Just Be Yourself When Filming Nature and Wildlife

This morning I was visiting Ana Rameriez’s blog, and read her post “Let the World See Who You Are”.
It really struck a cord with me and inspired this post. So thank you Ana!

It’s rare that a week goes by that I don’t get an email or a phone call asking me about my work.

Sometimes it’s other filmmakers that shoot the same video camera that I do wanting to know how to get their footage to look like mine. Sometimes it’s other production companies wanting to know how I take the ordinary and make it extraordinary ( their words, not mine 🙂 ) Sometimes it’s Panasonic asking if I’d be interested in trying out a new camera before it is announced to the public.

Whatever it is, I’m humbled that they feel my work is worthy of being a help to them somehow. I’m also surprised because before I gave up cable TV, I watched Animal Planet and Nat Geo and those are the guys that set the bar for me.

Ice formation on a country creekSo Ana’s post really got me thinking about letting the world see who I am. And I’ve realized that my nature and wildlife footage is really who I am.

back when I was into still photography I used to buy every book that other nature and wildlife photographers like John Shaw and Moose Peterson put out. I would study every word, every image and I would go out into the field and try to duplicate that.

Now there’s nothing wrong with duplicating someone else’s work. It’s a great way to judge your growth as a filmmaker. When you can get similar results, you know you have all the technical skills you need to get great imagery.

When I switched over to shooting digital video, there really weren’t any books out there by nature and wildlife filmmakers. So I took my skills I learned from my still photography days and applied them to my filmmaking.

Over time and trial and error, I developed my own style and how I see things.

I think one thing to really remember is that when I go out filming nature and wildlife, I shoot for me.
I’m not thinking about if this could sell as stock footage or if Panasonic would like this, I’m shooting what moves me.

A thistle in a tallgrass prairieI can recall one time in particular where I let someone get inside my head telling me to shoot this or that and to do it this way. The resulting footage suffered and it wasn’t up to par with what I had shot in the past. So I vowed to always listen to the beat of my drum and not to anyone else’s because I’m no longer shooting my style, I’m shooting theirs.

We all see things differently. You can line up a dozen nature filmmakers and give them the same subject and you’ll get a dozen different compositions and styles. So when it comes to showing the world who you really are, why not film what moves you?

It’s ok to try and duplicate what you see others doing, but once you have the technical side down, spread your wings and fly your own style. Once you experience that freedom of shooting for you, you may be surprised at the jump your footage will take!

By | 2016-11-06T09:39:01+00:00 January 16th, 2015|Categories: Filmmaking Naturally News|2 Comments

About the Author:

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin J Railsback has traveled as far as Africa to test HD cameras for Panasonic.
His stunning nature and wildlife footage has appeared in productions on National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel as well as in commercials for such corporate giants as AT&T.


  1. Ana January 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you, I’m glad I inspired your post, Kevin!

    • Kevin Railsback January 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks again Ana. I guess your post really resonated with me.
      Now I need to work harder and being just me in all aspects of my life!

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