Shooting Wildlife with Camera

The name of the game in wildlife photography—whether you’re trying to capture a herd of elephants on the corbatt Plains or squirrels in your backyard—is patience. Wild animals are going to do what they’re going to do. Unfortunately, you can’t ask them to look this way, do something cute, or stand where the light is better. You have to be there, and ready, when they decide to look cute or do something interesting. Be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait—it takes a long time to get good wildlife shots, even longer to make great ones.

But it’s not wasted time. The longer you spend with an animal or a group of animals, the better you get to know them and their habits. You get to see the personalities of different individuals, and you’ll get to the point where you can anticipate what they might do at a particular time of day or in a certain situation. Knowing which baby is more playful or in which spot a female likes to lie up will help you get your images.

And, as is true of all kinds of photography, the more time you spend with your subjects, the more likely your images will be intimate and revealing. You know them better, and it will show.

Gear and Equipments

I made all these photos from my Jeep. There are so many people driving around the national parks in India and elsewhere that the animals simply ignore cars and it’s easy to get close.

Different animals are different, of course: Herbivores like deer and shambhar tend to be pretty skittish and have greater flight distances than carnivores like tiger and lions, who can be very blasé. They can come close and not change place for hours. They don't worry much about our presence untill we do some foolish.

Telephoto lenses are a must for wildlife photography—how long depends on how close you can get and on the size of your subject. I made most of these tiger pictures with a 400mm f4.5, but that’s because they were so tolerant of me. Birds, small and flighty, need really long lenses. So do animals that are shy. For these, I use a 400mm or 600mm, though these lenses are big, heavy, and not a lot of fun to lug around. It’s not a great problem when shooting from a jeep, but if I’m hiking I sometimes use a teleconverter on the 400mm. They’re small and light, come in different degrees of magnification, and greatly increase the reach of your lenses. The downside is that image resolution is not quite as good and you lose some stops of light—but my back and shoulders are a lot happier.

Long lenses need support. When hiking or otherwise traveling on foot, a tripod is the norm. But I hate carrying stuff. Tripods sturdy enough to support a 600mm lens are big and heavy. I’ve found that I can usually find something to rest the lens on—a boulder or fallen tree, for example. My camera bag also makes a terrific support, and I’m carrying it anyway.

When I was photographing the Tiger, I had a mount that fit on my jeep door that I could attach a tripod head to. It’s handy to have the camera mounted next to you so you can easily move the jeep for a better angle without having to put the camera down. Before I got the jeep mount, I used pillows, blankets, even folded up jackets. Remember: The longer the lens, the more susceptible you are to camera movement—with really long lenses, even the slightest motion can cause blur. Try to use as fast a shutter speed as possible, taking into account what kind of depth of field you want. (The larger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field. Really long telephotos have very little depth of field at any f-stop.)

Character and Environment

Another thing to remember when photographing wildlife is the old “push/pull.” Animals have personalities, and you want to show that. But you don’t want to be working really tight with long lenses all the time. You need to show their environment too—habitat says a lot. Back off and use wide-angle lenses to give viewers a sense of where the animals live.

There’s a lot of information about buffalos in this portrait shot. Bufallos in Kanha are very abundent in number but you can only see them quite few in number of 3-4 near bushes. Crossing jeep track is very common in early morning.

And its great chance to see them in dusky morning light as you can see in photo. They will not wait for you. Very careless animal. They can only glimpse on you but you must be ready to get good shot.

One More Thing

When you’re out photographing wildlife, don’t just pay attention to what are called the charismatic megafauna—the big animals that get most of our attention. Of course we all want good photos of the big guys, but there are many other forms of life around. Some of them are really beautiful, and all of them are interesting. Whenever you’re out there, whether hiking or sitting in your jeep waiting for something to happen, look around. You’ll be amazed at what you might discover. Photograph that too! Sometime shoting ants can be more facinating than hunting Tiger.

One very important thing is "Just enjoy the wildlife" and dont think and plan much in jungle. Jungle has its own plan, only be ready and available at the moment.

Along with equipments and knowledege you need to carry three very important things during shooting are

Patience, Persistence and Perseverance

Take Care!

WhatsApp Chat WhatsApp Chat