Daniel J. Cox
What turns you on creatively?
My creative juices are really inspired when the weather gets ugly. Dean Conger, an associate editor at National Geographic back in the ’80s, suggested to me, “Dan, remember, the sun doesn’t always shine.” I’ve taken this to heart ever since.
What turns you off creatively?
Subjects that have been shot over and over again—Antarctica comes to mind. In the last few years, I, too, have had to shoot the things that are most popular, but it’s exciting to figure out a new location or subject opportunity.
What’s your dream photo assignment?
Three years documenting the Arctic. It’s changing so fast, and there are so many issues that will play out in that ecosystem within the next 10 years. Fortunately, I’m working on this project right now for Polar Bears International.
If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Thomas Moran, the 19th-century American landscape painter whose work helped convince Congress to create our first national park, Yellowstone. His work is stunning, and it would be so inspirational to talk to someone who saw the park before it was commercialized.
What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
I’m inspired by so many photographs, but one of my favorites is an image by Pete Turner called “New Dawn.” It’s a volcano in Iceland, and it’s incredible.
What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
I played in a rock group all through high school, and I love music. That was a dream of mine for a few years, but I realized it was extremely competitive. So I picked natural-history photography. Go figure!
What’s your favorite camera feature?
Video capture in the new still-photo digital cameras. I saw this train coming five years ago and I wasn’t happy at first, but now I’m as excited as I’ve ever been about the future of creating multimedia projects. I’m loving capturing moving images. The D-Movie mode in the D300S gives me the HD quality, and having autofocus available makes it even more useful for me in the field.
What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
Right now, it’s between the D300S and the D700. The D300S is my go-to camera for video. The D700 is the camera I reach for to capture natural-history and science images when the light is bad. The ability of the D700 to shoot amazing files in low-light situations is stunning. I’m able to get images I never would have even tried before. It’s opening up whole new opportunities for my wildlife photography.