Ben Knoot is a 22-year-old nature photographer originally from California. Before graduating in 2018, he studied Environmental Policy and Environmental Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington State. He now resides in Marana, Arizona, where he enjoys photographing the local wildlife.
Ben now leads educational and instructive photography tours and workshops for Tropical Birding Tours; http://www.tropicalbirding.com Ben’s goal while guiding is to provide a memorable, exciting and successful experience so that other people can enjoy photographing earths beauty as much as he does.
Your Name: Ben Knoot
Title of Your Winning Image: Displaying Andean Cock-of-the-Rock
About your winning Showcase image:
1) How I Got the Shot
I had wanted to photograph the displaying Andean Cock-of-the-Rock since my foot stepped off the plane in Quito. After observing the speed of their display and the surrounding conditions, I decided the best way to do this was with a blur. I set my camera up so I would blur the wings and legs, keep noise to a minimum and keep the background as out of focus as possible. I sat patiently behind a make-shift blind and got lucky when this displaying male came down right in front of me.
2) What I Used
I photographed this image handheld with a Canon 1DMKIV and a Canon 500mm MKI. I know I wanted a maximum of 1/100sec to fully blur the action but still fast enough to keep the parts of the bird that weren’t moving sharp. I set my ISO high enough to achieve my approximate shutter speed but low enough to minimize noise. To assist my efforts in keeping the image light, I over exposed by a third. Over exposing not only kept my image light but also slowed the shutter speed to achieve my desired blur. The shutter speed ended up being 1/60sec.
3) About Me
I have been photographing the natural world since the age of 9. I started by only shooting birds but branched out just a few years later and now enjoy shooting all the natural world. Currently, I am based in Marana, Arizona. I work as a tour guide for Tropical Birding Tours, leading birding, bird photography and birding with camera trips. While I enjoy all subjects, birds remain my favorite.
4) My Photographic Journey
Believe it or not, a Common Raven got me hooked on photographing the natural world. Through my father’s camera, I was able to see the hairs at the base of the Raven’s beak as well as it’s beautiful purple and green sheen. Without the camera, it was just another black bird. What keeps me interested now is a constant desire to see the next species, the next natural wonder and to experience that next “wow” place. My father has always been a major mentor for me and continues to be to this day.
5) NANPA and Me
I have been a NANPA member since 2011. I attended the NANPA high school scholarship program when I was 15 years old and have been enjoying being a part of NANPA since. I have been honored with several “Top 250” selections over the past years but this is my first “Judges Choice”.
6) Where Can People Learn More About You?
My website is www.benknoot.com. I also have an Instagram; @benknoot.
My NANPA Portfolio is: https://nanpa.org/portfolio/ben-knoot-2019/.