Photographing Wild

In Books, Craft & Vision, e-books by David6 Comments

National Geographic Photographer Paul Nicklen is an astonishing photographer. What he does to make his photographs makes most of us look like dilettantes: we worry about getting to a location before sunset while Paul swims with killer whales, dives with Leopard Seals, and hangs out beside Spirit Bears while they eat. These things put him in places to make the extraordinary photographs he makes, and most of us aren’t going to go to the same lengths, but the principles that guide his work can guide ours, and help us make stronger photographs, no matter what the subject matter. Paul makes the photographs he makes because he understands it’s way more than how well he uses his camera.

Photographers like to put subject matter into categories, so it would be easy to consider Paul’s new eBook, PHOTOGRAPHING WILD, Techniques of a National Geographic Photographer, a book only about wildlife photography. That would be a mistake. The book is written by a man who is deeply passionate about conservation issues, to be sure. And most of the photographs that so lavishly illustrate the book are made in places many of us will never be. But the 16 techniques Paul shares will help you make stronger images no matter what you photograph. Whether your subject is a bear or a human being, whales or street culture, visual storytelling is visual storytelling.

Buy Photographing Wild Now.

It would be easy to consider PHOTOGRAPHING WILD a book only about wildlife photography. That would be a mistake.

What impressed me most over the months we collaborated with Paul on this book was how hard he works. He is a talented man, there’s no doubt about that, but he didn’t get through the doors of National Geographic on talent alone. In fact he practically beat his head against the door until someone finally opened it and gave him his chance. I think that gives us all hope. The techniques he discusses in Photographing Wild come from that work ethic and from learning his craft in one of the hardest, most demanding schools there is. There are no secrets, no gimmicks, and platitudes; just real world advice from a guy working his ass off for a magazine that routinely reminds its people that they can’t publish excuses. I have learned more about my own craft and what it takes to make the kind of visual experiences I want my photographs to be, from working with Paul over the last six months, than I have in a very long time.

There are no secrets, no gimmicks, and platitudes; just real world advice from a guy working his ass off for a magazine that routinely reminds its people that they can’t publish excuses.

Photographing Wild is a 200-page PDF eBook featuring (among others) some of Paul’s best-known work with Leopard Seals and Spirit Bears, as well as the input of some of his colleagues at National Geographic: Joel Sartore, Jimmy Chin, David Doubilet, and others, all of them legendary photographers weighing in on what makes great photographs and great photographers.  This eBook is also a chance to partner with Paul in his work: for every copy sold, 40% goes to Sea Legacy to help Paul, and others, continue to speak for the oceans and those that dwell under the thin blue line.

Photographing Wild is available today, on sale for just $10 (reg. $15) until September 24.


I don’t often do much more than post a quick blog post and let you know a new resource is out there. But this time I’m going to ask you directly to please consider buying this eBook. Do it now while it’s on sale. What Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier are doing with Sea Legacy is incredible and doing this ebook with them is a way I can be involved with that. I want you to buy this book because it’s an excellent book, filled with a lifetime of experience and incredible photographs. It’s also a chance to do some good. And then, would you share this post, tell others about it on Facebook or whatever your social media circles include? Share the video, give it a FB like, share the love in some way. This is a chance to make better photographs and a better world and that doesn’t happen too often.

Spread the Word!


  1. Got it and couldn’t put it down before reading it entirely… Very well made !

  2. I just finished this book, and it was incredible!!! I’m left feeling very inspired to get out and create great images.

    Thanks so much to the efforts of everyone involved to make this great resource available (I’m looking at you Paul and David, and the great crew you have around you).

  3. I bought my ebook two days before I was to leave on a photo tour to the Great Bear Rainforest. I knew we wouldn’t have internet, so I ran out to get it printed and bound before I had to leave!
    On the photo tour, I shared it with the other photographers , the captain walked by, reached over and looked at the cover and commented: ‘He is a nice guy, a real nice guy.’ I replied: ‘You know him, you know Paul Nicole, I would love to meet him !’
    Next morning the captain had already been out checking the crab traps for our dinner, we were eating breakfast, the captain opened the hatchway and said: ‘Tim come up here, bring your book!’ As I climbed out the hatchway the captain turned to me and said: “Paul, this is the guest I was talking about, Tim this is Paul Nicklen! “. He was apparently in the boat next to us in the estuary!
    I will bring the autographed copy so I you can autograph it as well!


    1. Author

      That’s the second time I’ve heard that story – the first was from Paul himself – he was really tickled by the whole thing. 🙂

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