Dennis Photography

Learning to be a good photographer

Wildlife Photography, Catching The Animals By Surprise

Photography has been around for more than a century and our topics will never cease.  There is portrait, landscape, wedding, and wildlife photography just to name a few.  One of the most rewarding styles of photography centers on wildlife.  It may take you several hours before finding the perfect picture and capturing it, but the reward is more than worth the wait.

Wildlife photography is perhaps the most difficult in the profession.  You have to have the time, inclination, and of course the camera.  Most wildlife shots are captured using a telephoto lens because the animal will not walk near you.  Every once in a while you will be able to capture the fox, elk, bear or other animal as it comes through the woods in your path, however most of the time they are yards away and elusive.

Wildlife photography doesn’t wait for you to happen a long and snap a photo.  You need to immerse yourself in the site you choose your camera at the ready, and set for the light of the day.  Most automatic cameras work great on the preset for those who are just learning to take wildlife photographs.  Photography has always been about the moment and the best photographers can catch the moment with a speed and agility of the animal they are capturing.

Start with small subjects when you begin your foray into wildlife photography.  Practice on your pet.  Let them roam naturally and see if you can capture the wild and crazy moments on film without the photograph ending up blurry.  All great photographers have studied and practiced.  They also use more than one shot.  Making sure your camera has a quick shutter speed will help you take more than one shot as your move with the animal.  When you have the subject in your site you need to follow it while focusing and then quickly snap as many pictures as you can before they move out of site.  This technique is known as panning.  Rather than the subject coming to you, you follow the subject.

When you have mastered your pets you can begin to explore the outdoor world of wildlife photography.  Some of your subjects will be standing still and this is another practice technique.  Be aware of the lighting and placement while trying not to disturb the animal.  It is most easy to get a squirrel when they are intent on eating or foraging for food.  If you stay silent and walk carefully you can often get pretty close.

If you are choosing a larger subject such as a deer or bear you will want to stay far enough away to get the shot, and not draw attention to yourself.  Bears are dangerous creatures, but they can be photographed if you use common sense and don’t tread upon their territory.  Wildlife photography and thus the photographers have a code of ethics when attaining the perfect shots.  You will want to follow these ethics for your safety and the animals.

Wildlife photography is a waiting game for the perfect picture to sprint across your viewfinder.  It takes patience and a lot of practice, but the reward of having a family member or friend go, “ where did you get that photograph?  I have got to have one,” will sweeten the deal.


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