Wildlife is interesting and clicking wildlife is no less adventurous. Knowing the techniques, tips and tricks help people take better photographs. Armed with these, one may find clicking pictures of these intriguing birds and animals more interesting and a tad easier.
- Start with your garden: When just beginning to do wildlife, it is better to start with the garden birds. With wildlife photography, practice begins at home with the garden birds that perch on tree branches. Clamp a branch and use a feeder to attract birds.
- Get eye-to-eye with an animal: This might not be easy but try and get down to the animal’s eye level for that intimate portrait. Instead of leaving it to the camera, manually select an AF point that corresponds to the animal’s eye.
- Compose the picture before clicking it: Keep the animal off centre for a better composition. Use the camera’s AF points to position the animal off-centre especially if it is looking to the left or right. In wildlife photography, often there’s nothing happening for a long time and then suddenly things kicking off simultaneously. Preparing in advance isn’t always possible in anticipation. But the above tricks will help you compose a better shot. Your camera may have Live View to help you position the entire animal. During post processing, you can crop the photo but keep the original aspect ratio.
- Wildlife requires fieldcraft tricks: Wildlife involves shooting from a distance to cover which a good telephoto lens is essential. Good field craft plays an important role too in creating a good frame-filled shot. A photographer has to be well versed in the habits and behavior of the animal he is subjecting. Google is a reservoir of information. Before you set out to click animals, find out their movement timings and other information that will be handy. Dress appropriately and use time to your benefit (mostly dawn and dusk).
- Employ the car as a hide: Wildlife involves getting close to the animal and that is pretty difficult to achieve in the wild. Additionally, one has to consider his safety before setting out to click an angry lioness in search of its cubs! A vehicle serves as a hide or blind and even then it is not possible to leave it there or sit in it forever. Look for a location that will serve your needs and avoid sudden movements. Use a beanbag to support the lens on the door frame and activate the camera or lens’ stabilizer. Before you start, switch off the car’s engine to stop any vibrations.
- Manually meter for consistent exposure: Animal hide or skin can have either very dark or very light colour causing problems for the camera metering system. Pictures may turn out over exposed or under exposed. To attain consistency, switch to manual metering. Point the lenses to a mid tone subject in the same light and adjust the aperture and shutter speed until the exposure indicator lines up with the “0” on the exposure scale in the viewfinder.
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