Most Photographers would agree that capturing wildlife and nature is very satisfying and gratifying .Wildlife photography can be challenging for beginners because unlike capturing still objects , you are capturing wildlife, animals or birds whose movements are unpredictable . However once you take that perfect shot ,it is very rewarding and priceless.One needs a lot of patience to capture wildlife pictures. Here are some tips that will help beginners who are starting out with Wildlife photography.
Low Light Conditions :It is a biggest challenge while capturing wildlife . Most of us have heard about how during the golden hours of photography i.e dusk or dawn ,animals and birds are quite active .This is the best time to get some really beautiful pictures.Increasing the ISO settings in your camera can help to achieve more light .
Shooting Mode : Most beginners prefer to shoot wildlife in aperture priority mode .In this mode, you just need to set the aperture and ISO .The shutter speed is automatically adjusted by the camera . You can also make the subject stand out and get a nice bokeh or blur in the background with this option .Initially, it may take many takes to get the right ISO value to be set .This can be perfected with practice.
However expert photographers use “Manual” mode .Here you can set the shutter speed , aperture and let the camera figure out the ISO by setting it to auto mode . As you get more comfortable shooting , it is worth trying this option.For instance, start with setting shutter speed to 1/500 to 1/1000 and aperture to f/5.6 and see how it works.Keep experimenting till you get the right picture.
Use AI-Servo or Auto Focus Continuous mode for wildlife in action/motion – This is especially helpful if you are shooting birds flying or any wildlife on the move . This is explained in detail in the post about panning with all the camera settings and pictures. This option can be achieved in Canon by setting to “one shot mode” and “AI Servo” . Please check the link above for details.Set the focus by clicking the shutter half way through till you hear a sound and then click continuously following the path of the moving animal or bird. You may end up with few blur captures but there will be a couple which are sharp and unique.
Avoid Underexposure – If you are shooting birds against the sky and it looks underexposed , you can adjust by turning the meter up, by using the dial in your camera and increasing the exposure. Make sure to also set the option to shoot pictures in RAW mode rather than jpeg .This helps in fixing any issues in post processing.
Equipment – Most wildlife photographers are equipped with fancy telephoto lens .It is best to use minimum of at least a 250 mm lens and if one can afford a 400 or 500 mm that would really do wonders as well.If you are shooting at very close quarters even a 50 mm can do the job. However if you are shooting from long distances or moving vehicles, it is worth investing in a telephoto lens and wide angle lenses for capturing wildlife along with the surrounding landscape.
Perspective – Try various angles and point of view for capturing wildlife .Use your imagination and try shooting from above , sideways or eye level .Wait patiently and study the subject to know its behavior ,you may surprise yourself with awesome captures.
Last but not the least ,the photographer needs to practice safety and make it a priority especially when shooting in the wild.In the pursuit of that perfect picture, one needs to ensure not to come too close to comfort with wildlife .It is also extremely important to make sure the subject is not disturbed, harmed or uncomfortable. Hope these tips help. If you have any tips for beginners please add in the comments below.
Have a good day!
Picture Courtesy : Featured Image of the fawn : pixabay Modified using Adobe photoshop CC