Introduction to Wildlife Photography 2014

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An introduction to wildlife photography

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  • Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots --- http://amzn.to/1Rv3Qsa
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  • Wildlife Photography: Advanced Field Techniques for Tracking Elusive Animals and Capturing Magical Moments --- http://amzn.to/1puVwlJ
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  • The beat Camera to use is the one you have in your hand.

    The bigger the zoom range the better.

    List shows a list of options with the from the most common to the more specialist (and more expensive) from top to bottom.
  • To make the most of your image and to get the subject in sharp focus you should aim to fill as much of the available frame with the subject.
  • Easier said then done in some instances.

    As you can see I have divided the image into a 14x7 square

    Using a 10 MP camera gives me a 10m pixels but as you can see from the above example the bunny only occupies 1 square about 1/100 of the frame.
  • This example shows how the image degrades as you try to zoom in to the bunny.

  • Every animal has a circle of Alertness that if you enter the animal’s fight or flight instincts will kick in.

    The secret is to understand how big this circle is for your subject. This can only come with practice that gives you knowledge.
  • So now we understand that we need to get close to our subject to allow us to fill the frame as much as possible.

    So haw can we achieve this.
  • So lets look at how focal length has a bearing on how much subject we can show within a single frame.
  • So lets look at how focal length has a bearing on how much subject we can show within a single frame.
  • So lets look at how focal length has a bearing on how much subject we can show within a single frame.
  • So we now know that we have to get close to the subject for the image to work.

    But what about the other settings.

    Some of your cameras may not have all of the settings available to you so you will need to workout what setting you do have and how best to utilise them.
  • So we now know that we have to get close to the subject for the image to work.

    But what about the other settings.

    Some of your cameras may not have all of the settings available to you so you will need to workout what setting you do have and how best to utilise them.
  • Light is King - With out it there would be know image.

    So learn about light and the effect it has on your images. Look at different times of the day and how the light quality and strength changes.

    Remember that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and during sun-up and sunset the shadows are longest.

    At mid day the sun will be directly over head and can flatten shadows away.

    You should be able to compensate for harsh or poor light using your cameras settings or by using other tools such as flash or filters.
  • Do not expect to go out point your camera at a subject and take a fantastic image straight away. If you do great but most of us have to practice getting that one in a million shot.

    Practice not only improves your eye, knowledge and skill it also builds mussel memory. The ability for your hands etc, to do something with out you concentrating on what it is they are doing. A bit like opening a door, riding a bike etc.
  • So after we have been out and taken some shots we come to review them at the computer or in camera and notice that the image isn’t as we would expect.

    Here are some common issues.

    Wrong settings – always take a test shot and review the image. Using the histogram or overexposure screens (if your camera has these functions).

    Subject to distance – get closer using one of the methods discussed earlier.

    Subject out of focus – Focus on the subjects eyes of the eye nearest to you. Check your focus pattern and method set in camera.

    Camera Shake – hold the camera stedy, increase speed, increase ISO ect. Or use a monopod, tripod beanbag wall ect.

    Motion blure increase shutter speed or increase the amount of light hitting the sensor.
  • As you start on your endeavour to photograph wildlife you will need to ensure that you have your kit ready and you know how to use it.

    You must also have the most important item in a wildlife photographers arsenal…..Patience with out this you will not do your images any justice.



  • When shooting wildlife (in the photography sense that is) by all means take a record shot but then if you have the time and the luxury of a unencumbered path move around the subject and look for interesting angles.
  • Do not forget the other compositional techniques that you have been taught previously as these can also improve you images.
  • Lastly to help you find, approach and photograph your subject do some home work. Find out about its habitat and how it interacts with it. Find out where the best locations are to find it. What it eats etc. Use, books, the internet, TV ect.

    All of this knowledge can only help improve your chances of finding and getting close to your subject.
  • Finally I have a short slide show of some of my favourite images that I have taken over the last few years that I hope will help inspire you.
  • Introduction to Wildlife Photography 2014

    1. 1. Wildlife Photography By David Elms
    2. 2. What is the best Camera? • Compact • Bridge Camera • Consumer SLR • Professional SLR • Remember the quality of the lens has a big effect on the quality of the final image
    3. 3. Fill the Frame
    4. 4. • 14 x 7 Squares = 98 • 10 MP = 10,000,000 Pixels • 10,000,000 / 100 = 100,000 Pixels • Therefore the Rabbit is 1 hundredth of the total image size • Or less then 1 Mega Pixel Fill the Frame
    5. 5. Fill the Frame • Get as close to the subject as possible using what ever method you can if you intend to crop the image or blow it up for printing or any visual application.
    6. 6. Circle of Alertness
    7. 7. Get close to your subject • Camera Options – Digital Zoom – Optical Zoom – Teleconverters – Telephoto Lenses • Human Options – Practice – Field Craft – Knowledge
    8. 8. Focal Length 18mm
    9. 9. Focal Length 35mm
    10. 10. Focal Length 50mm
    11. 11. Focal Length 100mm
    12. 12. Focal Length 200mm
    13. 13. Focal Length 300mm
    14. 14. Focal Length 400mm
    15. 15. Focal Length 600mm
    16. 16. Focal Length 800mm
    17. 17. The Basics - Part 1 • Know your Camera – work out the best settings. – Highest Resolution (Raw/Jpeg) – Mode = Aperture Priority – Metering = Evaluative/Matrix – Focus Pattern = Ai Servo or Predictive Focus – Focus Mode = Continuous Focus / Single Focus – Shooting Mode = Single or Multishot.
    18. 18. The Basics – Part 2 • Remember the old adage “F8 and you’re there”. i.e. F8, ISO 400 is a good starting point • Know your Kit
    19. 19. Remember that light is king • Time of day • Sunrise & Sunset warms. • Position of sun to subject. • Understand how to combat poor or bright light. • Use filters, polarisers as required. • Remember without light you will have no image.
    20. 20. Practice makes perfect • Get out and practice – Zoos – Safari Parks – Parks – Garden – Countryside – Nature Reserves – Holidays – Other Locations
    21. 21. • Pros – See species that you normally wouldn't encounter • Cons – Glass or wires can prove tricky to remove Zoos and Safari Parks
    22. 22. Zoos and Safari Parks • Pros – See species that you normally wouldn't encounter – Allows you to get close to the wildlife • Cons – Glass or wires can prove tricky to remove – Tags, rings or markings will give the game away
    23. 23. • Pros – See species that you normally wouldn't encounter – Allows you to get close to the wildlife – Allows you to see many different species in a limited time • Cons – Glass or wires can prove tricky to remove – Tags, rings or markings will give the game away – Backgrounds can be problematic Zoos and Safari Parks
    24. 24. • Pros – No or Low cost • Cons – Furniture and Backgrounds can be problematic Parks and Gardens
    25. 25. • Pros – No or Low cost – Can spend long hours on location with facilities close to hand. • Cons – Furniture and Backgrounds can be problematic. – May have limited wildlife available Parks and Gardens
    26. 26. • Pros – No or Low cost – Can spend long hours on location with facilities close to hand. – You can modify the environment to attract different species. • Cons – Furniture and Backgrounds can be problematic. – May have limited wildlife available. – Finding suitable quiet times Parks and Gardens
    27. 27. • Pros – Photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. • Cons – Distance to subject can cause problems Countryside and Reserves
    28. 28. • Pros – Photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. – Access to other like minded people. • Cons – Distance to subject can cause problems. – Other people may become a distraction or a hindrance. Countryside and Reserves
    29. 29. • Pros – Photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. – Access to other like minded people. – Availability of multiple habitats within a small radius of yourself. • Cons – Distance to subject can cause problems. – Other people may become a distraction or a hindrance. – You can never be sure what you will find (or not find). Countryside and Reserves
    30. 30. • Pros – Combine your photography with a relaxing break. • Cons – You may not be able to devote as much time to photography as you would like. Holidays
    31. 31. • Pros – Combine your photography with a relaxing break. – A little planning can help reduce time and costs. • Cons – You may not be able to devote as much time to photography as you would like. – Additional kit to carry. Holidays
    32. 32. • Pros – Combine your photography with a relaxing break. – A little planning can help reduce time and costs. – You never know what you will find – That’s half of the fun. • Cons – You may not be able to devote as much time to photography as you would like. – Additional kit to carry. – You may have to accept that sometimes you can’t get the perfect shot. Holidays
    33. 33. – My Fish Tank Other places of interest
    34. 34. – My Fish Tank – Conservation and Animal welfare organisations Other places of interest
    35. 35. – My Fish Tank – Conservation and Animal welfare organisations – Friends • Gardens • Pets • Work • Hobbies Other places of interest
    36. 36. Common Issues • Wrong settings – Practice, always take a test shot. • Subject too distant – Get closer! • Subject out of focus – Focus on the eyes • Camera Shake – Brace it or increase shutter speed • Motion Blur – Increase shutter speed or light.
    37. 37. Be patient! • Be prepared – have you camera ready. • Keep you eye on the ball – you never know what is going to happen next. • Keep a cool head. • Keep still and quiet. • Have patience sometimes it all falls into place beautifully.
    38. 38. • Close-ups. • Place the subject in its environment. • Look for interesting angles. • Aim to remove clutter. • Keep the eyes sharp. • Consider alternative camera settings. Consider Composition
    39. 39. Composition Rules • Remember what you have learnt before – Rule of thirds – Odd numbers work better – Get down to the subjects level • Work your subject • Take plenty of photos • Remember you can always change crops etc post capture.
    40. 40. Know Your Subject • What is its habitat? • What does it eat? • When is it active? • Does it migrate / hibernate? • When does it breed and Is it more active/visible during the time? • Does it have seasonal coats? • How close can you get to it?
    41. 41. So in short • Know your Kit. • Know your subject. • Practice. • Be patient. • Take images of the subjects normal behaviour. • Look for interesting/unusual behaviour. • Take many shots, use few. • Remember the Country code etc. • Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
    42. 42. Thanks!

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