Juan Pons- Wildlife Conservation One Photo at a Time!

Juan Pons is a world famous wildlife and nature photographer with an uncanny ability to connect with the creatures of this world and their habitats. With more than 20 years of experience behind the lens, Juan has dedicated much of his work to supporting wildlife and natural habitat conservation, often donating his images to non-profit organizations with nature and wildlife conservation goals. 

With the photo industries recent movement towards video, Juan has become a recognized expert in the idiosyncrasies of of shooting High Definition video with the latest DSLRs.

© Juan Pons

© Juan Pons

Taken during the 1st annual California Photo Festival, Juan is part of our incredible line -up of instructors at the 2nd annual California Photo Festival October 12-16, 2011. With events scheduled for all five days of the festival, you can learn essential shooting techniques for capturing beautiful landscape and wildlife images. Juan's workshop topics include vDSLR shooting and editing, Shooting Better Wildlife Photography, Sunrise- Capturing the Pink Light and more!

Here's what Juan is saying about the California Photo Festival...

What do you look forward to the most about this year's California Photo Festival?

© Juan Pons

© Juan Pons

Taken during the 1st annual California Photo Festival

"I love the energy, enthusiasm and the real desire to learn that each and every festival participant brings to the event. Plus I love meeting new people who are passionate about photography."

Why should photographers join you at the California Photo Festival?

"One of the things that is not mentioned enough is the camaraderie and friendships that are forged amongst festival participants as well as with the instructors. Spending 5 days with like minded people does wonders for feeding that love of photography and supercharging your creativity."

To learn more about Juan Pons and his adventures visit www.JuanPons.org

Join Juan and other amazing photographers for the largest photography event on the Central Coast this October for the 2nd annual California Photo Festival.

To see all of our events, instructors and more visit


A Great Tip from Wildlife Photography Specialist Juan Pons

Connecting with your subject

The most compelling photos are those that create a connection between your subject and your viewer. This not only applies to wildlife photography, but just about every other type, such as portrait, wedding, human interest, travel, Photojournalism, etc.

As the old cliché goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, so make sure your viewer connects with your image right from the get go.

The most effective way to create that connection is to maintain eye level with your subject, I am always amazed by how so many people will take images from a standing position without regard to their relative eye level to their subject. I see this all too often when judging competitions at local photo clubs.

Photo by Juan Pons

Photo by Juan Pons

For example, a beginning photographer will go to a local park or botanical garden to shoot some of the very tame and accessible waterfowl on a local pond, they will stand at the bank of said pond and as the birds are accustomed to being fed, they will approach. While standing the photographer will let it rip and take a bunch of images.

Unfortunately most, if not all, of those images will be very uninspiring. Why? Because they will show the subject while you are looking down at it, with hardly any eye contact. Without that eye contact it will be very difficult for the viewer to make a connection to the subject of your image. Also we are all accustomed to seeing ducks and other waterfowl from a standing position. An image that presents an unusual or fresh view on a subject has a better chance of having an immediate impact on the viewer, hence a good first impression.

Photo by Juan Pons

Photo by Juan Pons

Getting down low, very low, even lying down on the ground, to get at eye level is crucial in this situation in order to get an eye level shot.

In the two images shown accompanying this tip, I was in such a park, where the birds were tame and accustomed to humans. They would get very close looking for a handout.

I was lying down on the ground, with my lens on a beanbag getting shots as close to eye level as I possibly could. Being eye level to the Wood and Ruddy ducks present images of subjects that are engaged with the viewer and as such they are much more attractive and appealing; hopefully images that connect with the viewer.

We're excited to have Juan Pons as one of our instructors at this year's California Photo Festival, October 12-16, 2011! Juan will be here teaching wildlife photography, video DSLR techniques and more!

Click here to see all of Juan's festival events! 

Join us this year for the largest photography event on the Central Coast! Register today at CaliforniaPhotoFest.com.

Get more tips from our festival instructors by visiting our California Photo Festival Page

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Day 1 of our Wildflower Intensive

The fully laden bee butt shot.

Another great day at Light.  Hal's Wildflower Intensive is in full swing.  We spent the morning in the studio, gallery, and around the school perfecting our techniques of live view, expanded depth of field, flash, multi flash, reflector, diffuser, and more.

After a quick break we took off for a few acres of poppies.  Weather cooperated beautifully with full sun, blue sky, and cool (but light breezes.)

Deep cover.

Five and a half hours in the field with the flowers was incredible photography.  Off early tomorrow morning to do it all again with different subject matter (ok, I'll probably sneak a few poppies in.)

Fiat Lux!

Almost Eagle Time

Love the talon shadow on the right wing.
For my studio and speedlite/CLS crowd, light source hard or soft? And how do you know?

I was going through some older images this evening and that is when it hit me.  Eagle time is almost here.  I know it is still technically winter but Spring is right around the corner (although I would not guess it from the nippy -45 wind chill outside.)  With Spring on the way wildflowers and eagles cannot be far behind.  Time to break out and tune up the macros and super telephotos.

I am fortunate to photograph just about everything and I really get into it all, regardless of subject.  With that said, there is just something special about eagles. 

Hope you can join me to shoot some of Spring's offerings.

Fiat Lux!