Most people that know me are fully aware of how much I love wildlife photography. It was what got me into photography back when I was 6 years old and to this day I spend as much time as I can, taking pictures of animals. My family vacation time is also secretly planned around what type of new animals I might be able to encounter.
While Nevada has a huge amount to offer from a landscape point of view, it does lack a little bit compared to some of the more northern states. But this has never held me back and I certainly love a great challenge. Whether insects, reptiles or birds, there is so much on offer once you know exactly where to look.
Is It For You?
For a lot of photographers it really is just a passion as it is very difficult to make a living out of it. If you are starting out a career asa photographer I would not recommend diving into wildlife. Maybe landscape, as those images are more commonly sellable as prints or stock photography.
You would really need to have a good connection to some sort of nature and wild life magazine who would commission you for certain types of images. But another problem is the often very high costs of equipment.
For the majority of animals you will need some pretty powerful zoom lenses upwards of 400mm focal length, combined with large Apertures. Lenses like that start at $8,000 and there is almost no limit.
What I have often done is either borrow from a friend or else hire pne from a photography equipment leasing company. This is mainly to satisfy my person passion, but that may be a way to keep costs down.
The other thing you will need is a lot of time. With landscape photography you have a good idea before an assignment what you want to achieve. You can scout an area and then wait for the golden hour to get those perfect pictures. Before I had young kids I would often spend entire weekends out in the wild with camping gear and all.
It was great fun, but even after a whole weekend I often had less than a handful of great wildlife shots. Plenty of landscape ones though!
No matter what the assignment a photographer always has to prepare. The same goes for wildlife and here in Nevada it is also important from a safety point of view as there are some venomous insects and reptiles. As a kid I always loved reading about local species of animals and my grandfather would come out into the desert with me to find them.
Having that knowledge has served me very well and I have never found myself in a situation where I was in danger, nor have I ever been bitten or stung by anything worse than a mosquito or wasp.
My recommendation to anyone starting out is to do some wildlife photography to get your mind off the projects that pay the bills, but do not expect to make money from those hobby images. Start with family and wedding photography and use the money you earn to serve your real passions.