Whether professional or hobbyist, the art of wildlife photography is just that – the creation of works of art that capture the beauty of Mother Nature and all the critters she oversees.
However, nature/wildlife photography and landscape photography are two different forms of this artistic creation. When it comes to wildlife photography, the artist delves into capturing creatures while at work or play in their natural habitats. As many know, the most amazing shots have been caught on film of unforgettable moments; from a battle of wills and antlers to a mother taking care of her young. Whether at rest or in motion, wildlife photographers have followed in the footsteps of giants in the field and continue to give people the most magnificent photos ever seen.
But this is no easy task, to say the least. Many hobbyists choose to practice landscape photography, seeing as that the subtle and intricate techniques of wildlife photography can be a bit too much for someone who wants nothing more than a casual, calm day. But for those who are extremely interested in learning the various skills, wildlife photography can be one of the most interesting and captivating outdoor hobbies in the world. After all, this is one way of not only communing with the stunning surroundings and habitats, but also capturing that split second of true, natural life that can be kept for generations.
When it comes to wildlife photography, a fast shutter speed is needed at times, which means wide apertures are utilized by the photographer. This talent can freeze the creature’s motion while blurring the background so that it is the flight of the eagle or the deer racing through the woods that takes center stage. Subjects for the devoted wildlife photographer are usually also shot with long telephoto lenses from a great distance; hiding in the habitat, many wildlife photographers use blinds or camouflage to erase themselves from the creature’s sight, set up their tripods and then capture that one unforgettable moment.
When moving away from actual wildlife and more into the natural surroundings, there are many who use close-up photography to get common macro subjects, as well as to snap the image of a tree, stone, or leaf – abstract portraits that call out to many viewers who see something else embedded in the natural order of things.
Ansel Adams is one name everyone can remember when it comes to his stunning black-and-white photos of nature. Adams’ work is amazing, to say the least, and color was never needed because of the talent Adams had for capturing the ‘real’ life scene using only shadows and light. From wildlife to landscapes, his works are still sought by many collectors.
A challenge is what wildlife photography is all about. Whether learning the lenses, shutter speeds, the use of color film, etc. – every professional must have all of the technical skills in order to truly create a piece of art. However, they also need common sense when it comes to capturing wild animals on film; after all, there are many species that photographers certainly can not approach, so understanding a creature’s behavior is most definitely number one on the list of ‘need to know’ items.
Yet another ‘big name’ when it comes to photography – National Geographic – has a stunning website as well as their long beloved magazine, that offers one and all photographic tips when heading out into nature.
One such tip is something that Ansel Adams definitely understood. An overcast day is a great day for shadows and light. And if you are using color, the theory remains the same; an overcast day can make for increased color saturation in the images. This also leads into texture; a photographer uses light as well as various angles in order to change the texture of the habitat, itself – allowing for far more interesting shots that others perhaps missed when they walked through the exact same area.
The most important of all tips, of course, is the fact that no matter what animal, bird, or plant you are trying to capture, manmade items should rarely be a part of the print. A natural background is truly necessary for a wildlife photograph, so that nothing – no old, rusted cars, or wires, or fences take away from the true ‘star’ of the photograph.
We live in a beautiful world with unknown locales that are just waiting for you to discover, so have that camera ready. Because when you do find them, you will most definitely want to capture that beauty and keep it for all time.