Take Better Wildlife Photos by Shooting at Ground Level
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Take Better Wildlife Photos by Shooting at Ground Level

At first look, images could seem to be a mirrored image of actuality. Sure, the camera sensor faithfully captures photons from the scene that move via your lens. However which scene must you level at? It’s all as much as your interpretation. Or, to match the theme of this text, down to your interpretation.

yellow billed hornbill
NIKON D200 + 17-50mm f/2.8 @ 17mm, ISO 320, 1/800, f/9.0

When photographing wildlife, you typically have restricted management over whether or not the topic is above you, under you, to your left, or to your proper. Considerably fatalistically, it’s a must to take the scenario because it comes.

However you do have some leeway. Everyone knows how dramatically you’ll be able to have an effect on a scene by taking a couple of steps to the facet. That may be sufficient to make distracting components disappear and body your topic superbly.

Nikon D600_Sample 25
NIKON D600 + 400-800mm f/8 @ 800mm, ISO 200, 1/320, f/9.0

Whereas transferring the camera left and proper primarily adjustments the character of the background, altering the camera’s top has an much more dramatic impact. It fully adjustments the character of the topic, and of the story you’re telling.

What’s my default camera top? It’s eye degree – not my eyes, however the eyes of the animal (and even the particular person) that I’m photographing.


The relative top from which you shoot has a huge impact on numerous issues. Before everything, it impacts how massive we understand the animal to be within the picture. By taking pictures from beneath the topic, we make it look greater. By taking pictures from above, it appears smaller. That is particularly obvious with wide-angle lenses.

Common Toad_Czech Republic__LVA2098-NEF
NIKON Z 6 + 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 @ 15mm, ISO 4000, 1/200, f/18.0

However greater than that, an eye-level view lets your viewer look into the topic’s eyes from their perspective. It’s a technique to join along with your topic that may be tough to attain in any other case.

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

Then there’s the query of the background. If a small animal is strolling alongside the bottom, attempt to think about how the picture would look when you stood up straight and photographed it out of your top.

Most frequently, the end result wouldn’t be as pleasing. The background of your picture could be so near your topic that it’s going to stay primarily in focus. The picture will possible have extra distractions and lack some compositional respiration area. In fact, there are exceptions to each rule – but it surely’s not a typical recipe for achievement.

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

You’d be amazed at what number of instances I’ve seen homeowners of tremendous costly cameras thwart the potential of their gear by composing thoughtlessly. Typically, it takes so little – simply assembly your topic at its degree.

I all the time convey a mat with me for that reason. I sit down, slide within the tripod legs, unfold them out, and wait. If that’s not sufficient, take the camera off the tripod and place it instantly on the bottom.

Shooting Frog_Czech Republic__DSC3775-NEF
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S @ 70mm, ISO 640, 1/50, f/8.0

That is an exercise the place it’s useful to have a camera whose display screen can flip up, whether or not one of many newer DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. Nonetheless, for the total expertise, I are inclined to lie down and look via the viewfinder anyway… even within the mud or in a puddle.

Egyptian Goose_Czech Republic__LVP5621-NEF
NIKON Z 9 + AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR @ 500mm, ISO 560, 1/800, f/6.3

That doesn’t sound interesting? Effectively, look on the intense facet. What different inventive exercise helps you to you lie down all day lengthy? And consider the rewards! The compositions out of your topic’s eye degree might be well worth the discomfort.

NIKON D500 + Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR @ 420mm, ISO 1250, 1/1250, f/7.1

When photographing animals on water, the identical is true, however there may be an additional benefit. In case your lens is nearly touching the water and the floor is calm, you’ll be able to double the variety of animals within the picture by together with their reflections. Alternatively, if the wind is blowing and there are ripples on the floor, you will get stunning backgrounds and foregrounds with picturesque bokeh.

Eurasian Coot_Czech Republic__LVP0518-NEF
NIKON Z 9 + VR 200-500mm f/5.6E @ 700mm, ISO 64, 1/4000, f/8.0

I hope I’ve satisfied you that generally it’s higher to bend, sit, and even lie down when taking a photograph. Even a small change in your camera’s top could make a dramatic distinction within the high quality of your pictures. And while you’re at floor degree and you are taking a second to look away out of your camera, it’s generally refreshing to see the world from a unique perspective.

#Wildlife #Photos #Shooting #Ground #Level

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