The Story of Scott Copeland Images
Scott has been photographing nature since he learned to use a camera 30 years ago - a Nikon FE2 with a 50mm f1.4 lens. He has been blessed with many opportunities to experience the natural world. Those experiences helped to focus his interest, and hone his skills.
Scott lives in Lander, Wyoming which is nestled up against the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming's heartland. Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and several wilderness areas are an easy day trip from there. When possible, he is out photographing. That means when he's not doing his day job or being a dad of twin girls. He and his wife love to travel, which explains the photos from Africa, Katmai, the Yukon, and Patagonia. Scott uses Nikon camera equipment, including the D850, his latest toy.
His studio is a digital darkroom at home with an Epson Pro 3880 and 7600 printer. Both are setup to use Ultrachrome inks with the matte black ink. I make all my prints on matte paper to cut down on glare when the images is displayed.
Any of the images here are available for free use to non-profit pro-environment organizations. Without such groups these photos may not have been possible, and may not be possible in the future.
I don't photograph captive animals (The photos of the orphan elephants at the amazing David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage being a worthwhile exception). I don't do anything to a digital image that I couldn't do to a negative. My goal is to see nature and capture it in its truest form. In other words what you see is real and as close to what I saw as I could get.
I love photographing wild animals. There is a unique relationship between the photographer and the subject animal. As photographers, we are in the animal's home, and I am always aware of this fact and try to be a good guest. I work hard not to harass or disturb the animals I photograph - even if it means missing the shot. There is a paradox created by the desire to not disturb the animals, and the need to get close to take truly intimate shots. Generally, this can be mitigated with long telephoto lenses, and I use a 600mm f4 lens for maximum magnification. Magnification alone won't always get you the light and composition you need to make the shot. Another key factor is patience. When possible, I steer clear of big crowds at "bear jams", and try to interact with animals when I'm alone. This allows me to observe the animals and react to their behavior. I let the animals set the distance they are comfortable with and try to choose lighting and composition to get the best shots I can. I will gladly sit for hours and watch an animal, waiting for the one unique moment to make a shot. In fact, the opportunity to observe wildlife is the largest perk by far of the craft.
The reality of wildlife photography is that often it is possible to get closest to animals from inside a car. While I won't pass on a good shot if it presents itself while I'm in my car, I try to be away from the road when I shoot.