Posts by Tin Man Lee

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Do Wildlife Photography

I have had many hobbies in my life, but nothing comes close to my love for wildlife photography. Over the years, I have made many wildlife photographer friends. Interestingly, many of them were competitive in one or more hobbies, or were doing well in their professions before taking up wildlife photography. Some were successful commercial…

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Bobcat And The Zen of Letting Go

Bobcat never comes back.   Brent said, as our car was driving forward while the photographers in the car behind us decided to stay and wait, after we all caught a glimpse of the tail of a bobcat disappearing into a bush. “Bobcat never comes back?” I murmured this line to myself, repeatedly. “That’s zen. That’s the…

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Ten Best in 2014

It was still dark. 6am. Listening to the audio book “Ender’s Game”, sipping a bottle of red bull, I was already driving on I-5, for yet another quest for the elusive bobcat. The quest was a complete failure the week before. There were more cars on the road that I thought, especially trucks. Everyone were on…

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How To Find The Fastest Bird In The World

How fast is 242 mph?   Imagine driving at the 75 mph speed limit on a US freeway. Now think about driving 3 times faster. 242 mph is faster than the top speed of a Lamborghini Aventador. We all heard of the F-16 fighter jet. Wonder what the “F” stands for? F stands for Falcon. And the…

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The Number Two Secret To Wildlife Photography

#1. “Hey bear, good bear.” Our group kept calling while we were trekking in the tall grass, in pitch dark, at 5am. Well, summer in Alaska never got completely dark, but it’s still so dark that I could barely make my way. Being clumsy I was always the one being left far behind the group. We…

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Birders are from Mars, Bird Photographers are from Venus

It was a disaster. Lance, the slender-built gentleman from our birding group, was sinking into the wet mud so quickly that when I realized what’s happening, the lower half of his body was below the mud. It was like quick sand. Lance looked helpless as he used both hands to hold his Nikon 200-400mm lens and camera…

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How to develop your style in wildlife photography

In this post I will point out two photography “styles” that I don’t like. Maybe I just don’t understand it. Anyways, different strokes for different folks. It’s just my observation. Style is such a sexy term. If your art has its own style, people could immediately tell it from afar. Oh, that’s a Van Gogh. Wow, that’s a…

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Special Bond between mama bear and cub

You all know I am a super fans of Michio Hoshino. Last year before my Arctic trip, I stopped by the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska, where I saw his writing on a wall: Tramping through the mountains of Alaska, I frequently encountered grizzlies. One spring day I spotted a grizzly sow and cub…

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My Quest for Barn Owl: 7 Unforgettable Experience

“Haunting, beautiful, startling, innocent, ghostly, adorable” — all these words came to mind as I was clicking the shutter nonstop like a machine gun, before the loud voice in my brain said “DODGE!!!” … Barn owls are nocturnal. Photographing them flying with natural light is not supposed to be possible. If you have seen pictures of…

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How wildlife photography taught me about life

What’s it like then, the road of life? Just like geese taking off from the muddy snow. (excerpt from a poem by Su Dongpo) Who would have thought I had the opportunity to experience what the grandmaster Su Dongpo wrote 900 years ago, here in one of the biggest snow geese takeoffs in the world. It was…

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Surprising power of Less in Wildlife Photography

Ever watched a movie when in the first few minutes you had no idea what was going on? It felt like the movie started from the middle of nowhere. Then as the story unfolded, as the protagonist overcame one danger after another, you gathered more and more information. In the last 20 minutes of the movie,…

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The Number One Secret to Wildlife Photography

Recently I have been enjoying a little book called “Anything you want” by Derek Sivers. He started with a question to the readers: “What’s your compass?” Excerpt: Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in…

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6 Things you don’t know about Mountain Goats

I said to myself “Tin Man Lee you are a freaking genius” when the idea suddenly bestowed unto my head. “If I go to Mount Evans in June instead of July like last time, I could get photos of newly-born mountain goat kids in the SNOW before it was melted. Woohoo.” Pre-visualizing your shot. Check. And…

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How goose changed the world of literature and photography

“Please tell me that geese do mate for life.” I chased down my good friend Melissa Groo, who is an expert in birds as well as an excellent photographer, and texted her in a big hurry. She immediately said, “Yes, but why did you ask?” I slowly sat down, my eyes fixed on this one particular paragraph of a…

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How I do Wildlife Photography

I did those too. Circa 1999… Things weren’t good. Sometimes I wondered if I could just find one thing in life I didn’t suck at. Every evening, I would stroll to the Photography section at my local Barnes and Nobles to pick out the same two books. (i) The Art of Bird Photography by Arthur Morris…

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My Quest for the Snowy Owls: Four Unforgettable Experience

I regretted not listening to my friend Conrad who had been here before. “The snowy owls are on the beach. It’s cold. It’s a long walk. Bring more water,” He said. Living in Los Angeles, I imagined any beach would be like Santa Monica Beach, where I would park my car next to the ferris wheel and…

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Close Encounter with a Bull Moose

I know you like moose… I want to tell you my 12 notes of how this photo happened: 1. It was snowing in the Alaska Arctic in late Sept, 2012. We saw the moose from far away near a river. We were led by pro photographer and leader Hugh Rose and trekked for half a…

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Yellowstone National Park in the Winter: My 6 Unusual Encounters

  My hope was slowly fading away. Five days have passed. For each of those days, we left at six in the morning and drove for twelve hours straight, back and forth, on a figure “8” shaped road inside Yellowstone National Park. We were desperately trying to track “her” down through the snow covered mountains…

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Yellowstone: One Small Step

I still remember an incident that happened in the Spring time at Yellowstone several years ago. We were driving on a mountain road when we came to a big traffic jam. Over ten cars were parked on the side of the road. Big traffic jam usually meant wildlife sightings. I quickly took my cameras and…

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Last Moments of a Bison Calf

  Our photographer group of seven saw them around eight in the morning. We were in Lamar Valley, at the north of the Yellowstone National Park. There are frequent wildlife sightings, including the gray wolf, bighorn sheep, bison, coyote, and elk. A three mile long two-lane road going from east to west penetrated the Valley,…

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