How to shoot wildlife at night using flash

May 30, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to shoot wildlife at night using flash

May 30, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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I only recently came across the YouTube channel of Australian wildlife photographer, Derek Hilton, but it’s one I quickly became fascinated with.  It’s probably the only photography channel I’ve seen on YouTube dedicated entirely to wildlife.

In this pair of videos, Derek gives us some tips on photographing wildlife at night.  Interestingly, one of the tools he uses in these videos is the Gary Fong Lightsphere, something I wouldn’t have ever considered for such outdoor use.

The first video has Derek showing us some of the techniques he uses when stalking Agile antechinus, patiently waiting for them to make an appearance.

YouTube video

Derek not only tells us about the settings he’s using, but he also explains why he’s choosing those settings in order to achieve a particular result.  There’s also some experimentation involved, as this is the first time he’s trying the Gary Fong Lightsphere for this purpose.

Returning to this family of marsupials a number of days later for a second video, Derek goes over some of the issues he faced first time around, and how he intends to overcome them.

YouTube video

The two videos together are a great example of analysis and patience.  Once you understand the limitations of a particular piece or combination of equipment, you can start to figure out ways of overcoming those issues.

You also soon learn that it can take a lot of time to get wild residents used to your presence, especially if you’re wielding a camera and firing off lights.

You can find Derek on YouTube, and subscribe to his adventures.  I know I will.

What are your favourite places to find information for photographing wildlife?  Let us know in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “How to shoot wildlife at night using flash”

  1. Will Nicholls Avatar
    Will Nicholls

    Can’t say I agree with this practice of shooting animals like owls with flash at night. I wrote an investigative piece that looks at the effects of flash on animals. Perhaps you may be interested to read it: http://www.naturettl.com/does-flash-photography-harm-animals/