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Daniel J. Cox's Natural Exposures

by Jenna Caplette


An award-winning photographer, Bozeman's Daniel J. Cox has an impressive resume of successes. His work has been featured in hundreds of publications, in galleries like the Natural History Museum of London and in dozens of books. He produced two cover stories for National Geographic, in 2002 and 2005, both on owls. The images used in his 2005 feature were taken in the Bridger Mountains, just twenty miles up the road from his office.


Cox wants to “inspire people to appreciate the great outdoors, with their own eyes, and with a camera. To convince them that what we have here is so unique and enjoyable it's worth preserving.” He works with students one on one to get that message across, leading photographic safaris around the world, including two this coming January in Yellowstone National Park.


“What's wonderful about still photography,” Cox says, “is the excitement of working to capture that one unique moment that you can't capture with your own eye.” To better capture that one unique moment yourself, here's ten tips for getting your best “Natural Exposures.”


1. When you have good light, look for the other elements (such as?) that will make a gorgeous image. Practice this even when you don't have your camera.

2. Learn how to see what can become that an image that is striking and tells a story.

3. Use dramatic light to create a three dimensional look to your images.

4. Get to know your favorite subjects over a sequence of days, seasons, or even years to create an intimate photographic story.

5. Practice non-invasive photography by working with a long lens from a blind. Keep yourself and the animal safe and free of stress.

6. Create the image you want in the field. Don’t rely on Photoshop to “make your image” when you get home.

7. The Montana outdoors can be hard on camera gear. Invest in good equipment and protect it with quality bags like those made by Lowepro. A solid tripod like those made by Gitzo and Manfrotto will keep your camera absolutely still when you make images.

8. Expedite the sorting and editing of your images by using a software program like Apple's Aperture.

9. Value your work by charging for images you publish or distribute.

10. Give back to the natural world by helping a young person learn to appreciate the intrinsic value of our remaining wild places.


Learn more about workshops offered by Natural Exposure and see Cox's most recent work at:


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