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Five Minutes With Alison Buttigieg

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Female Nature Photography
Alison Buttigieg's passion for big cats is evident from her stunning portfolio. From brawling lions to curious tigers, it's clear that Alison has dedicated many hours and a lot of patience to honing her craft. We caught up with the wildlife photographer, who is a member of Female Nature Photography community website, for a quick-fire interview

What is your favourite piece of equipment?

Without a doubt my Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with built-in 1.4x Extender. I love the versatility it gives me for composition due to the range of focal lengths I can use, and I also like the fact that I don’t need to fiddle with traditional extenders. Also, the image quality is outstanding.

Define your photographic style.

Aesthetically I am usually after simple, striking images that ‘pop’ whether in colour or black and white. With each of my photos I try to capture the personality traits or the behavior of wildlife in such a way that the viewers feel they were right there with me at that moment.

Alison Buttigieg jaguar

What are your photography goals?

I want to keep improving my photography and at the same time inspire others to feel a connection with wildlife through the photos that I take and share. I would like to keep expanding my horizons and photograph a larger variety of wildlife. My long-term goal is to have the opportunity to photograph all big cat species in the world in their natural environment.

What is the biggest lesson you've learnt as a wildlife photographer?

Persistence is the key, and it applies to all aspects of wildlife photography. Persistence is needed to continuously learn and improve oneself. And it takes a lot of persistence to be out in the field for countless hours waiting for that one special moment, no matter how many times it just eludes you and how many times you are left empty handed.

Alison Buttigieg lions

What is your favourite subject and why? 

Big Cats are my passion – they are beautiful, graceful, lethal and fascinating. For some reason I find it a lot easier to read their personalities and bring it out into photographs - for other wildlife I have to work a bit harder. I love their expressive faces and body language which offer so many interesting opportunities for a photographer. Big cats are also found in many different habitats around the world, so photographing them gives me the opportunity to visit many stunning and diverse places which also host a myriad of other interesting wildlife.

What advice would you offer other wildlife photographers?

Patience and persistence are necessary qualities for wildlife photographers. Nowadays we are flooded by a large number of high-quality photos in social media and magazines, and it is easy to lose sight of how many sacrifices, hours of work and near misses took place before that shutter button went off. So no-one should get discouraged if they are not getting the expected results quickly enough – it’s normal and ultimately it’s exactly this aspect that makes wildlife photography so addictive. It wouldn’t be as rewarding if it was always easy!

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