Wild Life Photography
Stalking - TIps and Tricks
Here are my top techniques for wildlife in no particular order.p
Be stealthy; In appearance, movement and noise. Don't go out in a clown suit. One year I purchased my first camo shirt & pants, On the very first outing wearing them I noticed an ability to get closer - was I now invisible? So, I think wearing appropriate clothing does matter. Keep your movement on the low and slow. Don't tromp around! Step light.- take a few steps, stop and observe; I remember several outings I was in a "hurry" to get to my fav spot and walked (scared off) a perfect Eagle shot had I used my own advice I would have gotten the shot - the one of many that got away and like Eagles most Animals keep their senses wired. Finally, but not the last remove the jingles such as loose change or anything that makes sounds when moving about, and wear a hat if possible especially if your wearing glasses. If you choose to wear camo, move slowly & quietly your chances will improve.
Return your Camera Settings to Your Default: Most all of us have our favorite camera setup for Outdoor Photography, So it makes sense that if you need to adjust for a "special" situation, you should return to your default settings once ready to move on. This means, check adjust then return your settings to your default choice. Eventually you will need to go manual - remember that mode? DON'T forget to return to your fail safe settings. I can't remember the number of times I forgot and had horrible exposed photos of rare sightings / opportunities - like setting the timer and forgetting. Etch this in your memory - check your camera settings before taking a step away from your current point and each session!! If you do this, you will at least will have a recoverable photo in situations that requires quick shooting decisions.
Just Take The Shot: How many times have a missed a shot by attempting to get closer or a better angle? My new rule is to take the shot then move in closer, take another shot, then adjust - wash rinse repeat. Birds especially don't like it when we get too close and sometimes you don't know what too close is. So it is best to at least get a few shots while you "try" getting closer.
Choose Your Lens: Sounds simple and for most folks it is because you may not have a lot of choices. One dilemma is speed vs weight vs focal length. Ask yourself this question: What is your objective for the outing? are you looking to capture up close detailed images of wildlife, or do you have the ability to move closer where you are shooting at. How far do you have to hike to get into position and the "weather" Hot / Humid / rain /. All these factors should dictate what you pack to carry. Sometimes it is ok to leave your favorite lens home and pick up a lighter one due to the situation. Have you seen the look of people's face who carry a 600mm in 90 degree heat? Like a backup lens such as a Nikkor 200-500 (if your a nikon shooter) canon has similar offerings. - Just saying sometimes your back needs a break + your more nimble and that goes a long way in bringing home the photos you wanted to capture in the first place.
Post your rewards and acknowledge your failures; This helps others be inspired and learn from you. Don't be afraid to provide your shooting settings, lens, and lighting details. Try to explain what went wrong what went right! Everyone is different if you cab show people your mistakes it helps because the failures are important. Most photographers can relate to those moments of error.
Don't give up! It's hard coming home with an empty memory card, some days are just not going to work so accept that. Always remember everyday is different, and tomorrow will be here soon.