Bronek Kaminski Captures Beasts
Bangkok-based British photographer Bronek Kaminski covers all of Southeast Asia for various news and editorial clients. Images from both of the following shoots ran worldwide in newspapers and magazines. They were taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and 580EX flashes.
“With the elephant shots, the mahouts had been working all day, it was midnight by the time I managed to get some time with them, and they were really keen to finish,” Kaminski recalls. “As soon as I got the last shot, they told me to come up onto one of the elephants. We set off to a stall, bought some beers which were passed up to us, and we finished off the day sitting around in their camp drinking.”
Perhaps a little more adrenelin-filled was the second shoot. “With the Cobra fighting pics, I was lying on stage shooting with a wide angle lens right next to the King Cobra,” he says. “The last thing I wanted to worry about was whether my flashes would fire or not.”
To make sure he got the shot, he relied on PocketWizards. “I’m using PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units for Canon,” says Kaminski. “They’re far more reliable than the previous make of radio triggers I was using, which was my main reason for upgrading to them. As there seems to be an interference problem with some Canon flash units, I connect them with a flash extension cord rather than directly onto the flash base, and they work great. I purchased them as soon as they were launched and over the last year or so they’ve taken quite a bit of abuse in tropical conditions, and have just kept working.”
“When you’ve got into position lying a few feet away from a poisonous snake, the last thing you want to do is have to get up again and try to figure out why your flashes aren’t firing,” he explains. “My aim is to shoot unusual subjects and situations from a totally new perspective, often in challenging conditions, and I need to be able to rely on my gear 100%.”
Speed is essential when dealing with these types of animals. “Normally I shoot with everything on manual, but the TTL function is great to have in situations like the elephant shoot where the subject is constantly moving and you’re up against the clock to get those shots,” Kaminski says.
Be sure to check out more of his work on his personal site.