Paolo Torchio specialises in Wildlife and Nature photography, and leads Photo Safaris. Find more of Paolo’s work on Facebook and on his website, www.paolotorchio.net. You can reach him on email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at +254 722 527 726.
How long have you been shooting?
More or less 15 years.
When did you go pro?
Ten years ago.
What body/bodies do you use?
Nikon D200 for phototraps on remote controlled pictures, two D300s, a D700 and D500.
What’s your favorite lens and why?
The Nikkor 500mm f/4. I’m sure it’s one of the best lenses in the world – it’s perfect in sharpness, clarity, contrast, no defects.
What’s in your camera bag for a standard shoot?
The D500, usually with the Nikkor 500mm f/4 lens; the D700 with the Nikkor 80-400mm D ED, a very versatile lens; and the D300 with the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 and a 1.4x teleconverter.
What is your favorite place in Kenya to take pictures?
A classic: the Maasai Mara. But I love the Samburu area for the unique landscape and different animals. Amboseli for the elephant shooting.
What is the most challenging shoot you’ve been on to date and how did you get the shot?
Impossible to answer, each and every nice shot is coming from its own challenges, but taking good shots of hunting, running cheetahs is always challenging.
What’s the story behind your favorite image?
As I said, each of them has a different story, but for all of them you need patience, you must know the territory well and you must intimately know the animals. You have to look for them, you have to follow them, without disturbing them. You have to anticipate the situation and spend time – a lot of time – sometimes in a nasty environment. Every photo it is a different story.
What do you love about being a professional photographer?
I love to spend my time in nature, with the animals, and I like to share my experience with other people. I like to lead photo safaris with guests with my same passion, showing them how to use the African light at it’s best and showing them the animals that I love. I like to share my images through the most important wildlife magazines, because I think that one of the most important roles of a professional wildlife photographer in nature conservation is to show the rest of the world how nice and important our natural world is. Nobody will protect what they don’t know, and our mission is exactly this: To bring our best images to the attention of people, to sensitize them and to involve them in protecting the ecosystem.
What are your top tips for photographers looking to develop skills in your specialty(ies)?
The top tip is to love the animals and nature, and to never stop learning from them – observe and gain experience. You can be a technically excellent photographer, but if you miss the soul of what you are going to photograph, your image will be without soul too. Just one of the millions of postcards in the shops. And you need to be patient, so patient. To the point that you ask yourself “Why am I loosing all this time and not doing anything?” But in the end, the prize will come!
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