Wildlife and Nature Photography Tips
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Safety on Safari
Have you considered the health and safety implications of your wildlife photography?
Whenenver you are out in the field interacting with wild animals, there are a variety of safety implications to consider - both for yourself and for your subject. In order to capture the images you are striving for it is worthwhile to consider these implications. There is no need for you to put yourself in unnecessary danger and similarly there is no need to put an animal under unnecessary stress. There are a variety of steps one can take in order to minimise the risk for all parties involved...
Gordon Fuller of Health and Safety experts RCES Ltd takes an expert view on safety during wildlife photography. Gordon recently joined me on safari in South Africa and offered his professional opinion on the subject to the health and safety industry in the UK - his article "Safety on Safari" will be published in the January 2011 edition of the IIRSM magazine.
RCES provides the widest variety of health and safety solutions - suitable for all aspects of your business. They operate in many countries worldwide and so if you are in need of training and professional expertise get in touch with them to help you develop and strengthen your safety practices.
A few things worth considering next time you and your camera find the time to get out in nature.
BE READY Prepare your camera settings for the conditions in advance of any action. You never know what will happen next so give yourself the best chance of capturing the shot!
BE PATIENT If you’ve been waiting for long periods without much action hold out for longer. I’ve seen people waiting in hides for 10 minutes and then moving on feeling that it wasn’t worth the wait. Get comfortable and take hours – it will be worth it!
BE FAMILIAR WITH YOUR DESTINATION Do your research and set your goals. If you know what you want, even if it’s very general, it will help you when deciding on good locations for your photography. Also, remember to chat with people who are familiar with an area, they will surely be able to offer good advice.
DON’T CHASE THE GAME In reserves where driving is the norm, try to find a hide or a good location to park and wait for the action to come to you. When the animals are comfortable with your presence or don’t know you’re there, you will get great natural behaviour shots.
BE OPEN MINDED If you appreciate and develop an understanding of nature in general you will start to spot opportunities in unlikely places, fuelling your potential and giving great practice and experience.
GET CREATIVE Try new things. You might find that you get a lot of lousy shots, but an occasional gem will make it worthwhile. It’s how we progress and come up with unique styles and maybe even those winning shots!
TRAVEL WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE It is really important, if you plan to spend extended periods waiting, that everyone you are with has similar intentions. People may lose patience quickly and someone will have to compromise – most likely you.
BE CRITICAL You will always be your own harshest critic – it’s a good thing! Review your images think about what you did and how you might improve them if you could have the opportunity again. I look back at many early images that were great at the time and I can see the improvement now; and will no doubt look back at my current images and think the same again.
QUALITY Shoot the highest quality you are able and RAW if your camera allows. RAW will take the most memory space per shot, but also gives high quality and flexibility in post processing. If it means buying extra memory cards then do it. It is so disappointing to take a great image and then find your quality setting was too low for commercial purposes.
ENJOY YOURSELF You won’t get every shot. So relax, just enjoy the experience and watching the animals doing their thing. Put in the time and great opportunities will keep on coming.
Some of these tips may seem quite intuitive, but you would be surprised at the types of things you don’t consider when it comes to maximising your photography experience. I hope these tips prove useful the next time you are out in the field…