Understanding your Subject

Andrew Beck All Authors, Andrew Leave a Comment

How many wildlife images have you actually planned to capture? I’m not talking about dreaming of that shot of a leopard draped across a Marula branch in golden sunlight but rather a shot that you have conceptualised, executed and captured.

A great landscape photographer will spend a great deal of their time scouting locations, studying the light, weather patterns and various other factors before even setting up a tripod and tripping the shutter. Not all that easy when it comes to wildlife though is it?

The short answer is no, not really. That being said, there is a certain amount of preparation that even a wildlife photographer can do in order to capture a great wildlife image.

By getting to know and understand your subject you will be in a far better position to predict, rather than react, to animal behaviour. Whats the difference?

Well how many times have you missed that shot of a lion or leopard at full yawn because you were to slow to react? Had you understood your subject a bit better perhaps you would have seen the tell tale signs leading up to the yawn, allowing you to prepare for the shot?

These are the sorts of things that I like to cover during our wildlife photography course as it helps photographers to be more prepared in the field.

Lets use this image as an example…

Andrew Beck Penguins copy

For those of you who have ever visited Boulders Beach in Simonstown you will know that this part of the world is a popular tourist attraction and is more often than not dominated by people wanting to see and swim with the penguins. This was a bit of a dilemma as I wanted a more natural shot – the kind without tommy tourist and his kids chasing after these poor little guys.

I sat for a while watching where the penguins exited the water and which route they used to navigate in-between these massive boulders and, after finding a quiet, secluded spot I waited for the next group to make their way through what can only be described as an almost alien landscape.

With a bit of patience, planning and luck I was able to get this shot which I feel tells an incredible story of this endangered species fighting for survival in a harsh and rapidly changing environment.

Its simple really, the more time you spend studying and trying to understand your subject,  the better equipped you will be to predict their behaviour and get those once in a lifetime images.

Andrew Beck

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