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Bradley Caricofe Interview

Bradley Caricofe takes stunning wildlife and bald eagle photos. Find out more about him here.

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Bradley Caricofe 1

Image © Bradley Caricofe

Hi Bradley! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm 39 and reside in Virginia, USA, near Washington, D.C. with my wife and two young daughters. I'm self-employed and have worked in Unix/Linux systems engineering roles for 15 years. I've been serious about photography for about 4 years.
 

How did you get into photography?

I purchased a DSLR in preparation for the birth of our first child and was surprised to discover the challenges of photography. I soon developed the "bug" that so many photographers know well.
 

What appeals to you about wildlife photography?

I think any form of photography can be quite challenging and addictive on its own. Wildlife photography adds another layer to this mix by requiring research and observation of animals and their habits. A lot of time must be spent in natural environments that are well off the "beaten path", and while I've been an outdoorsman my entire life, I've found that nothing has connected me to nature like wildlife photography.

 

Bradley Caricofe 2
Image © Bradley Caricofe

What drew you to Bald eagle photography specifically?

They are absolutely stunning subjects to observe and photograph. With wingspans approaching 8 feet, they are one of the largest birds in North America, and seeing them up close can be quite exhilarating for anyone who has a respect and appreciation for nature. When I was a child, bald eagle sightings in our area were exceptionally rare. Now, thanks to ongoing conservation efforts, the Potomac River region has become one of the top bald eagle spotting locations in the United States.
 

Is photography a job for you or a passionate hobby?

Recently it's become both. I've been selling wildlife and landscape prints, and have done some commercial work for local real estate projects.
 

Tell us a bit about your kit.

Nearly all of my wildlife shooting is done with a Nikon D7100 body and Sigma 150-500mm lens. I've found this to be a great low-cost kit for wildlife photography, although I am more limited by lighting conditions than I would be with expensive, full-frame equipment.


Bradley Caricofe 3

Image © Bradley Caricofe

Talk us through a day out photographing the birds.

Due to self-employment and parental obligations, I have severe time constraints, and photography outings require a lot of planning. I try to maintain some efficiency by working around good light and higher activity times for eagles and other wildlife (usually 1-2 hours after sunrise, and 1-2 hours prior to sunset).

My sessions can consist of many different activities, including drive-through photography at parks or other properties where I can use my vehicle as a blind, hikes into remote areas like dense forests or swamps and boat trips down the Potomac River, which is often the most successful route for capturing great images.
 

If you had to give 3 top tips for someone starting out in wildlife photography, what would they be?

Planning and research are key for consistently successful wildlife photography. I spend time looking at maps of properties, researching animal habits and communicating with bald eagle experts. I sometimes spend as much time on these tasks as I do shooting, and the results in the field are well worth the effort.

Timing is a key component for capturing great wildlife images. Try to schedule outings around great light and high-activity periods for your subjects. Whenever possible, I like to visit parks and other properties on weekday mornings, when they are less crowded, resulting in more wildlife being present.

Pay attention to your gear and overall safety. I sometimes walk alone into wet swamps on cold days, and will make sure that I am dressed appropriately, have a charged phone or other communications capability, and that someone knows exactly where I am. Be prepared!

Check out more of Bradley's work on his website and Facebook page

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