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Wildlife Photography 102

Wildlife Photography 102

I’m not one to sit around and wait for wildlife to come to me. Sure, having a wetlands full of birds and animals in my back yard is great and for practice it can’t be beat. That’s why I picked this area in the first place to build my home, but part of me loving making wildlife images is getting out into the back country and exploring new places and habitat.

Well to continue my thoughts on basic wildlife photography we can assume a couple things need to be present when getting started! We have to have some decent light, we need a critter of some sort, whether its willing to co-operate or not is another story, and to top it off we need some common sense. Like I said, I like to explore so a lot of times I find myself roaming and searching for creatures to photograph and that means me going to them and not the opposite.

Learning to approach or stalk within your desired composition requires an understanding of body language. This takes practice and time and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still in need of a lot of practice because the anticipation and my lack of patience has cost me a schwack of good opportunities. Notice how I said opportunities here and not images. To get the good image, getting there is one thing but you need a combination of ingredients to all come together for success. Another ingredient I’d like to talk about in this post is posture.

Last time we touched on composition and placement, background and light but another important consideration is posture. Once I found myself within range for the composition I wanted on this California Quail, I started shooting. I always get the first obligatory panic shots out of the way. Then, if I performed my job correctly and got into a shooting position without causing too much fuss, I can then become a little more selective of my shot placement. After this dude became comfortable with my lens pointed at his face he quickly returned to communicating with his kin and thats when I had a little more time to start thinking about posture. I watched as he would gesture up into his call and so I decided to try and capture that movement. Getting the timing right, I would let off a burst of shots in order to catch the moment of the peak of action and thus, capturing and creating some added visual interest!

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Though not as dramatic as the quail, this rufous landed on a nice perch for me and to illustrate a good mix of some of the key ingredients lets have a look. Decent posture looking slightly back and away. Rules are meant to broken and here is a case where centring the subject doesn’t hurt the image too much. Remember, these are just some basic guidelines to aid and assist but a good rule of thumb is, there are no rules! Good light reflecting off his Gorget (neck feathers and yes I googled it) created a nice colour contrast against a clean background. There is also a little catchlight in his eye which is bonus!

Rufous Hummingbird

This Chipmunk sure likes his nuts! Ok, not a joke for everyone but some comedic posturing here to spice it up a little! :)

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And finally the pay off, when it all comes together and we get rewarded with a successful image!

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Next time a quick word about my thoughts on cropping and sharpness!

Thanks for looking and if you enjoy my work please press like on that facebooky button up top or share it with your friends in any way you see fit! Also remember comments and critique are always most welcome!

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Update on my marmot family living out back of my yard. I’ve added a couple minutes of video featuring the playful banter performed with the spirited energy of youth!