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Old 01-06-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
Dave Stiles's Avatar
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Location: Olympia, WA
Default Wildlife Photography Tips

Knowing your subject is a big part of successfully photographing wildlife. The other part is the technology, the camera gear. It's the melding of biology and technology that captures images without any harm coming to the subject.

You must be able to react quickly when photographing most animals in the wild. In order to concentrate on your subject and to anticipate its next move, you should be completely familiar with your camera’s operation.

#1: Snap Quickly and Often
Snap plenty of digital photos to compensate for random animal movements.

#2: Talk to a Park Ranger
Looking to take digital photos of animals in national parks and wildlife reserves? Don't neglect park rangers as valuable source of information on animal behavior.

Handling your camera should become second-nature to you, and using its controls should be instinctive.

#4: Use a Fast Shutter Speed
Compensate for fast animal movements with your digital camera settings.

#5: Don't Be Afraid of Blurring
When up against the right backdrop, a blurred animal might help make an attractive digital photo.

#6: Disable All Camera Sounds
Even the slightest beep produced by your digital camera may scare away wildlife.

#7: Keep the Eyes in Focus
Keep animals' eyes focused and clear in your digital photos.

#8: Don't Let Perfectionism Keep you from Shooting Any Photos
Don't let the "rule of thirds" stifle your digital animal photography.

#9: Avoid Flash
Avoid flash with your digital camera whenever possible to keep animals from getting startled.

#10: Don't Smell!
Odors can give away your presence to animals, making digital photography more difficult.

#11: Use Your Zoom
Don't scare away animals - use your digital camera's optical zoom to record detail.

#12: Shoot at Different Angles
Varying the angles of your animal and wildlife photos can create interesting effects.

#13: Obey the Don't Feed the Animals Signs
For your personal safety and others', never feed the wildlife!

#14: Use a Polarizing Filter When Near Water
Polarizing filters can reduce reflections that might otherwise overpower images of animals.

#15: Show Some Patience
The best things come to those who wait.

~ A good wildlife photographer studies everything about the animal before ever setting out with a camera in hand... ~
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Dave's Wildlife Photography - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_stiles/
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:34 AM   #2
WG Ways and Means
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Location: South of the Cheddar Curtain

Man I was doing good until I hit the don't smell item!!!!!

But I guess it depends on what you smell like. I was wondering about shutter speed. Since most of us run cameras on auto what should be done. I normally set mine to "P" (wish I could remember what that meant) so that the light an speed samples are taken on the point of focus, not a frame wide sample. If you run higher speeds how do you get around light issues?????

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Old 01-07-2009, 09:56 AM   #3
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Location: Central Illinois

Light issues can be a problem at higher speeds... but most wildlife is shot outdoors in sunlight, so light "usually" isn't a problem... except when the sun is behind the subject or its dark out... (note my owl avator).

I think P on your camera stands for Portrait. Which focuses on the subject not the background, as you described... focus on point, not frame.

For birds, I usually set my camera on the auto focus/action automatic setting (the picture of the little running man)...no flash, fastest shutter speed, will shoot up to 5 frames per second.

For Flowers, I want to use a slower shutter speed for a better quality image. I will turn the flash off to get a natural light. And depending upon the type of shot, I may use a macro lens (some point and shoot cameras have a macro setting for close up focus).

As far as smell goes... which is not a bad point. I have a chemical sensitivity so I don't use any perfume or anything with artificial fragrance or artificial color because it causes an allergic reaction. I know several hunters who use products like scent a way, or natures essence... for their laundry as well as their shower. I've never thought of using those products for photography... but its not a bad idea.
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:47 PM   #4
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Location: Virginia, USA

Green Man, it's probably that "Irish Spring", so of course you'll have no luck with the deer at least. wink, wink, grin
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #5
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Manly YES!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

Perhaps it can be worthwhile to review Dave Stile's photo tips posted almost four years ago!

While the Rule of Thirds is mentioned, it's something that can be better utilized in post-processing cropping of wildlife pix. Many cameras provide a grid in display mode which divides your pic into 9 parts. Two horizontal lines and two vertical. As a general rule, a subject is best placed within the center square, but use the corners of that square for the main focus. Understandably, we don't want our subject way to the outside frame of the pic.

The grid lines are also helpful to keep horizontal or vertical lines correct. Do not put your horizon directly in the middle unless you know all the composition rules and how to break them. also, do not allow a diagonal line to touch any corner. Try not to have your subject in the exact center.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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P= program mode.The camera automatically adjusts aperture and shutter speed for optimal exposure, but the photographer can choose from different combinations of aperture and shutter speed that will produce the same exposure.

This is in reference to Nikon. Good Luck.
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