Wildlife photography is often assumed to be an exciting and high adventure genre of photography. In reality it is extremely challenging and wildlife photographers find themselves at the mercy of inclement weather and sometimes even face danger. Here are some suggestions for this specialized form of photography.
Understand the life form that you plan to photograph in terms of living habits, habitat and behavior. In other words you need a perspective on ‘a day in the life of’ your wildlife subject. Books and online research will throw light on your subject. The importance of getting acquainted with the behavior of the animal is a lot more important when you have to shoot dangerous jungle animals that can attack like lions or tigers or even bears. Animals will become aware of you when you enter close to their habitat but will usually not attack if you keep your distance. But you have to be clear on the distance at which an animal will begin to feel threatened by your presence and decide to attack you.
It goes without saying that you can’t expect any kind cooperation from your subject! You have to fit yourself in, place yourself in a vantage point and have your camera set and ready and then wait for the ‘right moment’ to take the shot that you are looking for.
You may have to wait many days before you can capture the right shot. Your subject could not care less if the light is diminishing or the light is at its best. You may have perfect light conditions on a particular day but your subject may not be in the right spot for you to take the shot.
You need telephoto lenses to shoot from a distance and other camera features like Center-weighted metering. The Center-weighted meter allows you to meter the wildlife subject at the center of the frame and vary the size of the sensing area based on the dimensions of the subject and its distance from you.
Taking landscape pictures within a city from atop a building or on the beach is one type of landscape photography. But if you want to get closer to nature and shoot unique pictures of nature and environment in remote locations like wild forest area or mountain ranges, then you have your task cut out for you just like a wildlife photographer. You need the spirit of adventure within you in order to travels around to different places and scour different regions for landscape opportunity.
It is tough to firstly identify the right spots, you may have to explore for days before you find an idyllic panoramic landscape to shoot. You then have to wait for the right light conditions while braving the weather and the rough living conditions. In terms of equipment, landscape photographers need to go in for a variety of wide-angle lenses since this type of lens is capable of lending depth in the photograph. A wide-angle zoom lens is useful in this type of photography because of the range of focal lengths it can provide while fine-tuning a shot. But there is also the need for telephoto lenses for certain shot though not of the high focal length required by sports photographers. Landscape photographers usually go in for telephoto lenses with focal length less than 300mm (a telephoto lens has a focal length greater than 50mm, a wide angle lens is less than 50mm, and a standard lens has a focal length of 50mm).
Those who have made a career of photographing sporting events have a different style of operation to capture the high action of dramatic moments in a game. The length of the lens, the location of the photographer taking the shot and the need to limit blurring are the three critical aspects in sports photography.
Sports photographers use a telephoto lens. This type of lens magnifies the subject. The focal length to choose from in telephoto lenses varies from 60mm to 1000 mm. A lens with a high focal length can give you a wider visual area which is a necessity when you photograph field events. Sports photographers by and large prefer 35mm cameras and use focal lengths of 300-600mm especially for field events like soccer.
The location where photographers position themselves to take different shots is directly responsible for capturing the relevant high-points in a match. It also helps if you have a good knowledge of the sport. This ensures that you identify the right moments and are alert and ready when a memorable situation occurs during the sport. You can get the right shots if you are able to move around and use the right location in different points in a game. However, quite often the areas of movement are restricted for photographers and the best way to tide over this problem is to use a lens of focal length in the region of 600mm to enable shots of the far end of a court or field. Though a good location is usually described by the angle and distance from the court or field, the other aspect of a good location is also the play of light from your vantage point. Most photographers have the task of avoiding shadows caused by the quality of light. The intensity of color in a photograph is reduced in dull light conditions while bright sunlight can create shadows in certain angles.
To limit blurring and capture action during a special game moment, you need to have fast shutter speeds at your disposal. A 35mm camera that is generally favored in sports photography can provide the high shutter speed necessary for action shots. Besides shutter speed, the speed of the film also plays a role. Higher film speed enables higher shutter speeds. A film speed of 100 is inadequate in sports photography. You need a 400 and above speed film.
The autofocus mechanism in is also useful in sports photography especially when manual focus is difficult to achieve quickly in certain sports situations.
An interesting technique called panning is applied in capturing action shots. You have to avoid holding the camera still when you shoot action. A rule-of-thumb is to hold the camera steady but move it along with the action rather than attempting to hold still. This steady movement of the camera along the path of motion of the player; incredibly, has the effect of minimizing blur. On the other hand, you will get a blur if you hold your camera still while the action is taking place. This technique is actually based on sound scientific principles.
It should also be mentioned here that the art of sports photography actually goes beyond capturing action or high points in a game. The readers who view these photographs in newspapers and magazines want to see player expressions, the thrills, the disappointments, the concentration that players display is something that readers find captivating and it becomes a talking point. Readers also like to see crowd reactions and reactions of family members of the players in certain critical game situations. To cater to the public sentiment, a photographer has to also attempt to click these special poignant moments during a game by capturing reactions and facial expressions.