There’s no doubt that as we become more and more technologically evolved, the amount of stress we are exposed to increases. Cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi all keep us connected to the grid.
We spend less time with our family and friends, we find ourselves multi-tasking on the commute to work all in an effort to try and get it all done.
We sleep less, we eat worse yet we say what a life saver technology is.
Filming nature and wildlife is a natural stress reducer for me. You have to be patient. You have to spend a lot of time just being in nature. When you have nothing but time while you’re waiting for the light to be just right or for some wildlife to make an appearance you start taking in the sights and sounds around you. I always feel better when I come back from filming nature and wildlife.
I noticed something a while back when I was editing some footage I had recently shot. I had some background music playing while I worked and I noticed as I edited the footage I became more relaxed. The tension in my jaw muscles was gone, my shoulders dropped and relaxed. My mind slowed down and just for a minute I was disengaged from everything around me.
So I wondered if it were possible to just break away for sixty seconds and see if that would make a difference.
Check out some of the videos below and let me know what you think.
Don’t Play the If Only Game
What camera should I buy? That’s the number one question I get asked when it comes to nature and wildlife cinematography. The second most asked question I get asked is what camera do you use?
While I’m humbled that other nature and wildlife cinematographers think highly […]
I love filming nature and wildlife! I love sharing what I’ve discovered and filmed as well as sharing my workflow and beliefs. Some posts resonate more with people than others. I thought I’d post the five most popular posts since I started this blog.
As I approach 100 posts it’s easy […]
Before I made the switch to digital video in 2005 I was a still photographer. My cameras weren’t digital, they used film.
For those of you that may have never used film let me give you an idea of the workflow.
35mm photography film came in small canisters, usually with enough unexposed […]
Yesterday, I talked about finding joy discovering the little things in nature and filming them. Today I’d like to talk about actually finding these little things. At first it may prove difficult or even impossible but with some practice you’ll start discovering some amazing things to film.
The Key to Discovering […]
Gilbert Chesterton said “One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”
Today as I was reviewing some footage I shot this past fall that quote really resonated with me not so much literally but from a mindset point of view.
For so many years my mindset was […]
“Never let anyone come between you and your camera. That’s my rule #1″
Those were the words one of my good friends and fellow filmmaker messaged me when I told him that I hadn’t picked up my camera in over a month over the end of a relationship.
I had written a […]
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 […]
My typical method for filming nature and wildlife it to visit a location and film whatever catches my eye.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with that as it’s worked for me for many many years resulting in some incredible footage.
This year however I want to try something different. I want to set some goals […]
Let’s face it, as the mercury drops, so does our desire to get out and film nature and wildlife. It’s cold, the landscape is bleak and wildlife is hunkered down conserving energy in an effort to survive. It’s far too easy turn off the alarm, roll over, pull up the […]
I read a recent article by nature and wildlife photographer Mark Graf of Graf Nature Photography about meeting a man that said “Nature wasn’t meant to be photographed.” His meaning was that nature is so grand and made up not only of sights, but smells, feelings and sounds that there’s […]
Low Light Sensitivity
As a nature and wildlife filmmaker, you can most often find me out in the field at first light and last light.
One of the hardest things for me is to see something amazing to film but the light is to low for my camera to capture.
Ove the years […]
In an earlier article I talked about music as one of the three things that caused former Indian Creek Nature Center director Rich Patterson to say “”I like yours because they are outstanding and very much set a mood.”
The second thing I think that helps my films stand out and set […]
Recently a photographer posed the question, would you rather have the best camera system in the world (price is no object) or learning to truly see (you could spot artistic compositions anywhere), which would you pick?
The vast majority said they would take the vision to see over having the best […]
Nature and wildlife filmmaking is all about decisions. Where do we go to find our subjects? Once we find them how do we compose the shot that we want? Is the exposure right? Is the white balance where we want it to be?
Sometimes our decisions are based on compromises. We […]
Recently, Panasonic called and asked if I wanted to shoot some more footage with the PX270 now that Iowa had greened up and subjects were more plentiful. But I had something better in mind, a trip back to Yellowstone National Park.
It had been several years since I had been in […]
I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but whenever I thought about filming nature and wildlife, my home turf in Eastern Iowa was usually pretty far down the list of locations where I wanted to plant my tripod and hit the record button. However on the last couple of years I’ve […]
When it comes to nature and wildlife filmmaking, one of my favorite places to visit when I want to shoot some nature footage is the Indian Creek Nature Center. From tallgrass prairies and Iowa woodlands to Iowa creeks and wetlands, it’s a great place when I want to connect with nature and […]
I saw an interesting post by a nature and wildlife photographer the other day talking about non-photographers inquiring as to what they were photographing when they were out in the field.
They explained in their post that they always tried to be polite and tell them but didn’t want to get into a long explanation […]
In my last post “It’s Important To Get Out In The Field Even If You Don’t Feel Like It” I wrote about making the effort to get out into the field and film nature and wildlife even if you’re heart wasn’t in it. The reasoning was that if you didn’t use you […]
It’s no secret that one of my greatest passions is filming nature and wildlife.
I’ve been taking photographs or shooting video since I was about eight years old. No matter what my day is like there’s something almost medicinal when I get behind a camera and take in what nature decides […]
Most of the time when I pick up my video camera and head out into the field, I never really have a set plan for what I want to film. I guess I tend to be an opportunist and film whatever nature and wildlife catches my eye.
I’ve worked in the […]
How many times have you said to yourself, if only I had (insert some piece of filmmaking gear) I’d be able to shoot better footage?
I know I’ve said it dozens, hundreds, heck maybe even thousands of times. Yet every time I’d add a new piece of video equipment to my […]
Check out the links below the video
Nature and wildlife filmmakers don’t often have a need for a wireless mic system that often. But the more I learn that the story is king, the more I see myself interviewing people about our natural world.
I’ve always been a fan of Sennheiser for […]
Even though I’m a nature and wildlife filmmaker I still browse photography websites from time to time. The two are so close together that what often applies to one applies to the other.
My latest browsing adventure happened when someone posted a picture of a lone tree against a sunset on […]
Nature and wildlife filmmaking usually present enough of a challenge as it is. But when I found out that the annual DVC/UWOL Charity Film Challenge was about to take place, I knew I had to sign up and give it a go.
A charity film challenge is pretty simple. You sign […]
Merry Christmas Everyone!
I hope you had a great holiday!
I look forward to sharing my love of nature and wildlife and how to better capture both on video with you in the coming new year!
Is It The Filmmaker or The Camera That Creates Great Looking Nature and Wildlife Footage?
How many times have you watched Nat Geo or Animal Planet and said to yourself, “If only I had the camera those guys use I could get some great footage too”?
I know I used to say […]
When The Weather Turns Bad Do You Pack It In? You Could Be Missing Some Great Footage!
Everyone loves to go out an film nature and wildlife on a warm, sunny day. I mean who wouldn’t?
Give me a warm Spring day with golden sunlight and I’m off with my […]
The Trees Speak to Those Who Choose To Listen
Last night as I was finishing up my location scouting at Indian Creek Nature Center, I stopped again at Founder’s Grove and just sat and took everything in. I felt the wind on my face, I watched as the branches of […]
Scouting Indian Creek Nature Center For Locations
Today is the first full day of being able to focus on the theme for the DVC/UWOL Charity Film Challenge.
I spent some time last night looking up legends and folklore on trees. Found a great Native American story about why the trees lose […]
It’s Go Time!
Today the theme for the 6th annual DVC/UWOL Charity Film Challenge was announced.
And the theme is… “TREES”.
At first it sounds deceptively easy to crank out a four minute film about trees. But then you start to think about it and you realize you just can’t shoot a […]
An Opportunity to Follow Along As I Try to Create a Film in 14 Days!
A few years ago on the Digital Video Information Network a bunch of nature and wildlife filmmakers got together to create a film challenge to build friendships, grow as filmmakers and to just plain have fun.
Standing Tall Isn’t Always The Best Way To Shoot Nature and Wildlife
This nature and wildlife filming tip is actually a supplement to my Ten Tips for filming nature and wildlife eBook. But after watching the video again, I thought it was such an important point that I wanted to put […]
Even though I’m releasing this video on National Dunce Day, it seems that no matter what day it is, there are certain things I overlook time and time again when I’m out filming nature and wildlife.
The dictionary defines a dunce as someone that is incapable of learning. I don’t think […]
Why do you film nature and wildlife?
I’ve always loved anything that had to do with animals. My parents have an old 8mm film of me trying to feed an apple to a rocking horse or talking to an inflatable elephant. I took my first real photograph when I was eight […]
Whenever I meet another seasoned nature and wildlife filmmaker, the conversation invariably evolves into our favorite moments that we’ve experienced out in the field.
When I was first trying to learn wildlife filmmaking my conversations almost always revolved around camera gear. What’s the best camera for filming wildlife, how to find […]
It’s just a given that nature and wildlife filmmakers spend a lot of time out in the field doing a whole lot of nothing.
If you’ve ever spent any length of time in a blind or hide then you know that the hours can seem like days while you’re waiting for […]
Greetings my fellow nature and wildlife filmmakers! Did you know that today is National Dabbling Day. Until recently I never even knew we had a day devoted solely to dabbling on any level let alone a national level.
So today I want to talk a little bit about dabbling
Now, you may […]
Do You Know What Today Is?
As nature and wildlife cinematographers, we’re certainly faced with a lot of frustrating situations that at times make us just want to scream.
The weather is probably the biggest frustration we face on a reoccurring basis. Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve planned to […]
I was watching a nature and wildlife photography show the other day. Two nature photographers were going back to a place where there were some fantastic flowers growing tall against a blue sky.
When they reached the location all the flowers had been cut off. One photographer said they were most […]
Fall is a great time to film wildlife and nature on the tallgrass prairies in the Midwest. Warm days and cool nights oftentimes produce ground fog and plants and insects covered with dew.
Ground fog and dew quickly vanish once the sun rises, so a wildlife filmmaker needs to act quickly […]
It’s something that every wildlife filmmaker will face more than once in their career. The choice they make can make or break a filmmaking session. I’m talking about staying with a subject or leaving in hopes of finding better wildlife to film.
We’ve All Been There
You know what I’m talking about. […]
The world we live in is rich with beauty and these five spots provide exceptional opportunities to capture it. The next time you are ready for some adventure, grab your favorite video camera and get ready to get wild!
Denali National Park, Alaska
The landscape here is among the grandest in the […]
When it comes to the process of wildlife and nature filmmaking I think of it as a three legged stool.
Two of the legs I’ve already talked about, patience and practice. The third leg of the stool is persistence.
It takes all three legs to make the stool stand. Take away any […]
The saying goes once you learn how to ride a bike you’ll never forget. Well, that may be true but I can tell you from experience that doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it.
I’m a firm believer that there are three things every nature cinematographer must work on if […]
Ever have one of those days when you’re out filming nature and wildlife and something happens that makes you realize that no matter how long you look through a viewfinder, nature will always take you back to school and teach you a lesson?
I had one of those days last week.
If you drive pass the tallgrass prairie of the Great Plains it is easy to think that there is very little going on given the relative lack of large animals. Yet nature is never what it seems at first glance and the vibrant prairies of the plains states are thriving […]
As a nature and wildlife filmmaker, weather and more importantly, the sun plays an important role in the video footage I capture.
Overcast days can make woodland wildflowers look fantastic but make a landscape dull and lifeless. Clouds can add impact to a clear blue sky or thwart your attempt to […]
When Panasonic released the Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 HD Handheld Camcorder it was the camera I had been waiting for. Full raster HD, a monster 22X zoom lens and AVC-Intra codec. The peaking feature made it a snap to see when a subject was in critical focus.
But in the run […]
When you think of early morning woodland scenes dew covered flowers and spider webs instantly come to mind.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than being up at first light on a still quiet morning and filming the morning dew before the sun begins to climb high into the sky and the […]
Depth of field is defined simply the distance between the nearest and farthest object that is in acceptable focus in your shot.
Now with small chip cameras, getting deep depth of field is pretty easy. In fact, it’s a given. But what is a bit harder to achieve is what is […]
Filming woodland wildflowers is a great way to shake off the winter blues and capture nature awakening from her long slumber.
Filming woodland wildflowers can not only be a challenge because of their diminutive size but also because the narrow window of opportunity you have to film them.
Woodland wildflowers are in […]
As a nature and wildlife cameraman, I want to share one of my best tips for shooting better nature and wildlife video.
But before I tell you what it is I want to tell you how this one single tip has worked for me.
It has allowed me to win several awards […]
As a nature and wildlife filmmaker, Yellowstone was one of my favorite locations in the United States to film nature and wildlife.
Every year, millions of tourists, photographers and filmmakers travel to America’s first national park to gaze in wonder at the incredible sights, sounds and smells Yellowstone has to offer.
Nature and Wildlife filmmakers are always looking for ways to get closer to their subject when shooting wildlife video.
Even the Panasonic AG-HPX250 with it’s incredible 22X zoom lens, you sometimes wish you had a bit more reach.
Digital zoom has traditionally been a feature used by camera manufactures to sell cameras […]
In addition to the 22X zoom and AVC-Intra codec, another one of my favorite features of Panasonic’s AG-HPX-250 is peaking.
Basically peaking is electronically “highlighting” the edges of your subject. My HPX-170 has peaking but nothing like the HPX250.
The best way to explain how it works is to show you. So […]
When you film nature and wildlife more often than not you wish you had a camera that had a longer zoom. The bigger the zoom, the further away you can be from skittish wildlife and still get great footage.
So when Panasonic called asking if I’d be interested in testing their […]
Over the last couple of days I’ve had an opportunity to test Panasonic’s new HD camera the AG-HPX250. Panasonic has taken the guts of a over the shoulder camera and placed them inside the body of a much smaller handheld camera.
The AG-HPX250 is similar in size to the HVX200 that […]
Nature and Wildlife Filmmakers Can Make a Difference
Nature and Wildlife Filmmakers play an integral part to making the citizens of the world aware of the dangers or injustices being done to nature and wildlife, the environment, the Eco-system and to Planet Earth. Filmmakers travel around the world researching and capturing […]
Without a doubt filming nature and wildlife is my passion. So when my wife and I travelled to San Fransico to attend a good friend’s wedding, I made sure I packed my video gear to get in a bit of filming while we were there.
My wife being a California girl […]
If you want to film nature there’s no better place than Kruger National Park in South Africa. When you mention wildlife filming, it’s the first place that comes to mind.
Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the largest national parks on the continent. It is a fascinating place […]
Filming nature and wildlife in Africa has always been a dream of mine. The opportunity to film nature in one of the last truly wild places on Earth left me with an even great appreciation for the wildlife inhabitants of our planet.
I based my time there in Kruger National Park […]
Welcome to Yellowstone National Park
Every year millions of nature lovers visit Yellowstone National Park to take in the scenery, get up close and personal with wildlife, and partake in the many adventurous activities the area has to offer. Although Yellowstone stretches into Idaho and Montana, the national park is situated […]
Get on the mailing list for Beginner’s Guide to Shooting Nature and Wildlife Online Filmmaking Course!
Whenever I’m filming nature and wildlife in some location I’m almost always asked what’s the best camera to buy or what’s the best this or that.
The truth is if you’re just getting into filming wildlife […]
Everyone has a defining moment that somehow ends up shaping their future. For me it was filming a wolf pack in Northern Minnesota.
I had recently made the switch to shooting HD video and this would be my first big adventure with my new camera.
My trip would be around Valentines Day […]
When it comes to filming nature and wildlife I’d have to say that water ranks right up there as one of my favorite subjects. I guess it’s no wonder that my sign is Pisces.
Whenever I go out to film nature I’m always looking for rivers, streams and creeks to videotape.
Probably one of my all time favorite places to film has to be Yellowstone National Park. I guess you could say I cut my filming teeth in Yellowstone.
The park has such a diversity of landscapes and wildlife. In all the years I’ve filmed there I’ve always discovered something new and […]
Silent Kingdom is a short film that deals with the ever increasing rate of species extinction, global warming and other issues that are destroying our planet.
As a nature and wildlife filmmaker, it’s important for me to make people aware of what’s going on with our planet and its inhabitants.
For me […]
When the first settlers reached the borders of what is now Iowa, it must have been a very different world that they saw stretching before them, swaying slightly in the breeze. The prairie grasses ran from one side of Iowa to the other, thick, plentiful, and full of life. The […]
Follow along as storm clouds gather and a drop of rain falls from the sky and begins its journey to the sea.
And as always, shoot the ordinary and make it extraordinary!
Filmmaking Naturally, online video tutorials assist you in your quest to obtain better wildlife and nature footage.
Award winning cinematographer Kevin J Railsback shares his decades of experience obtaining stunning imagery of the natural world. You’ll follow along on shoots, learn the tips and tricks he’s discovered as well as be […]
I love to film nature during the winter. The woods fall silent, the air is crisp, the sky the brightest blue.
It’s a great time as well for wildlife filming if you’re dressed warmly and patient.
In the predawn hours this morning I could feel the whispers of Winter starting to creep […]