With the help of his father’s wise words, Jay P. Morgan has just put out a fun video chock full of tips to help you get started in wildlife photography. Morgan’s father was a photographer for National Geographic and the Audubon Society for many years. He did us all a favor by imparting his experiences and wisdom onto his son, who is paying it forward and sharing the tips with us. Even if you’re already familiar with some of the concepts he mentions, there’s certainly some gems to be found. Number 8 is a personal favorite. (I, too, can vouch for it’s usefulness.)
11 Tips To Photographing Wildlife
Here’s a primer on the tips from Morgan’s video, which you can also watch after the list…
- National Parks are good places to photograph wildlife due to the fact that the most of the animals living in the park are accustomed to humans. That’s not to say National Park animals are not potentially dangerous, they are still wild animals and the utmost precaution should be taken when photographing them, but it is often easier to get within a close enough range to photograph wildlife at a National Park where the animals are more used to such a thing. Plus, the park rangers will be able to tell you where any wildlife sightings have been made recently to improve your chances of finding them.
- Tip number two was actually given to Jay P. Morgan’s father, who photographed for National Geographic. When the elder Morgan sent first sent photos to NatGeo, the magazine responded back with, “Send us more images as soon as you buy a tripod.” So, tip number two is: use a tripod.
- Don’t leave home without your telephoto lens, but don’t forget about your wide angle lenses either.
- Photograph in the early morning or evening when the wildlife is up and moving about and the natural light is still good.
- Spend time getting to know the wildlife, their habits, their body language, etc…
- Don’t let bad weather keep you from going out shooting. Storms often provide interesting and dramatic skies to compliment your photos, plus the challenge of composing great shots in imperfect conditions is totally worth is.
- Take shots that are relatable such as frolicking youngsters, mothering, and other social interactions among the wildlife.
- The Lost Wallet technique. Morgan’s father also taught him a good way to gaining trust in wildlife affording you the opportunity to move in a little closer to them. When you spot a herd, pretend to be searching for something and pay little attention to the animals themselves. Slowly walk about with your focus on something else and before you know it they will have relaxed and you can eventually work your way a little closer to them without raising their guards.
- Shooting in continuous mode and snapping a few frames each shot will help you catch the action of moving animals.
- Set a shutter speed of 250th of a second (for the most part) and adjust aperture and ISO as needed. The fast shutter speed will help you freeze movement.
- Keep a spare kit in your car that includes extra batteries, lenses, and memory cards–this way you’ll always be ready if you have to jump in the car for any reason. (Like if a giant grizzly bear came over and wanted to test out your D800…)
[ via The Slanted Lens ]