Practice makes perfect.

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. 

From Amazon

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.

Much clearer!

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!

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Stormy Spring Days in Toronto

Yesterday was the first time this spring that I saw some great stormy cloud action here in Toronto.

I love me a great thunderstorm, and I love me a chance to practice with my new Nikon camera.

It’s taking a bit to get used to it, but here are a few shots from a gathering storm passing through downtown Toronto:

As the heavy rain storm socked into the area, unfortunately, the promise of some lightning and loud bang-crash-booms was quickly diminished.

Maybe another day.

Practice makes perfect, I hope!

I acquired a new camera a few weeks ago, and made the switch from Canon to Nikon.

It’s true that they are both great brands, but alas, this Nikon has been borrowed, so I can’t be picky and stick with the tried, tested and true Canon.

This summer, I am also embarking on a 2 month long trip (thank you teaching job!) to several national parks in the USA and Canada, then over to Vancouver.

My main mission?

Animal photography!

So to help me learn all about Nikon’s, I turned to an expert in this field – my boyfriend.

He took me out on the weekend to test out this Nikon while using his 70-200mm 2.8 lens, which he is also so graciously is letting me use all summer.

Our subject?

Trains! With a few animals here and there as we encountered them.

Here are three of my favorite practice shots from the weekend:

Craziest animal encounter – my dog Peabody!

The train! Only took 1 hour to get to our spot…