Wildlife photography can be so much fun. You don’t need to go to Africa to see beautiful animals – many of the most interesting creatures are right here at home. As a general rule, it’s easier to get close to the wilder creatures than domestic pets. A cat is a relatively easy subject to photograph as it’s used to humans and therefore doesn’t mind being approached. Dogs, pigs, goats, sheep, horses and cows, however, will not be keen on being photographed. To get shots of these animals, you will have to work harder. You can use telephoto lenses to get closer and macro lenses to zoom in.
The most important factor for wildlife photography is patience. You need to take many shots to get the perfect shot. Patience will allow you to capture a moment. Patience is an important quality when shooting wildlife; without it you may miss a great opportunity. For example, if you rush and shoot, you may not get that desired moment in time. So take your time to get the shot, and the best shots are often the ones taken at the end of the day.
There are many other things that contribute to successful wildlife photography. A good camera will help ensure that you can capture the desired image. A camera with a large zoom will also be beneficial as this allows you to get closer to the animals and allows you to use a wider aperture. Having a tripod is essential as you want to avoid moving and shaking. In addition, having a fast shutter speed will ensure that the animal doesn’t move during the photo. A lens with a wide-angle will allow you to take in the surroundings and it will aid you in getting those close shots.
Having the right clothes will ensure that you are comfortable. It’s a good idea to bring along an extra layer of clothing as weather can change quickly. Bring along extra batteries, memory cards, and your camera manual. It’s also a good idea to travel with some snacks and water, as they are both needed to keep you hydrated.
In addition, there are many other useful items that you should have with you.
Camera – A camera with a large zoom will help you get those close shots. You will need a camera with a decent zoom lens as you will need to get closer to the animals. If you are taking a lot of photos of birds, you will also need a telephoto lens. If you are taking a lot of images of fish, then you will need a macro lens.
Memory Card – This is a very important item that you will need to carry with you. The card will allow you to store your photographs and it is an essential part of your kit. It is also a good idea to use a high-speed SD card as they allow you to save a lot of images.
Tripod – A tripod will help you get that shot of the animal that you were trying to achieve. You can use a monopod but a tripod is more stable and has the added advantage of allowing you to take shots with a slower shutter speed. It will also allow you to get some shots where the animal is in motion. If you are photographing birds, you will need to use a high-speed tripod to ensure that you get the best shot.
Lenses – You will need to find a suitable lens for your camera. Some lenses are very expensive and can be quite heavy, but some will only be a few pounds. It’s a good idea to test out the different lenses available and see which one is the best for your camera.
Waterproof bag – It’s a good idea to have a waterproof bag to keep your equipment safe. It will be useful to have an old towel or t-shirt as a barrier between you and the camera and lenses.
Flashlight – A flashlight is essential for wildlife photography as it will allow you to see your subject in low light conditions. You will need a bright light that can shine in a wide area and that has a long battery life.
Sunscreen – Sun protection is extremely important. Without it you can burn and you will be ruining your camera.
Wet Bag – Wet bags are useful for keeping your gear safe from the elements. You will need a large and secure one as you can have your camera, memory card, batteries, and even a tripod in the bag. It’s also a good idea to carry a towel, as it can prevent your lens and camera from getting wet.
Sunglasses – Sunglasses are essential for wildlife photography. You will need to wear them while you are traveling so that you can get a good view of your surroundings.
A First Aid Kit – This will allow you to treat yourself if you are injured. It will also allow you to treat the animals that you are photographing.
Snacks – Snacks will keep you fueled throughout the day.
A Camera Manual – You will need a camera manual, as it will tell you what settings to use and what lenses you will need.
Camera Bags – Camera bags will allow you to keep your equipment safe and secure. They can either be small and compact, or they can be big and bulky.
Traveling Gear – Traveling gear will help you be comfortable. It’s a good idea to bring along an extra layer of clothing and a sleeping bag.
When you travel, be sure to pack your camera gear. It’s a good idea to travel with a backpack that will fit your camera, lenses and accessories. If you are traveling by plane or train, then it’s a good idea to travel with a tripod.
When it comes to photographing wildlife, you need to be aware of the local rules and regulations. Many parks and conservation areas have strict laws about where you can and can’t take photographs, especially if you disturb the animal in any way. The Wildlife Trusts have information about where you can and can’t take pictures of specific species.
Get permission first.
The biggest problem you’ll face is not getting permission, but getting the permission of the owner of the land you’re using to take pictures. Before setting out to get permission, contact the landowner and explain what you plan to do and what you’d like to photograph. In some cases they’ll be happy for you to take a few snaps and then they can let you know if they want you to come back. In other cases, you’ll have to ask permission to take a picture or two, so think through how you’ll go about this. If you plan to photograph in a national park or conservation area, you’ll have to get permission from the park authority. In some areas, you’ll need to pay a fee, depending on the size of your camera. There may be rules about the number of photos you can take, where you can take them and whether you’re allowed to keep your photos.
Use your instincts.
Wildlife photography is more of an art than a science. Most of the time, you won’t know what a creature is going to do. Your instinctive response to an animal is to make a run for it or to back off, but it’s best to ignore this instinct and instead wait for the animal to reveal its true nature. Take your time and study the animal’s movements carefully before taking your shot. It’s not always possible to get your subject to do what you want, so you may have to compromise. This means letting the subject know that you’re taking a photo and then quickly moving to take the shot.
Many photographers panic when they see an animal they want to photograph and start running around in circles like a headless chicken. This will only frighten the animal and make it more difficult to take a picture. Keep calm and walk slowly towards your subject. If you’re not sure what an animal is going to do, just wait and watch. You’re likely to get a more interesting shot if you allow the animal to do the same. Animals will often do a ‘come and have a look’ gesture before going into a pose.
Animals may be slow to move. You might have to wait several minutes for your subject to reveal itself. Some species, such as birds, are much easier to photograph than other creatures because they sit on a branch or perch, waiting for you to take their picture.
You need to be careful around dangerous animals. They may attack when you’re not expecting it, or run away in a hurry if you approach them. If you’re not sure what an animal will do, don’t get too close and ask someone else to take the shot.