Factsheet : Wildlife photography : top tips on how to enjoy it.

Shaded Relief map of Vancouver Island

Shaded Relief map of Vancouver Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The advances in cameras, especially lenses, film and mega pixel-count have been extraordinary, but they are no cast iron guarantee for success. Here are several personal tips which are essential for successful wildlife photography even before you pick up the camera.
  • Get up early. It may sound obvious but this often means very early indeed, ideally you want to be in a position before the sun is up. Many times it might involve wasted journeys and alarm calls, but unless you are prepared to do this you cannot expect rewards.
  • Sweat. If the situation dictates climbing a tree or mountain, do not blanche at it. If you are out of condition for such hardships get in shape.
  • Do your research. If you are going to a new area, do not just rely on local people to help you. Gorge yourself on every book on the area including coffee table books, so you are up to speed upon arrival.
  • Be original. Many people have fixed ideas of what they want to take; a leopard up a tree, a snow monkey with frosted whiskers, a cheetah running. By all means try these, but they are hardly original. Look at a situation from left field and bring some originality to your photos.
  • Be quiet and patient. Impatience will get you nowhere with wildlife. As well as a huge budget the Planet Earth team had the critical commodity of photography – time. Much better to spend longer in one place than a whistle stop tour around a country. It often is frustrating and this is perfectly understandable, but don’t let it affect you as it will tarnish your efforts.
  • Relax. If you are photographing in the wilderness, be it Moremi, Siberia or Vancouver Island, just being there should be enough. Relax and enjoy where you are, your results must show an understanding of your environment not a competitive urge to photograph everything that moves.

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