In our Featured Photographer series, we highlight the work of our former and current students!
Your Name: Dr. Sandy Hurwitz
Type of Camera: I shoot both a Nikon D800 and a Canon 5D. I host friends and family on our ranch and love getting new folks into wildlife photography. Being somewhat familiar with both brands enables me to better help newer shooters and helps me learn from experienced ones. My primary lenses are an old Canon 600mm prime and a newer Tamron 150/600mm variable.
What do you love to photograph the most?
Wildlife / Nature – I live on a ranch in South Texas which is one of the most diverse eco-zones in America. Our flowers bloom at least nine months of the year, our vibrant bird populations change seasonally and our temperate climate provides year round shooting. In the Spring, Summer and Fall I concentrate on birds and wild flowers. In the late Fall and Winter I focus more on deer and other wildlife. Sunsets and landscapes are, of course, year round. The best thing about outdoor year round shooting for me is not the changing fauna and flora but the changing light. I never get over my fascination with lighting.
What is one thing you have learned that has improved your photography?
I basically use one quality camera of each brand and a very limited number of lenses. Every camera and every lens has its own characteristics and it takes a long time to truly understand the fine nuances of individual pieces of equipment. I also almost always shoot in M mode which enables me to eliminate variables while giving me maximum control. With wildlife, you seldom can can move yourself or the subject to get better lighting or composure. Almost every image I capture or more importantly fail to capture is unique, you don’t get second chances. The benefit of multiple cameras, lenses and settings does not, in my experience, compensate for quicker reflex time and equipment familiarity in producing the maximum number of quality images.
Advice you’d give to others wanting to grow in their photography skills:
Have fun! Find your passion and pursue it intensively. Push your limits to avoid getting into ruts. Most importantly, always have a coach. You never outgrow your need for one. The better you become, in fact, the more you need a coach. Olympic athletes are the best in the world but how many of them show up at the Olympics without a coach? Workshops combine all of these in one neat package…. coaching, concentrated shooting, new experiences, social interaction, travel and fun. I always come back a better photographer and a better person when I attend one.