB in the car while we change locations. Or if we are spending a night in the forest, I can use power banks to charge the battery—there’s no need to search for electrical ports.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 100 mm | 1/1600 sec | F4.5 | ISO 800
In wildlife photography, we must truly understand the animals' natures and behaviors so we can increase the chances of being in the right place, at the right time. Then, when the opportunities arise, being one with the equipment and its reliability is what separates success and failure.
Alpha 9 II | FE 100–400 mm F4.5–5.6 GM OSS | 400 mm | 1/800 sec | F5.6 | ISO 1600
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore.
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