“A Passion for Wildlife Photography, the Stories Behind the Images” , Part 2


Requirements

Knowledge of Equipment —

  1. Check settings heading out for a day of shooting. If camera has be to the shop for repair or cleaning, often the service people change the settings back to the defaults.
  2. Make sure the camera batteries are fully charged and there is a memory card of an appropriate size in place. Always carry spares.
  3. When traveling I back up my images onto two 1 or 2 T portable drive connected to my laptop. Then I import them into Lightroom and verify that they were transferred without any glitches or corrupted files. Only then do I format my memory card. I prefer to start with a clean card each day, 16 or 32 G. At home, I will copy the files from the smaller drives to a larger one.
  4. As you approach your subject, from a distance preselect the lens and settings that are most appropriate. for the situation. Consider the direction, quality, and color of the light when choosing your approach. Be aware of subtle changes in muscle tension and poses that may indicate action (addressed in later blog) and be prepared to act instantaneously.
Sandhill crane.  Saw this crane approaching a pond filled with other birds. Locked focus on bird and continued to follow it as it landed.
Sandhill crane. Saw this crane approaching a pond filled with other birds. Selected my 600 mm lens and set aperture large enough so would be using a fast shutter speed. SInce it was the end of the day, also elevated my ISO. Locked focus on bird at a distance and continued to follow it as it landed. Took a series of shots.
NestOsprey2-6863WORD2
Osprey Nest – Selected 80-400 mm zoom lens and elevated ISO. Waited patiently for the  osprey t leave the nest.  Took a series of shots. Photographed from the water but nearly drowned my camera when stepped into a hole where the water reached my waist.

 Knowledge of Subject —

  1. Research your subject’s behavior. Where and when is it found? What is its temperament?
  2. Speak with others familiar with your subject including researchers, biologists and even learning tips from hunters as to the subject’s behavior and tolerance.
  3. Approach from down wind if animal has an elevated sense of smell as does the Giant Anteater. Those with long/pointy noses tend to have better sense of small than others.

    Capuchin Monkey.  All animals are attracted to food and are easier to photograph when their attention is on something other than you,
    Capuchin Monkey. All animals are attracted to food and are easier to photograph when their attention is on something other than you,
Giant-Ant-Eater-WORD
Giant Anteater at termite mound, Pantanal, Brazil. Long nose and good sense of smell so approach animal from down-wind.

Patience and persistence —

  1. Spend as long as possible with your subject. It some times takes a long time to capture what you are after and may required repeated attempts on different days and with different weather conditions. Avoid distractions and keep your focus. However if another great photo opportunity comes along, go ahead and pursue it.
  2. Before beginning a project and while at the scene, develop in your mind a vision of what you hope for in terms of results but never limit yourself to just this.
  3. Continue to develop your skills, trying to surpass previous accomplishments.
  4. Don’t give up. Look at other ways to achieve your goal. Perhaps move to achieve a better camera angle, light, and background.
GullsCrying-0490WORD
Herring Gulls, Common bird by interesting pose.
CanvasBack-word
Canvasback. Often after preening, birds flap their wings to get rid of loose feathers. Watched and waited for one of the ducks to splash water as it flapped its wings.

 

Eider-WORD
King Eider, Watched the eiders approach to the beach and waited for nearly an hour before captured this shot.

Curiosity & ability to observe —

  1. Help you be engaged with the subject and become sensitive to subtle changes in posture, etc. that may precede some behavior of interest.
  2. No time for snoozing. I find my mind engaged in a detective game. What it happening & why”. What’s next? What do you want to show? What fascinates you?
AtlanticPuffinBilling-WORD
Billing – greeting and pair bonding. Showing intruder that this is there territory.
Northern Shovler. Anticipated flapping affer some time preening.
Northern Shovler. Anticipated flapping affer some time preening.
AtlanticPuffin-1WORD
Atlantic Puffins. When one animal approaches another there is likely to be some interaction – friendly or otherwise.

 

See next installment regarding wildlife photography – locating subjects.