Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore

On Photography

What turns you on creatively?
Great light and a really interesting subject. What else is there?

What turns you off creatively?
Mean people. Life is too short to be around people who aren’t pleasant. Beyond that, it’s lousy light.

What’s your dream photo assignment?
To go around the world and photograph the world’s rarest animals before they’re all gone. I’m actually living my dream assignment every day!

If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Richard Avedon because he not only blazed a lot of trails photographically, but also was very kind to me when I needed some help early in my career.

What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
Richard Avedon’s “Dovima with Elephants.”

What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
I have a fondness for old things, and I’ve always been interested in the notion of being an antiques dealer.

What’s your favorite camera feature?
The recently developed and improved high ISO settings in Nikon’s new generation of cameras. With the ability to shoot at ISOs up to 12,800 or even 25,600, I’ve been able to work in very low light without flash, which helps me not intrude on the scene or alter what’s happening. The advancements Nikon has made in ISO has been nothing short of remarkable. I never could have made these images with film.

What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
I really like the new D700. It’s a fairly lightweight camera that’s easy to use and works in nearly any light. If you can see it, you can shoot it. That’s huge. Like the D3 and D3X, the D700 has an FX-format (full-frame) image sensor, which gives me outstanding photographs without losing anything at the wide end, and I get incredible edge-to-edge image quality. I’m also a big fan of the Nikon internally focusing lenses, which don’t scare animal subjects when I’m working very close. The AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 200-400mm ƒ/4G IF-ED focuses very close, and I find it extremely convenient to have that zoom feature on a lens like that. It’s sharp as can be, too. I’m extremely enthusiastic about Nikon products these days. They don’t fail me, and they help me capture the pictures I envision before I ever leave home.

Nikon D700
  • 12.1-megapixel, FX-format, full-frame CMOS image sensor (4256 x 2832 pixels)
  • 51-point AF System and 1005-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II
  • High-speed shutter capable of 1?8000 to 30 sec. and 5 fps at full resolution
  • Extended ISO settings from 100 to 25,600
  • Built-in EXPEED image-processing technology improves image quality, operating speed and battery life
AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 200-400mm ƒ/4G IF-ED
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) operation offers the equivalent of using a shutter speed 3 stops faster
  • Exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables ultra-high-speed autofocusing with exceptional accuracy and powerful super-quiet operation
  • 4 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements minimize chromatic aberration and provide higher resolution and superior contrast
  • Minimum focus distance of 6.2 feet at all focal lengths
  • Internal Focusing (IF) design for smoother focusing and great body balance

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