Just close your eyes for a moment and try to visualize what the essence of wildlife photography might be. You are bound to see the mesmerizing images of a lion or a cheetah going for the kill. This is because this class of photography aims to captures and captivate you! If you have a passion for photography and if you love being nature, raw and unforgiving, then photographing wildlife is the ideal choice for you.
There are certain key factors that will play an important role in shaping each image while drawing you out for a ‘kill’. You just can’t pick your camera and walk right into a game hunting reserve to shoot a wild animal. You will have to learn ad unlearn. The results, when drawn out of your camera, will be well worth the wait despite the difficult but thrilling process involved in shooting the game.
There are some commandments that you need to follow in wildlife photography and they are:
1) Tracking: You need to study and develop skills that will help you to track a tiger in 100 sq miles of forest land. Tracking is important for the perfect photograph and you can do it by following the paw marks, and the feces.
2) Patience: patience is a big virtue and if you want a great picture, you will have to wait. Remember, you are in their territory!
3) Eye Contact: One of the important rules of photography in the wild is: never try to make eye contact with a wild animal that is bigger and more dangerous like lions, cheetahs, leopards and even wilder beasts.
4) Timing: Timing is synonymous to animal photography. If you are not there at the appropriate time then you will most certainly miss the opportunity. You can achieve perfection in timing by applying the watch and wait theory.
5) Proximity: Don’t get too close to predators as their behaviors can be erratic and dangerous. If you are using a digital SLR camera with a telephoto lens, then you can even take wildlife photographs from a distance.
6) Clothes: During photography, it is always advisable to wear clothes with earthen tones rather than camouflage.
7) Movement: Wild animals respond to movements and even the slightest movement can scare the nervous types like the Deers and Zebras. Sometimes, you will also have to ‘stalk’ your subject, as a predator stalks its prey.
Now that you know the various aspects of photographing wildlife, all you need is a good camera. Any camera that offers the following makes for a good buy:
It should provide a manual override of automatic functions. The camera should have an auto-focus as well as manual focus option.
The camera should allow you to set the required shutter speed and aperture.
It should also have an option for mechanical remote release.
Your camera should have a wide angle lens starting at 28mm and can go up to 70mm or 105mm. It should also have a telephoto zoom between 70mm and 100mm and capable of reaching 300mm.
Some of the other accessories required are a polarizing filter, warming filter (81A or B), UV filter, lens hood and the camera bag.
Once you have the camera and lenses in place, you should start from your backyard to get a taste of it before trying out serious wildlife photography. Don’t forget to enjoy your ‘shoot’!