Photography is a creative art and we're all trying to be original in our own way. In wildlife photography however, it is difficult to come up with refreshing images as our subject matter doesn't really change. For fashion photographers, architecture photographers, photo journalists and sports photographers, it's a lot easier in that aspect - their subject matter changes all the time. Most animals look the same now as they did 25 years ago, yet we still photograph them again and again, and the result is that there are millions of pictures around of most of the more common animals and a lot of them simply look or feel the same. To take a good photograph of a lion today that doesn't look like all the other zillions of good photographs of lions is not an easy task to say the least.

What I usually do when I go on a trip to photograph a specific species, is a lot of research on what kind of pictures have already been taken of it. I use (photo) books but also the internet to see what's been done already and if there is anything that I can come up with to create something different.

For one of my first trips to Japan I looked at thousands of images of snow monkeys for instance and noticed that most of them were done with on-camera flash, mostly to brighten the face and the eyes and to compensate for the low light levels. During my visit I used flash as well, but I decided to choose a different approach. Instead of keeping the flash on the camera, I positioned it at a distance and to the side of the subject (with a radio controlled remote) to create more three dimensional side-lighting. I underexposed the ambient light for extra mood and to emphasize the lighting, and eventually came up with this shot.

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