Taking Photos of Wildlife
How To Take Pictures of WildlifeBasic Photo Tips

From Photographer Jimmy Tohill, Old Sourdough Studio, Denali

About Jimmy Tohill, Denali's Hometown Photographer

Photographer and poet Jimmy Tohill has been capturing moments of Alaska’s beauty with his camera and poetry since he first came to Alaska as a river guide in 1987 from Durango, Colorado. Born in Texas, Tohill longed for the mountains and wild places as a child and followed his heart to Alaska. He and his wife Vicki live in their log home in Healy and own and operate Old Sourdough Studio at the McKinley Chalet Resort in Denali. Jimmy specializes in face-to-face contact with the Park's wildlife.

How I Take Pictures Of Wildlife
I need lots of patience and I sit still when I have to. I’ve always had a deal going on with animals. (One of those deals that I would only desecrate trying to explain in words.) So I just go with it, always intensely enjoying the moment. I listen a lot and watch the birds. I know where to go when, always have my camera, watch the animals closely and respect their space, and get up in the high country as much as possible. But most of all I am just plain blessed to be able to live in a place where this kind of beauty abounds all around. I make it a mission to try and share some of this beauty with folks that might not have the opportunities that I have. Plus, it’s just plain good for the soul.

The Fox On The Cover Of The Denali Summer Times (Below)
I was actually following a cute little bunny through the woods with my camera when I heard what sounded like a large bird flapping in the brush and then silence. I looked that way and must have startled the fox because he froze when he saw me and so did I. He had already killed the grouse. He now gave me that look through the brush. I stayed still with my 100-400mm lens pointed straight at him and fired just two shots as he looked at me, and then quickly grabbed his new dinner and boogied fast.

The Sheep (Above)
I had a feeling they would be there and hiked to the top of a 4,500 ft. peak and just slowly, very slowly approached as close as I felt comfortable without disturbing them and just laid on my belly. They eventually surrounded me and did their head butt gig for almost three full hours while I was there. The little lamb was just running all over the place and ended up hanging with that ram for quite some time. I have rarely seen the lambs hang that closely with a ram. He must have been the “cool” uncle.

The Ermine (below)
It was a pretty special day. I saw the ermine on the way up that mountain and had to go quite a ways out of my way to go over toward him. As I had expected, he flitted away as soon as I got remotely close. So I just kept hiking up the mountain and the little guy came running up to within 100 feet of me and just started rock hopping and stopping every so often for a really quick “pose.” He was a quick feller, and real cute too.

The Lynx (below)
Vicki and I were at the right place at the right time and had perfect lighting with my 500mm lens. We had to be pretty stealthy for it to hang out so long.
Denali Summer Times fox cover
Denali Park alaskan lynx photo by Jimmy Tohill
Denali Park alaskan ermine photo by Jimmy Tohill
Denali Park sheep photo – Jimmy Tohill
These photographers are taking pictures of a moose in a pond

Bring a tripod if you have a big camera.
Photo, Northcountry
Vicki and Jimmy Tohill
Denali Park alaskan wolf photo by Jimmy Tohill
Denali National Park full curl Ram Photo by Jimmy Tohill

Use the shadows and subdued colors
of morning and evening.
Photo, Jimmy Tohill