“In all things of nature, there is something marvelous.” Aristotle
I was recently asked how got some of my wildlife photos. Well, I have never really taken any formal photography courses this is the reason why I always say that I am not an expert. I just love all aspects of photography. I can spend hours outside trying to get the perfect shot. So, here’s my bit of advice for wildlife photography.
Get outside. When I was younger, my mother would send us all out of the house. If the weather was nice, we would all be outside which brought my imagination to life. We would literally play from dawn to dusk. Being outside gave me a chance to explore the world around me; the exploration spirit is still in me; I just have a camera in hand now. I was never one to be afraid of bugs or wild animals. Most of the time, I just wanted to see where they really lived.
Don’t be afraid of the elements. But at the same time be aware of your surroundings. I cannot tell you how many times I have been waist high in poison ivy because I have concentrated on the subject and not where I was actually walking. So, before you continue to get the better picture; take a quick look around.
Checking the local weather is also a must. When the weatherman calls for a chance of rain, pack items for a rainy day. The last thing you want to do is to be stuck outside without rain gear. A phone that sends weather alert messages is also very helpful in these situations.
Get dirty. Let’s face it, wildlife photography can be dirty. At this point, I don’t even think about the dirt. I will find myself lying on the ground to get a perfect shot. However, when I get up I am covered in dirt and whatever else that may be lurking on the ground. But like my mom always says, that is why soap was invented.
What camera equipment to use? I am not going to try to sell you the latest type of equipment. I am a firm believer that each photo taken is an extension of the artist’s view. The camera is just a tool to achieve the goal that you can see in your mind. I started with an old 126 film camera; I know this dates me. I loved that old camera which was a gift from my grandfather. I tried to be as creative as possible with my shots back then. I was always excited to see the photos and explain what I was trying to achieve with each shot. So, I do not give advice on equipment; I believe the heart of the photographer is far more important.
Be patient. As I type this last suggestion, I will admit I had to learn this trait over the years. I recently photographed a beautiful heron after almost two months of trying. So do not expect to always get the exact photo that you want the first time around.
One more thing: HAVE FUN!