How to Find Good Subjects for Wildlife Photography
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How to Find Good Subjects for Wildlife Photography

Discovering the animals that you really want to {photograph} is the alpha and omega of wildlife images. You possibly can write a complete ebook on this matter, and it wouldn’t be skinny in any respect. In truth, many such books have been written, particularly for birders making an attempt to discover totally different species!

So, how do you discover good topics for wildlife images? I’ll reply that query as we speak. By the way in which, have you learnt what all of the images used on this article have in widespread? You’ll find the reply on the finish!

Rainbow Lorikeet_Australia
NIKON D500 + 400mm f/2.8 @ 400mm, ISO 900, 1/1250, f/2.8

Do the Analysis

The extra you understand about your topic, the extra profitable you can be in photographing it. It’s not a coincidence that many profitable wildlife photographers are biologists. However even when you work in IT, or when you’re a dentist or automotive mechanic, there may be nothing stopping you. Info has by no means been extra accessible. If there’s a species you need to {photograph}, spend the time to analysis it first!

As an example, many birds are solely energetic at sure occasions of day and sure seasons of the year. Migration patterns imply that totally different species will take up residence in an space as time passes. Even when you attain the suitable place on the proper time, you want some familiarity with the animal’s conduct so as to not scare it away, and to get well-timed pictures.

Analysis is the important thing. In the event you present up at a preferred wildlife location hoping that good images will fall into your lap, you’ll usually return empty-handed – or all of your topics will probably be small specks that require extreme cropping at your laptop.

Common Adder_Czech Rep
NIKON D780 + 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E @ 15mm, ISO 1250, 1/60, f/9.0

Begin with Native Subjects

Talking of analysis, quite a lot of wildlife photographers overlook to analysis their native space before everything. It’s fairly attainable that you just reside in a spot the place photographers from everywhere in the world flock to see sure wildlife, with out you even realizing it.

You don’t want to go to Yellowstone or the Amazon rainforest to see exceptional animals. As an alternative, strive to see your native environment via the eyes of a international photographer. Bear in mind, it’s not the animal that makes the {photograph}, it’s the photographer. Even when you (like me) are drawn to distant lands, try the native choices first.

Common Toad_Czech Republic
NIKON D500 @ 105mm, ISO 800, 1/400, f/8.0

Don’t Ignore City Areas and Artifical Parks

I’ve posted various interviews with wildlife photographers who work in city areas and artifical environments, like Tomas Grim and Igor Mikula. Many photographers are too fast to dismiss city wildlife images as “not wild,” however they’re forgetting that the animal remains to be wild even when the setting will not be.

Urban wildlife
Taking pictures within the city setting of the Australian countryside. NIKON D810 + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR @ 200mm, ISO 320, 1/640, f/3.5

So, look for animals in city locations and take a look at to seize them in an attention-grabbing context. City animals are far much less shy than their rural cousins, and this may be taken benefit of. Not solely is there often no want to camouflage your self, however you may also use a a lot shorter lens and compose your images at a slower tempo.

Ibis in food corner
NIKON D810 + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED @ 56mm, ISO 4000, 1/320, f/4.0

Alongside related traces, a close-by metropolis park or botanical backyard is a perfect place not simply to hone your expertise, however to take genuinely good wildlife images. Particularly if the park features a physique of water – such locations are an excellent playground for the wildlife photographer

An vital benefit of native parks is that they’re full of individuals, whose presence erodes the shyness of the native animals. From a photographer’s standpoint, an animal might even behave extra “naturally” in artifical parks, as a result of they don’t change their conduct upon noticing your presence. I’ve discovered stunning fowl species in native parks – equivalent to nuthatches, woodpeckers, and even owls – that you just actually don’t want to journey 1000’s of miles to see.

Good Sources of Info

In the event you do select to search additional afield, it’s finest to put together your self with some good sources of knowledge.

The 1st step is a map – quite simple however mandatory. I just like the offline map function of an app referred to as and one other referred to as Google Maps additionally allows you to obtain offline maps, although they often take up more room on a telephone. All of those instruments permit you to navigate offline in no matter nation you’re visiting. I take advantage of them to pinpoint appropriate places primarily based upon my analysis beforehand.

Eurasian Coot_Czech Rep
NIKON D500 + 400mm f/2.8 @ 400mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f/3.2

To start out my analysis, I’ll usually attain towards a printed ebook. The primary supply of knowledge is a basic discipline information to an space – with this, you’re going to get an concept of the terrain and key species in an space. A particular information I like is the Important Bird Areas book series from BirdLife Worldwide.

For extra intensive data, all of the identified fowl species are offered in 17 large encyclopedias from Lynx Nature Books, they usually have a separate set for mammals. Although the costs are removed from low-cost! It’s your decision to choose their abbreviated ebook as an alternative, All the Birds of the World, which has illustrations + a QR code for each fowl, so you’ll be able to learn extra data on a separate eBird webpage.

Talking of which, essentially the most up-to-date supply of knowledge is the web itself. A digital (and cheaper) various to Lynx Nature Books, with all identified fowl species, is from Birds of the World. Different websites I like are eBird (in fact), Cloud Birders, Surfbirds, Fat Birder, and Birdguides. I principally {photograph} birds, however for different animals, iNaturalist is a superb possibility that may level you to good hotspots.

Crimson Rosella_Australia
NIKON D500 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 5000, 1/640, f/3.2

Specifically, eBird might be essentially the most beneficial supply of knowledge for me. It offers you recommendations on particular places, tells you what time of year you’re most probably to see a key species, and the way plentiful it’s. There actually is a wealth of knowledge on every species, together with images, movies, maps, and even fowl calls, plus journey stories from different birders.

My different most-used app is Cornell Lab’s Merlin app. I take into account this a must have for fowl images. It covers most fowl species, together with maps and vocalizations. As well as, the app can establish fowl calls and birds from images fairly reliably. So when you’ve heard or photographed one thing you’ll be able to’t establish, Merlin can most likely assist. A minimum of for European and North American birds, the app works surprisingly effectively. Simply document the track along with your telephone, or take an image of your camera display screen, and also you’ll know what you’re coping with.

I do know there are additionally Fb teams and different teams for birders. Whereas these could be useful, watch out, and don’t share details about the precise location of endangered species. An excessive amount of consideration from photographers is the very last thing these animals want.

Australian Swamphen__Australia
NIKON D500 + 400mm f/2.8 @ 400mm, ISO 1400, 1/800, f/5.0


As you’ll be able to see, there are a lot of good methods to discover animals to {photograph} as a wildlife photographer. The secret is data – and that’s broadly obtainable as we speak. The sources that I linked on this article are the primary ones I take advantage of when looking out for animals within the discipline, however I’d love to hear you probably have different most popular sources of knowledge. Please let me know within the feedback!

NIKON D500 + 400mm f/2.8 @ 400mm, ISO 280, 1/500, f/4.0

And at last, the reply to the query I requested within the introduction to my wildlife images suggestions. All of the images on this article have been taken both in a metropolis/park, or close by of my mountain cabin in Czech Republic. You don’t want to go removed from residence to get good wildlife images!

#Find #Good #Subjects #Wildlife #Photography

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