What’s more magnificent than shooting some of the biggest predators on Earth in their natural habitant? Raptors such as hawks, falcons and owls, but also sharks and lions. These are some of the animals Brian (spider1987), have had the privilege to shoot. Inspired and addicted to ur natural world, Brian started shooting the grand creatures of the wild in an effort to convey how mankind is upon the verge of destroying the planet we live in.

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

Well, Im 56 years of age, own a long established roofing firm in Southern Ontario, where I also reside, about 45 minutes west of Toronto. My background is art actually, though no formal art education, I’ve always sketched & painted birds, landscape’s & wildlife in various mediums, ever since I was a kid. Having always been an adventurer who is completely addicted to and inspired by our natural world, photography just seemed to fit. To my eye it captures the magic which beholds me and I feel it as art in motion, as it is ever changing, from moment to moment.

When did you first think about becoming a photographer?

I began as a scuba diver a number of years back. I was so fascinated and captured by what I saw beneath the waves, that I wanted to be able to share with friends and family those incredible colours, corals & marine life in pictures. I only shot underwater prior to 2015, but with sometimes months between dive trips, this year I decided I would try my hand at topside shooting.
I have no formal training in photography and I am self taught for the most part. I did a 3 day underwater photography workshop last January 2015, ask lots of questions and have made friends and travel with professional photographers from time to time.

I have miles to go and would consider myself as only a photography hobbyist.

Where do you get your photographic inspiration from?

From Nature! Our natural world always keeps me in awe.

Do you have any influencers?

Oh, but I do! Amanda Cotton, Amos Nauchoum, and Ellen Cuylaerts. They are all new friends, who always amaze and inspire me. If you haven’t heard of them, you’re in for a treat. All are wonderfully amazing, professional nature and underwater photographers with many awards, achievements and credits to their names.

What is your favorite subject to shoot?

At the moment, I am shooting a lot underwater. So my favorite subject would be sharks, though I will be photographing sperm whales this February and giant Manta’s in March, so favorites may change!

Topside I am fascinated by birds. They just completely capture my imagination and especially the raptors. Again, this may change as December 2016 I will be exploring four of Africa”s most notable National parks. Perhaps next year lions will be in vogue.

What is your favorite gear to shoot with?

When shooting underwater, I use an Olympus 4/3 OMD 1 with a Nauticam housing & lens ports, Inon Strobes, Sola 1200 or 3000 Video light. Im shooting predominantly wide angle, Ziuko 7-14 mm or 8mm fisheye, though I do play with the 14 -42 as well. I also have a macro lens, but its very rare for me to use as I typically prefer the big animals, to small critter’s like nudi’s & shrimp.

For topside photography I was shooting the Olympus all summer with a Tamaron 150 - 600 mm fully manual lens or the 14 - 42 mm. The Tamaron is a very difficult lens to shoot with, the manual focus having to be spot on or the shot is wasted & out of focus. It was an experience and a valued teacher but honestly, I am so happy with my new camera gear acquisitions (and I did hours upon hours of research). I have the Canon EOS Mark IV & the Canon f2.8L 400 mm IS II and the f2.8L 70 -200 IS II lenses. For what I like to photograph, they suit me very well. I will be looking for a back up or secondary Canon body soon. I am also thinking to semi retire the Olympus and take my Mark IV beneath the waves.

When you go in one of your travels, what do you take with you? Why?

A lot of gear! Typically when I travel, I am diving, so I need one suitcase just for dive gear. Another Pelican case for camera housings, ports and lighting. Then another for personal effects and camera accessory items. Then I have two carry on luggage for cameras, Ipad and iMac and delicate electronic gear. On dive trips I will typically leave the big lens at home though and only take the 70 -200 mm.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

I do a lot of reading, video watching, asking questions and looking at tips, tutorials etc. But mostly its curiosity. When I see a shot I really like, I ask myself ”How was that achieved”? Then through experimentation and research, I’ve learned something new!

What it is you want to say with your photographs?

I’m simply trying to convey, that it is such a beautiful and utterly fascinating world in which we live and that we are very near, upon the verge of destroying our natural world. Please admire and protect it for our children and future generations.

How do you actually get your photographs to do that?

People are very visual and when they see something that is beautiful it awakens their curiosity and they will ask questions. I will thus, give them an abridged education about the subject and facts about its status in the wild today. How man has affected it and what we can do to help protect it.
I call it my 2 minute rant. lol

B&W or color, what do you prefer and why?

No preference really. I enjoy both. It really depends on the subject or image. Some images shot in colour are much more captivating and striking in black and white. I always shoot in colour and if I deem the shot would best as B&W, then I’ll convert it when editing. I never intentionally set out to shoot only B&W.

For more photos of the wild please visit Brain's profile.