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See Why This Wildlife Conservation Photographer Is Making The Switch To Sony

We connect with leading wildlife conservation photographer Melissa Groo (@melissagroo) to learn more on how the Sony Alpha system helps her photograph wildlife without being disruptive.

Photo by Melissa Groo

Photo by Melissa Groo

Photo by Melissa Groo

Photo by Melissa Groo

Photo by Melissa Groo

Photo by Sarah Killingsworth

Leading wildlife conservation photographer Melissa Groo (@melissagroo) is known in the industry as very outspoken about ethics and ethics in nature photography. Her deep sense of ethical responsibility leads everything that she does as a photographer, including the gear she uses. “I'm always thinking about how I can have less of a presence in the field on my subject and really capture the natural behavior that I'm seeking to capture, because that's really when you get the good shots,” she says. Groo has been using Sony more and more for her work, and what she’s realized is that the gear allows her to photograph wildlife without affecting their behavior in ways that her previous systems did not. This realization has her making a complete switch to the Sony Alpha system so she can continue to ethically photograph wildlife without being disruptive.


Photo by Melissa Groo

Leading wildlife conservation photographer Melissa Groo shares how the Sony Alpha system helps her photograph wildlife without being disruptive.

Groo prefers to shoot handheld over using a tripod, and the weight of the gear she previously used was affecting the sharpness of her images. Since shooting with the Sony Alpha 1, she notes that the sharpness of her resulting images are unmatched. “The sharpness, the number of keepers that I'm getting as opposed to what I used to get,” she explains. “I think that the sharpness of my photos was sort of compromised before by the heaviness of the rig. I've always sort of prided myself on being able to handhold that rig, but I do think that it was affecting my images because a lot of pictures that I've photographed are in low light so they appear at dawn or dusk. And also where I live is sort of notoriously gray. We don't get a lot of light here, so I'm often working at high ISO and having to really think hard about my shutter speed and bringing it down.”

She continues, “Because I'm a hand-holder, to me, it just opens up so many more possibilities in terms of my endurance when I'm out there and I'm handholding for a length of time. And how it's going to be so much easier hiking with it. I'm super excited about the lightness.”

She’s been shooting with the Sony Alpha 1 paired with lenses like the Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. “The 200-600mm is now what I'm most familiar with because I've had it a couple months now and I absolutely love it,” she says. “I love the versatility of it. It's incredibly sharp. It's great for birds and flight.” She also often uses the Sony 600mm f/4 G Master with a 2X teleconverter and recently got the Sony Alpha 9 II as a backup camera. “I work a lot with teleconverters because I really want that extra reach, and because I want to keep my distance so I don't disturb my wild subjects. I know people who are getting astounding, sharp shots of birds in flight using the 600mm with a 2X TC, which to me is unthinkable.”


Photo by Melissa Groo

It’s not just the size and sharpness that Groo has noticed helps with her work, the silent shutter is very important for her when photographing wildlife. “It’s all about not disturbing your subject,” she says. “The silent shutter thing is so key to me. I work a lot from blinds, and I'll spend hours in a blind waiting for a fox to show up. Before, the fox would show up and I would hit the hammer on the Nikon D850, and that was it. The animal would just totally take off. I just couldn’t do that anymore, and the silent shutter from the Sony system blew me away.”

After her experience using Sony Alpha for her photography, Groo has decided it’s the one for her and looks forward to expanding what she’s doing with the system. “I just fell in love with it,” she says. “I just felt like this is a total game changer for me, and it's going to make everything I do easier and less disruptive to my subject.”

See more of Melissa Groo’s work at melissagroo.com and on Instagram @melissagroo.


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