A Beginners Guide to Wildlife Photography
We, humans, love when we are able to discover something that nobody else has been able to find out, and seeing such a thing, in reality, is not only special for us but also gives our mind a sense of accomplishment. Some people love doing this with art, history, or literature while others like it when they can find things about the natural world. I belong to the latter group, as although it might happen that after some time of searching there will be someone who has taken the same photo as me, it will always be different since everybody sees things differently.
And if you want to get into wildlife photography, there are some things that you have to keep in mind.
Now, where should you start? First things first, make sure you check out https://www.rebeccatolk.com/ for some of the best tips you can find about this.
If you are a beginner one of the best places to start from is simply by watching some videos and reading articles that are related to wildlife photography. This way you will learn how a lot of different species act like – how they move, what their habitats might be, what kind of food they eat etc. And believe me when I say this: there are situations where knowing all this beforehand can save your life, especially when the animal in question thinks you are intruding on its meal or territory. Having knowledge about the habits and patterns of behavior for any given species can also help you capture the perfect picture at just the right moment. So make sure you read the rest of this article to know everything you need to know to get started with wildlife photography.
Researching the Animal and Planning the Shot
This is one of the most important aspects of wildlife photography! The more you know in advance about your subject the better chance you'll have for a successful shot.
Some people think that it's best to go straight out into the field with a camera and see what happens, but this is often frustrating unless you're willing to work hard at it. Most animals are shy or extremely difficult to approach, and if they don't feel threatened, taking an interesting photograph can be almost impossible. So here's how a beginner should research his subject and plan the shot:
Make sure you get any permits that may be required to photograph the animal. If it's a protected species or on private land, you may need special permission from the owner to take pictures. For birds, see if there are any field guides that include photos of your subject. These books will help you identify your bird and show its behavior in nature. You can also find detailed information about how the bird interacts with other animals and the environment.
Bird photography is an extremely popular genre; many people go on long trips solely for this purpose, so you'll never run out of examples to study! Also, be sure to check online for photographs of similar subjects—other photographers' work is usually more helpful than a book since they have taken their own unique images in real situations. This way you can get some ideas of your shot and perhaps get an idea of what angle to take it from.
For mammals, you should find out what time the animal is most active during the day and where its food source is. If it's a predator, look for patterns in when it hunts. You can often learn about their feeding habits by observing them over time, or you can check field guides that include photos of these animals hunting in the wild.
Making Sure You Have the Right Gear
Every wildlife photography expedition needs to start with a list. A lot of people make the mistake of overpacking on these trips, so the first thing you need to do is determine what kind of terrain you'll be traveling through and how far you're willing to hike. If it's a short trip or you aren't planning on staying outside overnight, then carry only what's necessary for your day pack.
If this is a longer trip, then consider bringing more supplies, but don't take too much—you will be carrying everything yourself. It may seem like common sense, but for peace of mind, I would advise that any beginner have at least one set of spare batteries for each piece of equipment they plan on using.
In addition to spare batteries, it would also be best to have a tripod, a headlamp or flashlight, sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottles. Most species of wildlife are more active in the morning and evening, so either take a wide-angle lens or one that can zoom out to 200 or 300 mm with you just in case there's no light at all for photography when you get there. That way you'll be prepared for any situation and won't miss out on taking pictures because of faulty equipment.
Any type of compact camera will do for some kinds of outdoor shooting—even if it is just an old point-and-shoot—but I definitely recommend something like an SLR (single-lens reflex) with interchangeable lenses for more advanced photographers.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Safety is paramount when going on a wildlife photography expedition. It doesn't matter how experienced you are; if you aren't careful, then what would have been an interesting wildlife trip will most likely end in disaster. First of all, never approach any animals unless it's absolutely necessary and even then stay at a safe distance. If the animal feels threatened by your presence, it could charge at you with no warning and injure you. Do not do anything to upset its natural habitat or routine—if an animal is used to being somewhere during a certain time of day, don't mess this up for them!
Another thing I can highly recommend is bringing some kind of weapon with you on your journey. While I wouldn't say that the large African wild dogs or leopards should be feared because they're generally more afraid of humans than we are of them, there are many creatures out there that can do you harm. If a situation looks dangerous or becomes one, do not hesitate to use your weapon to defend yourself. You'll be much safer if you have some kind of protection on hand so that animals don't know how afraid you really are.
The last but most important part is making sure you stay with a group at all times when exploring the wilderness. Even the smartest and most experienced wildlife photographers will tell you they've had close calls while taking photographs in the wild before—these situations sometimes require quick thinking and it is best to have someone by your side who can also utilize their knowledge and creativity for survival, especially if anything goes wrong (like an animal attack). This is why I recommend going with at least one other person if you can and not wandering off on your own.
If you do go alone, take a GPS device with you that is waterproof, along with your list of supplies. Make sure to mark out exactly where you plan on exploring so that if something happens and you don't return as planned, someone will be able to come back for you very quickly.
Being Patience to Get That Perfect Shot
Like everything else, wildlife photography is also a learning experience. You will make the same mistakes over and over until you learn from them, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun on your way to mastering it.Wildlife is unique in its own way, so always remember that every species reacts differently depending on what kind of situation it's put in—and never forget to be patient when going after a picture; sometimes Mother Nature just won't cooperate.
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