Cover Shot, February 2020

In our January/February 2020 issue of Outdoor Photographer, pro photographers George D. Lepp and Aaron Baggenstos discuss the future of nature photography, considering topics ranging from imaging technology to access to wild places. One technology that Lepp sees as transformative is the ability to extract high-resolution stills from 4K video, and our feature story “Filming In The Land Of 1,000 Hills” showcases what’s possible today using that technology. All of the images in the story are taken from 4K footage shot by filmmaker and photographer Chema Domenech for his documentary film “A Walk Through The Land Of 1,000 Hills.

Also in this issue is a photographer’s travel guide by Garry Everett to California’s Sacramento Valley, a major stop on the Pacific Flyway for birds migrating from as far as Alaska to Patagonia, plus a review of Canon’s new EOS 90D for wildlife photography.

On the cover is an image of an Arctic fox captured by George Lepp. Here’s the story behind the shot.

“While photographing polar bears, foxes and other fascinating wildlife of the Arctic region has now become a line item on every nature photographer’s bucket list, this photograph was taken at the turn of the century, when few had the opportunity to witness that magnificent wilderness. This Arctic fox, one of a feisty pair, was checking out a heap of ice alongside Hudson Bay. After ensuring the area was clear of polar bears, I left the protection of the tundra buggy and got into a prone position in the snow.

“All foxes are challenging to photograph because they move so quickly that there’s little time to compose the image. But an Arctic fox’s winter coat offers the additional problem of photographing a white animal on white snow. In the digital realm, the histogram will help the photographer to achieve clear white tones and detail. In the film era, the solution was to manually increase the metered exposure by 1.5 stops to render the ice white instead of gray; the sunlight bouncing off the snow actually filled the shadows and lit the eyes of the subject like a built-in reflector.

“In reviewing the data for preparation of this background statement, I was relieved to learn that the Arctic fox population is still stable in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Beautiful, curious and playful, the Arctic fox is a delightful and memorable subject I’d love to meet again, with all the speed and sensitivity offered by today’s digital gear.”

–George Lepp

The January/February 2020 issue is now available in a variety of digital formats including Apple News+ and will be on newsstands beginning Tuesday, December 31.

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