Wildlife photography is perhaps the most difficult genre of photography. It not only requires that the photographer travel to far off places but the subjects are also at times not ‘willing’ or are not ‘available’ to get photographed. And, given their ‘nature’ we cannot speak to them like we can to humans.
Despite all these difficulties that one faces while pursuing this craft, wildlife photography is exciting, thrilling, and provides the photographers an opportunity to create awareness about the plight of the wildlife and also the environment. If we follow the right approach, we can come back with some amazing and impactful shots of the beautiful nature and the mesmerising wildlife.
We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to ensure that you get the best and impactful photographs on your expeditions.
Follow ethical practices – A few days back, an article in Live Mint highlighted how nature and wildlife photographers are posing a threat to the environment and the animals by following unethical and often insensitive practices. To ensure that we don’t cause any harm to our silent co-habitants, we must follow ethical practices and encourage others to do so too. Following ethical practices may not affect your shot directly, but in the long run it will definitely affect your photography.
Learn about your subject – Research and learn as much as you can about both the place you are visiting and your subject. Try to understand the best time to visit the place, what you must take along with you (clothes, medicine, safety equipment, etc.), find out the best time to sight the animals, and try to understand their behaviour. This will help you in approaching the animals without scaring them away.
Take the right equipment – This is very important. You must pre-plan the kind of shots you want and accordingly take the required equipment with you. Even if one piece of gear is missing or short it will spoil the entire trip. Apart from taking along the right equipment you must also ensure that you’re comfortable using the gear that you’re taking. If it’s new, then it’s best to have some practice sessions with it before venturing out in the field.
Here are a few things that you must take along with you:
- A good and sturdy bag
- Flash light
- Extra Batteries
- Tripod/Gorrilla pod/mono pod
- Telephoto Zoom lenses (70mm – 300mm)
- Wide Angle lenses (28mm -105mm)
- Camera that has both manual and auto mode
- Filters – Polarizing filter, Warming filter, & UV filter
Be prepared for a long day – Since you don’t have any control over the availability of the subject or the nature, you need to allot the entire day or more to the shoot. Set out early and stay back till it’s safe to.
Action matters – Try to take as many action shots as possible. Not forced action, natural action. Shots where the animals are interacting with their companions, little ones, with the nature, or when they’re trying to doze off or when getting up after a snooze. These photographs make for interesting stories and viewers love them! If you can get group shots, nothing like it.
Go raw – Like we always say, try to take photographs in raw mode and then add the after effects if required during processing.
Concentrate on the subjects – It’s okay if you don’t get the background or the scenery. Concentrate on the subject of your photography and try to get close up (zoom from distance) shots of their expressions and emotions.
Keep safe and enjoy your shoot – Don’t get carried away, exercise caution and maintain distance – that’s safe for both you and your subject. And enjoy the shoot!
Here are some inspiring wildlife and nature photographs from Picsdreamers’ collection.
Cover Image Courtesy: Mahesh Nair