Photography of wildlife: what to consider

When photographing wildlife, not only features well known photographic technique. The true nature photographers painstakingly photographing each species studied. In general, a nature photographer is also a convinced naturalist, and therefore (in theory) never sacrifices the welfare of animals only to get the dream picture. Even nature photographers associations develop ethical codes requiring fulfill its partners.

These measures not only protects the dignity and freedom of the animals in their environment, but help to improve the security of the photographer, in front of seeing his species may react violently invaded territory.

Still, even the best photographers are free from danger. We all remember the dramatic case of Michio Hoshino, who was killed by a bear while he was photographing this species in Lake Kurylskaya, Russia in 1996. The photograph was a hoax which spread as if it were real for the network on the basis of these facts, but plays the situation that could have lived Michio.

What are the limits?

Recently the British photographer Heather Angel had a reflection on the profession of photographer of nature and risk that accompanies it. The photographer questions the possibility of invading the territory of dangerous wild animals based on the example of the last 3 kills photographers, one in Svalbard with a polar bear, and two other deaths by shark in Seychelles. The assertion articles like this, is that nature photographers have spent years discussing what the limits are assumable and desirable.

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Wildlife photographers often have irresistible urges to photograph dangerous animals, but this needs to be knowledgeable and to behave responsibly. An example of this lack of responsibility we have in the video that accompanies this article, in which a number of tourists harass a bison in Yellowstone Park until logically, reacts to what it sees as an invasion of their territory.

Obviously this is an extreme example, played in this case by irresponsible and not by professional photographers’ tourists. But it helps us get an idea of how important it is to set limits, especially at a time when photography is more popular than ever.

If you want to take hunting pictures of wildlife in a natural setting, you must never forget the reason why this type of wildlife is called “wild life”. Below we list some tips that are not particularly focused on the art, but the attitude we should take to this type of activity:

Apply the necessary permissions

In some areas the activity of wildlife photography is regulated and you need to ask permission. We have to inform us well before coming to a natural reserve, and determine under what conditions we can. This is especially important when accessing protected areas and especially if we want to “plant” a hide.

Integrated with the landscape

It is advisable to wear flashy clothes or perfumes that we can distinguish from the natural qualities of the place. In general, it is better to be camouflaged and go unnoticed. To do this, do not use tissues to rub excessive noise and to protect the tripod with foam to produce no collisions with other objects of our team (especially if you’re involved in a hide).

Keep still and waiting

This type of photography requires a lot of patience. The best way to see wildlife is to let it come. Therefore, it is preferable to find a comfortable place and partially hidden disguise your presence. The longer you manage to be going unnoticed, the more likely that some species will have to approach without feeling threatened. At this point, it should be well informed of the minimum safety distance to ensure no danger we face this kind.

Use your ear

The ear is the sense most used when finding fauna. It is convenient to capture educate any indication that the species we seek is near: branches creaking, flapping, calls to other members of the same species, etc.. It will also help to distinguish one species from another.

Shooting with both eyes open

This is advice given by some wildlife photographers. To capture that moment that will give us the desired photograph is a very fast process, so that both eyes open we could anticipate any imminent scene. Also, we will keep on guard against more dangerous species. At this point, it is assumed that we have well informed about the species to photograph and thus be able to anticipate their behavior.

Using the flash

The problem given species expected to decide to stand in front of our hide, can cause the picture not the best time to take. Therefore, sometimes it might be desirable to use the flash in order to eliminate unwanted shadows. It is evident that certain species and certain powers of the flash may be incompatible.

The telephoto

If we have to keep a distance of at least 100m from the animal, need a good telephoto lens. We discussed about fiscal higher than 300 mm and converters of focal. Additionally, you must be very bright, as we need to freeze the subject relatively short exposure (about 1/500 or less). And of course I shoot from a tripod to prevent camera shake.


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