I really need to play around with this Nikon DSLR before I head out in less than a week to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
Wildlife will of course be my #1 priority, I’ll attempt landscape when I can too.
Here are a few tips I have learned from the past 2 years practicing wildlife photography:
1. Always find something to stabilize your camera.
I often roll up my window half way in order to rest my camera on the pane. I also often use a tripod, but sometimes it doesn’t work out, since some wildlife comes right up to the road, and I don’t want to take my chances out of the car.
My father also gave me a pad to help rest my camera on the window of my car.
2. Stay cool, calm and patient if the wildlife is near (just stay cool and calm all the time anyway!)
I’ve seen a few crazy tourists run up to wildlife and, thankfully, it has only ever ended up with the wildlife being chased off. It’s a bit disturbing and frustrating what tourists will do to get close to dangerous and unpredictable wildlife for a quick picture.
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
A funny experience happened as about 30 people were happily shooting photographs of a beaver in Yellowstone. And as they were all focused in the beaver, I was observing the surrounding area, when – ta daaaa – a white wolf popped out of the bushes and proceeded to swim across the river, where the beaver was posing, perhaps 8 feet away. I think I was the victorious one, capturing the wolf’s dip and then able to grab a few beaver photos after.
Plus – you should always make sure you are safe from sneaky animals. Those bison are so huge, yet so quiet when they saunter over toward your car…
4. RESPECT the wildlife!
It’s hard not to have an impact on the behaviour of an animal close to the road. Just make sure you stay out of the way, don’t startle it, and listen to the park rangers if they are around. Don’t be an idiot and feed them. I’ve seen that too many times in the very short months I have been photographing.
5. Time it right!
The beloved golden light that appears with the sunrise and sunset. The best time to photograph anything! And also the best time to spot wildlife, as most of these guys love resting in the day.
Teton’s at sunrise
Just can’t wait to get up at 4:30am every morning this summer, sans coffee. NOT!
6. Practice, practice, practice!
Check out these two photos of a grizzly bear in Kananaskis, Alberta. The first one was taken 2 summers ago, the second was from last summer. (not the same bear, but same lighting and location).
I hope this means that my grizzly shots will be 3D this summer! hah.
With all I have picked up over the few months I’ve been photographing wildlife, I still have a long way to go. And I still need a great camera!