Wildlife photography is, to say the least, quite rewarding especially if you are a lover of nature. But here’s the catch, animals (especially wild) can be quite evasive. Flash a camera at their faces and they walk away or worse, you are dinner! Nonetheless, it has been done before. Some to the extent of being sold for good money! So, if you have been dreaming about a safari that you want to remember for the longest time, this is your chance at great wildlife photos.
Wildlife Photography Tip #1
Some of the best moments in life go unnoticed due to lack of preparation. The same applies to wildlife photography.
The first thing you ought to do is pack the right gear. Starting with a comfortable camera bag since you might need to walk long distances to get your shot. In it, remember to pack a set of batteries to keep your camera gong. Also, carry the lenses you will need with emphasis on your zoom lens. This is because you will definitely need it for capturing dangerous animals and to avoid disturbing the scene by getting too close.
You will also need to be prepared for the environment. Wildlife scenes can be really harsh. Be ready to encounter some harsh weather, thorns and even dangerous insects. A little research of the area will help you dress and pack accordingly.
Wildlife Photography Tip #2
Identify Your Area Of Interest
Wildlife does not have to be in the wild. A lot can be found in cities. For instance, there could be interesting birds. It could be an animal, plant or object like a waterbody. You need to determine where to focus your photography.
You need to know your object of interest. Is it a particular species of birds that you want to capture or is a fox. Are you going for a fast animal or a slow one? Is your animal shy or friendly and easily found? This will determine where you go and the timings.
Wildlife Photography Tip #3
Look Out For The Weather
Depending on the locality of your photos you should determine the best time for the photography. You should try to avoid strong winds as they could cause movements that could eventually lead to blurred images.
The position of the sun could affect the lighting and make a difference in how an image appears. It is also important to note that the shape of an object determines if it could appear great as a silhouette or not.
Wildlife Photography Tip #4
Setting The Camera
How you set your camera determines the quality of images that you achieve as it may be impossible to stand too close to some of the animals for safety reasons. The lens and shutter of your camera will be of great importance in wildlife photography. A long lens will definitely be of great use, most are at least 300mm. Also, stick to manual focusing so as to grab those unexpected moments.
Wildlife Photography Tip #5
Tell A Story
Wildlife presents so many tales and secrets waiting to be unleashed. You just have to be fast enough to capture them. The best way to do this is by getting out of the way and letting nature interact with its surroundings naturally. For instance, a photo of a lion chasing after its next meal can be quite intriguing, to say the least. This is way better than a plain old lion in the jungle picture.
Here, a zoom lens and shutter release will be of much help in capturing your subjects.
Also, be prepared to camouflage with nature in pursuit of great shots. I have seen photographers wait lay still for hours just to get a single shot. Some even go after animals for days. So, when you are packing your gear, remember to bring some patience with you.
Wildlife Photography Tip #6
Choose Your Background Wisely
Wildlife photography is as much about the image as it is about the background. The background could make or break the overall look of a photo. Using your focal length by making it longer or shorter can determine what makes it into the shot and what doesn’t.
To isolate your subject from its environment, consider tightening up your frame by moving in on the subject. This is for when you want a photo of a single animal or plant or if the background is distracting.
There is also beauty in showing animals in their environment. This will require you to take wider shots. You may want to show the clouds and the sky as well. This could bring out how the subject interacts with its environment. This calls for use of a large aperture.
If you are not great at determining the frame size, consider shooting wide and cropping out the unnecessary details when editing.
Wildlife Photography Tip #7
Watch Out For The Sharpness Of The Image
The Aperture Priority mode enables you to set a specific aperture and adjust according to the sharpness that you would want to achieve. The smaller the aperture the sharper the image.
Smaller apertures reduce the amount of light passing through the lens. This will also lead to slower shutter speeds and longer exposure times and therefore risk blurriness with any slight movement. So, be extra steady when opting for small aperture.
Wildlife Photography Tip #8
It is nice to stick to the rules of the game. Once in a while, however, you will need to experiment to get the best images. Try different camera settings and shooting from unique angles. If there is a great time to use panorama mode it has to be when taking photos of the wild. This gives you a wider frame while allowing you to capture animals in their natural state.
Wildlife Photography Tip #9
Let wild animals be wild. Do not harass them or disturb them unnecessarily. Also, remember to leave the area as clean as you found it. While still on the topic of being ethical, remember to disclose any additional elements or edits to your shots especially if they are for commercial use.
Wildlife photography is about having a lot of patience. Expect days when you do not get a good shot as fast as you would like to. Don’t get discouraged, keep at it and eventually, it will pay off. As a parting shot, remember to be kind to nature. Leave the place better than you found it. If anything, not even the animals should know you were there!
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