Charlie Hamilton James was one of six contributors to our special Yellowstone issue of National Geographic magazine. After you view the Parks & Wildlife story, see the work Charlie produced involving wildlife that reside in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Learn about the power of our parks on natgeo.com.
This was a tough assignment. Wildlife photography is a hard discipline at the best of times, which makes getting something out of the ordinary very difficult. I was really keen to see images that not only showed animals but showed them where they lived—images that were evocative and even emotional. I have to say that the majority of images I saw didn’t fit these guidelines, but a few really stood out.
I also like Bjorn Persson’s image of elephants in a sandstorm in Namibia. It’s a very powerful image. It is out of the ordinary, but not in a gimmicky way—in an evocative and beautiful way. Of course, this image is about being in the right place at the right time, but Bjorn managed to pull it off technically and see the image he wanted to capture. It represents the power of nature.
I would like to have seen more images of landscapes with wildlife in them. There were some, but many didn’t mention if they were shot in national parks or protected areas or they fell short technically or compositionally. As I mentioned in the original assignment, wildlife photographers must realize they are photographers foremost. A snap of an animal on holiday or in a zoo is not good enough to really cut the mustard. I wanted to see images where I knew the photographer had really thought about what they were doing and why they were doing it—during the moments of taking the picture, editing the picture, and submitting the picture.
Of the photos that really
stood out, I believe some of the photographers had really gone out to shoot and
some had lucky moments. Either way, the people behind the camera made frames
that pulled it off and presented to us wildlife shot in interesting and
exciting ways. Well done all!
Charlie Hamilton James is a National Geographic Photographer who is constantly staggered and inspired by nature both in its design and its beauty; it's led to a life long obsession to understand, document and save it. This obsession led to him studying and documenting kingfishers since he was a teenager. ...