Hi – I’m Michael Lykke Aagaard,
I love wildlife photography – it’s really that simple.
Photography is a major creative outlet for me, and it facilitates some incredible outdoors experiences with wild animals.
I find these experiences absolutely thrilling – and quite addictive to be honest. Nothing beats the feeling of staring straight into the eyes of a wild Great Horned Owl (and getting the shot) or seeing a romp of wild River Otters teaching their pups to fish (and getting the shot…).
My approach to wildlife photography
I try to capture our four legged/winged friends in their natural element in scenes that show their natural behaviour. I do portraits as well as action shots – depending on the animal, the light and the setting. I don’t use flash and I do not bait any animals, and I do not publish photos of captive animals.
I believe in respecting nature and wildlife and doing my photography on their terms. If I get close to animals, I’m always careful to approach them respectfully and calmly while being very aware of their behaviour. I want to make sure that I am not harrasing them. If you behave in this way and have pure intentions, I find that the wildlife will often end up approaching you – like the Ground Squirrel in the photo above.
I am blessed to live in a British Columbia, Canada – a beautiful and wild place with abundant and varied wildlife. BC really is a treat for wildlife photographers. Year round there’s something cool going on – whether it’s the bears coming out from hibernation with their cubs, or the annual salmon run that attracts record numbers of Bald Eagles.
- Nikon D500
- Sigma 150-600mm, f5 – 6.3 telephoto lens
- Sigma 18-35mm, f 1.8 lens
- Sigma 1.4 teleconverter
- LowePro Flipside 500 AW II bag
- Vanguard tripods
- Cotton Carrier camera harness
- Remote shutter release
- A couple of ND filters and a polarizer.
Nothing too fancy, but a solid setup that I can move around with and handhold – although the Sigma 600mm weighs 2 kilograms in itself…
I use back-button focus (I recommend that to all wildlife photographers) and always shoot Manual and most of the time I have ISO set to auto. That way I have manual control of both aperture and shutter speed – whithout the hassle of having to adjusting ISO up and down. If I need to lower the ISO, I go to a lower shutter speed and open up the aperture.
This setup (BB autofocus + manual + auto ISO) gives me the highest level of control and freedom. Two things that are essential in wildlife photography because you most often only have a sliver of a second to capture the action. For landscapes, I set everything manually as the object is static and I can take my time with the setup.