You are NOT in control…
The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will become a better wildlife photographer!!
Can you imagine a natural world where we could get our subjects to do what we wanted?
Two male lions fighting on a misty morning on the white river sand of a river bed…
A leopard catching an impala, both suspended in mid-air in great golden light…
The list goes on…
I sincerely hope you are all aware of the fact that this is imply not possible.
Animals will go about their routines and daily habits whether we are ready or not. The onus is completely on us to be ready as wildlife photographers, to not only have the ability to anticipate what happens next, but also to know our cameras well enough, to name but two.
This is what makes good wildlife photography so difficult and at the same time, so unbelievably addictive! It is also the reason why professionals spend hours and days in the field waiting for the perfect moment, a moment that can’t be manufactured.
Lets look at some ways in which you can take control of a scenario…
- Get the basics right. Something so many people talk about is better gear, bigger lenses etc. My advice to you would be to get to know the gear that you have as best as possible. You will be surprised what “average” equipment can achieve in capable hands! In order to get great shots you have to operate your camera without thinking about it. You need to be very aware of where dials are located, and in essence be able to change through setting like f-stop & ISO without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.
- Positioning yourself in the right place can yield amazing results. Put some thought into this before whipping out your bazooka lens, perhaps the best shot for a particular scene could be taken with a wider lens?
- A solid understanding of your subject is crucial. You may not know exactly what your subject will do next, or when it is going to do it, but having a sound knowledge of habits will go a long way. Animals often have certain little habits they will stick to. A male lion more often dismounts a lioness to a particular side. Territorial animals prefer certain areas to others. Rhino’s have favourite wallows, predators often cross rivers at specific points and some species of birds prefer hunting from a favourite perch. Getting to know an animals and the terrain they inhabit will put you more than one step ahead of where you were.
There are many ways in which we can better ourselves, in order to get the better image. The above-mentioned are only a few. It will take time to do so, as does most things of quality in life.
That said, the better you become in the smaller things, the more confident you will be once out in the field!
Till next time,
Marlon du Toit
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