Free Content • Five Minutes With Ashleigh Scully

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Female Nature Photography
Since picking up a camera at the age of eight, Ashleigh Scully has come a long way. Now 15-years-old, she is a member of Female Nature Photography community website, was named a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (11-14) category and loves to use her photos to raise awareness of important issues facing wildlife. We speak to this budding wildlife photographer for a quick Q&A

What is your favourite piece of equipment?

My favorite piece of equipment is the Canon 7D Mark II and the Canon 100-400mm II lens. I was able to buy the Canon Mark II last year with money that I earned and it feels really good to own something that I worked very hard for. This combination is really great. The lens is versatile and the camera shoots very fast.

Define your photographic style.

I am still working on my style. Mostly I try to present wildlife in a way that shares a story and makes the viewer feel empathy for the subject. I enjoy capturing wildlife in settings and situations that show emotion.

Five Minutes With Ashleigh Scully

What are your photography goals?

My goals are to keep working on my style and have more opportunities to photograph endangered species. I like taking pretty pictures but I would rather photograph subjects that are meaningful and connect the viewer with important topics. I would really like to return to the Alaska coast sometime and try to photograph wolves and whales there.

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

I used to shoot a lot of close-ups and frame-filling shots of wildlife. I liked the portraits because I thought the viewer would related to the image more. But I’ve learned it’s also important to back up and capture subjects in their environment. I want to work on placing my subjects within their natural landscapes and give more perspective to their habitat, which is a big part of telling any wildlife story.

Five Minutes With Ashleigh Scully

What is your favourite subject and why?

Well, I have two: owls and foxes. They are very different but also very similar. Owls are very elusive and hard to find, so it’s challenging to find them and photograph them respectfully. Owls are also found mostly at dawn and dusk when the light is soft and this makes photographing them more attractive. Red foxes remind me of my dog so they interest me a lot in the way that they interact as a family unit. If I am quiet and shoot them from my blind, I can witness some really amazing behaviors. I am always thrilled to see them.

What advice would you offer other wildlife photographers?

First, always be respectful of your subjects. Try to keep your distance or use longer lenses to get closer to your subject. Find a mentor. This can be someone whose work you like or a style that you admire. Send them an email and ask them a question. You would be surprised by how helpful people can be. Also, look for subjects in your backyard and practice. You can shoot anything - frogs, snakes, birds, insects, anything. This will help you be prepared when you have the opportunity to photograph other species. Lastly, look at other people’s work and decide what you like and don’t like about it. Joining a camera club with critiquing sessions will also help you improve your skills. Don’t give up!

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