Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – David Bates

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” © David Bates.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Mammals: “Puma Targeting a Large Guanaco” or “Did somebody say it was time for dinner?” © David Bates.

How I Got the Shot

Living in South Florida and spending countless hours in the Everglades hoping to catch even a glimpse of a panther, I could not resist the opportunity to travel to Chile where the odds of actually photographing a puma are excellent. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would have the opportunity to observe and photograph a puma actually hunting a guanaco. I was amazed by the confidence of this puma in targeting such a large guanaco. Of course, I must also thank SouthWild and our guide, Maurico Montt, and their amazing trackers that provided me with many amazing puma encounters.

What I Used

Canon 1DXII, Canon 600MM III

The only special technique used to capture this photo was the ability to race-walk up hill, in altitude, while carrying 2 camera bodies and 2 lenses (including the 600mm III) and then sufficiently catch my breath before taking the actual photo so as to avoid a blurry image.

About Me

I am a husband, father, son, uncle, friend (of people that don’t shoot Nikon), full-time business attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida and part-time nature photographer.

I have been seriously shooting nature photography for about 7 years. My goal is to select and organize only my best photographs so that my family will have a slideshow ready to display at my funeral (hopefully, many decades from now).

My Photographic Journey

I was an avid backpacker for many years and hiked in many national parks with my camera equipment. Shooting solely in auto mode with the dial turned to “mountains”, I filled many photo albums with countless mountain vistas photographed in harsh light. I progressed to photographing exclusively perched birds. One morning, I was shocked to meet several photographers that exclusively photographed birds in flight and feeling overwhelmed by the difficulty of photographing birds in flight. I was fortunate that these photographers were kind enough to mentor me and lead me on my journey from auto mode to manual mode and from perched birds to birds in flight.

Having now spent way too many hours pursuing photographs of elusive animals that either do not show up for my planned photo sessions or refuse to provide me proper eye contact, in my next life, I plan to only photograph architectural interiors. 

NANPA and Me

I have been a NANPA member for 5 years.

I have been fortunate to have several images recognized in previous Showcases and repeatedly awed by the quality of the submitted photographs.

Learn More About Me

My NANPA portfolio is: http://www.nanpa.org/events/showcase/about-nanpa-showcase/2020-top-24-showcase-david-bates/

You can learn more about me through these links:
website: www.davidbates.com
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thatsabiglens/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidgbates