Phillip Chang is undeniable a master photographer when it comes to wildlife photography but he also excells in landscape photography.
He quotes: “Sometimes there are just not enough words to describe what I see, or what I feel when I submerge myself in it, all I can do is to capture the moments with my cameras and share with others.”
The 1x community is proud to have him as a member. Enjoy to read more about the man behind his outstanding work.
I was born and raised in China. In the 1960s and 1970s, cameras were luxury items there and very few families could afford them. Luckily, my family had a camera, and I was allowed to use it when I was about 13. After graduating from college, I became an engineer and because of my experience with camera, I was appointed as “the photographer” in my company. The title gave me access to the company’s camera equipments as well as the darkroom. I loved to experiment in the darkroom. It was so fulfilling to watch as the images emerging from the chemicals that till today, I can still feel the feelings vividly.
I am an outdoor person. I love to observe ever-changing natural sceneries as well as wild lives in their natural habitats. They are stimulations to my mind and soul. “Why do you like to take pictures?” To me, the answer is simple - to seek excitement in my life and to express myself through my imagines. A picture is worth a thousand words, I cannot agree more. Sometimes there are just not enough words to describe what I see, or what I feel when I submerge myself in it, all I can do is to capture the moments with my cameras and share with others.
Out of all the categories of photograph, my favorite is wild animals. It is very exciting, never predictable, and definitely unrepeatable. Hunting, fighting, mating, or feeding, the animals amaze me all the time. You never know for sure what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, and what the outcome will be. You can only wait for it to happen, but never force it to happen. This is exactly where all the fun comes from. After hours or days of waiting, when you finally captured the perfect moment, it is like hitting a jackpot. The thrill is beyond description.
Wildlife photograph is like hunting without the killing. I think it is very important to train yourself to aim quickly and accurately, and to learn your "weapons" thoroughly and make sure they are always ready. The wait could be hours, days or even longer, but the opportunity may only last hundredths or thousandths of a second. To miss it is disappointing, to say the least. When I think about some of the pictures I could have taken, but failed due to technique or equipment shortfalls, I felt the mistakes were unforgivable, and I may very likely feel regretful for the rest of my life.
I believe sometimes, wildlife photograph is an art of waiting, rather than art of chasing. Being a wildlife photographer, I'm against chasing, staging, or in any ways harming animals to achieve good pictures. It is not an easy job to shoot wild animals, but learning the habit of your subject animals, getting to know the surroundings, and ready your cameras ahead of time could greatly improve the chances. For some of my pictures, I actually had a clear vision of how it should look. I picked out the perfect spot that incorporates the best light and background, took time to set my cameras, and just waited for the animals to enter my frames. All I could do was to pick out the stage and prepare myself, but it has always been the free wills of the performers that determined the outcome.
There are some pictures of mine that I like better than the rest, but so far, there hasn’t been a “perfect” one for me. For every single picture, I can find one or more things that could make it better. I’m always looking forward to the next one, hoping it could be perfect, or at least, better. The perfect picture may never happen, but the process of perusing one makes photo shooting a fun game. It is like gambling because you never have the total control, yet it is more exciting because you always feel you can do better and make it happen.
For my wildlife photographing, I’m currently using two Canon 1DX II and one Canon 1DX, along with a Canon 600mm/F4, a Canon 200-400/F4 and a Canon 70-200/F2.8 lens. They pretty much covered all I need at this point. I think post-shooting photo editing is very important. I usually use Photo Shop. To achieve clear pictures with fast moving animals, especially when the light condition is not ideal, ISO settings are usually higher than what I hope them to be. It is important, during photo editing, to reduce noise yet keep the details. This is also the time to add your personally touch to express what you see and how you feel. For these reasons, I believe photo editing is a must and the final imagines shows the experience and emotions of the picture taker.
I’m an armature photographer. I’ve taken my steps with great help from many mentors and friends, such as Jeffrey Wu, a professional wildlife photographer and a good friend of mine. Jeff is also actively involved with 1x. I truly admire his passion, vision and commitment. He once said to be a good photographer, you have to love photograph as your first love, accepting all she is and willing to sacrifice everything for her. The further I go down this road, the more I could understand his words.
I love the works of Bence Mate from Hungary. I was lucky enough to meet him twice. I love his use of light, his special view, and how he constructs his pictures. The works are truly inspiring.
A good picture should capture viewers eyes and touches their hearts. So far, I have been trying on the hard side, such as techniques and editing. Improving the soft side and showing more feelings is what I need to work on.