Little Auks flying in front of a glacier

The pictures I’m most satisfied with are often the ones that I’ve previsualized. Going into the field with an idea what you want often works best. This means you’ve thought about what you want to capture in advance. What composition, what do you need in the picture and what not, light and above all, what message do you want to convey. In landscape photography this preparation makes up 90% of the picture, in wildlife photography there is always one uncertain factor: the wildlife… You can previsualize what you want, but if the animal or the bird doesn’t want to do what you want him to do, you’re struck out. It means you have to spent a lot of time in the field, waiting for the right moment.

With this picture that moment hasn’t come yet. I hoped to capture a small, compact flock of Little Auks in the top right corner, above the glacier. However, even though there were heaps of birds flying around, the group was never the size and shape that I wanted… Ah well, it just means I have to come back to this place and keep on waiting for the right moment. In the meantime, previsualized or not, I’m still happy with this picture.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • I think this one works very well as an abstract. I tend to be far more opportunistic in grabbing whatever presents itself. As you said, nature doesn’t always cooperate with previsuals and returning isn’t always an option.


    • Of course, that’s how I work a lot too. Most of the time I just go out and see what happens. But I find the previsuals more rewarding, if they work out…
      And yes, I’m also happy with this picture! 🙂

      Thanks for the reaction.


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