What better place for a wildlife photographer than a locale that has a beautiful backdrop and a great variety of birds to find and photograph. That is where Monte Comeau calls home in Kootenay country of South East British Columbia, nestled in the Canadian Rockies. This is a wilderness area with great rivers, jagged peaks, pristine lakes and amazing wildlife habitat.
Monte uses Nikon equipment exclusively and sees himself as an amateur wild bird photographer however his images are stellar, showcasing birds and the environment. He shoots Nikon D810 and D500 bodies pairing them with a 500mm f/4, 70-200mm f/2.8, and a 300mm f/2.8. In 2015 he won First Prize in a wildlife contest of 4,000 images with Nature Canada and has accolades from winning other nationwide contests.
The attraction to Nikonians started when he first got interested in wild bird photography and was in search of information that could help him with his Nikon equipment. He counts it a blessing to have found Nikonians stating that he has ”always been able to find answers to many questions in the forums” and continues to find them a great resource. “… it has also become a great way to relax and enjoy what others are doing and saying in the Nikon world” he adds.
Monte credits learning from many at Nikonians in different fields of photography that “it is ALWAYS about the light.” He states camera bodies and great lenses can help but in the end the quality of the image is always dependent on great light.
When asked to share what method or piece of equipment that has been valuable in capturing images, Monte introduced the importance of point of view. He shares: “I think the low point of view I achieve in many of my images is something that sets me apart from others. Using long telephotos and shooting 90% of my photos from a kayak give me an extremely low point of view.”
He feels that the piece of equipment that has helped him achieve this is his kayak. Additional questions revealed Monte handholds his camera in the kayak always shooting with a 1/1600sec. shutter speed for that reason. He keeps his camera between his legs. Monte states if he does tip he would be out a fair amount of money but the perspectives and point of view are worth it for him.
He shares that as he has been out with his camera he has had memorable experiences. “Waiting in the predawn light of a small marshy lake as the sun rises and the birds begin to awaken is my definition of paradise. I am fortunate to be able to experience this many times a year in my adventures in trying to get the ultimate image.”
Landscape photography is an area Monte will choose to explore in the future. “I love viewing the great landscape images at Nikonians and will one day dedicate myself to learning this craft. But I am not ready yet to apply myself.”
When asked if there was anything he would like to share he wrote the following: “I am an ethical photographer and have strong feelings about how many of the images of birds we see today in magazines and websites that are shot in conditions that are closer to a studio setting than in the wild. Baiting birds in close, audio calls, flash set-ups and fake backdrops just to get the ‘perfect shot’ are very disingenuous and every image that is shot in this manner should be classified this way.” Strong feelings from a man who makes great effort to shoot with respect to reality.
We thank Monte for his time and effort in providing the information and photographs for this interview, as well as for his more and more frequent posting in the forums, sharing his skills with the community members.
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