Posts tagged “Wildlife Photography

Read the Instructions (Two Photographs)

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When I give presentations on nature photography I am usually asked to mention codes of conduct. While I can quibble that they are aimed more often than not at large animals and birds, I do think there is a lot of common sense in them, for example, not feeding wild animals. Feeding them makes them dependant or expectant and less likely to hunt for themselves, less suspicious of people and makes hunters lives easier. Never mind that people often feed wild animals unhealthy food.


There are other things in the forest…

Chipmunk

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Stepping Out

Stepping Out

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Some days are better than others…

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A great day in photography usually means shooting one great photograph, if not more, that comes out better than you imagined.

There are other great days that get you to that point. While the photographs may not be stellar, they can achieve a goal. After a couple of months struggling through winter or other challenges to get any photographs, you can get a little stale.

Stale in the sense that you don’t easily anticipate things that would help you get the shot you want, let alone well exposed and focused. This is where getting out when you can to practice comes in. Now this gives no guarantee of great shots down the road, but it will help.

Its like reflexes, you need to think about what your settings need to be so when something happens you can react quickly.

Getting back into a rhythm where choices about ISO, f stop, shutter speed, autofocus mode, exposure mode, and lens are routine is Step 1.

Step 2 is focusing on your technique to get sharp/focused photographs.

Step 3 is finding your eye for composition.

It is not an incremental, linear or balanced equation. Step 1 and 2 are technical, the less you have to think about them the more you can focus on Step 3 which is where the magic happens.

So when people tell you the secret is to take more photographs, they do not mean take anything, they mean take enough pictures to be able to get the technical to be instinctive and give you the time and space to be creative in deciding on subject and composition.

And yes there will be times when none of it works and fumbling is the rule of the day. But sooner or later the technology and technique gets comfortable and you can focus more on what counts, crafting photographs – light, composition, perspective, the conversation.


Any Monday Morning

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Cocky not Angry Bird

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Frogs on a Log

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Click to Enlarge

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Some Views on Photography as a Conversation

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Photography involves many kinds of dialogue, the most important conversation is the one with a living entity at the other end of your lens.

When photographing animals, birds, insects etc. our subjects often notice us. Sometimes they flee and sometimes they stick around. While we should not ignore our tendency to ascribe human emotions to animals (anthropomorphism), it remains true that we often have the attention of our subject. The dialogue may be complicated by the lack of sophisticated communication, nonetheless something is being communicated.

At its best there is a common curiosity. Try as we might to avoid disturbing our subjects we probably do so more than we would wish to. Hence the need to move slowly, ensure our subject is comfortable and avoid any appearance of wanting actual contact.

At a distance any creature acts naturally and capturing them untainted by communication is an option. With large and dangerous animals this may be the only option. However, you might like to experiment and make your own determination of how much more impact a conversation can have. That is not to say birds in flight, mass migrations and may other events also have impact, but a connection electrifies a photograph.

The picture above is of a juvenile Muskrat that looked up only a few times as he mowed his/her way through the foliage.


Spring Duck

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