Top 10 Wildlife Photography Tips
1. Pack a long lens
By its very nature, most wildlife is a bit camera shy, so it’s unlikely the animals will want to pose for a close-up. A long telephoto lens is a necessity and, because you don’t have the luxury of adjusting your position, a zoom lens is much more flexible than a prime lens.
2. Keep it steady
Image stabilisation (IS) lenses are excellent for avoiding camera shake, not only at long telephoto settings, but also for overcoming the vibration of an idling Land Rover. Most new IS lenses have automatic panning detection, but if not, switch to IS Mode 2 when panning.
3. Be prepared
Shooting opportunities can come and go in the blink of an eye, so be ready at all times with your camera switched on and ready to shoot. Make sure that Auto Power Off isn’t selected.
4. Switch to Tv mode
Image stabilisation does nothing to freeze movement on the part of the subject being photographed and the only way to achieve this is with a fast shutter speed, preferably above 1/250 sec. You can set a suitable shutter speed in the Tv shooting mode.
5. Aperture awareness
At dawn, or in the unlikely event that the sun isn’t shining, keep an eye open for a blinking aperture warning. This signifies that even the widest aperture can’t accommodate the fast shutter speed you’ve set. Increase the ISO accordingly, or switch to Auto ISO if your camera has this feature.
6. Try Continuous shooting
To make the most of every opportunity, select your camera’s Continuous Drive mode and shoot a burst of shots. This will help ensure you capture a few that are worth keeping.
7. AI Servo
It’s often the case on wildlife safaris that you and the wildlife you’re photographing are simultaneously on the move, so switch to AI Servo (continuous) auto focus to maximise your chances of getting sharp shots.
8. Use single point focus
In most cases, especially considering the relatively small depth of field of long telephoto lenses, you’ll want to focus on the main subject rather than leaving things to chance with multi-point auto focus. Select the single, central auto focus point.
9. Size matters
Even long telephoto lenses often seem to lack reach when shooting from a distance, especially with small subjects such as birds. Select the largest image size available in your camera to enable selective cropping in image-editing software after the event.
10. Carry spares
Continuous shooting, especially with image stabilisation, drains resources. Ensure that your battery is fully charged the night before and, if possible, take a spare battery and extra memory cards with you on the day.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.