Photographing Wildlife: Strategies and Techniques

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Outdoor shooters generally love photographing wildlife. In this video, outdoor photographer, Adam Barker, hikes into a snow-packed canyon in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and shows you tips on photographing wildlife.

Adam makes a list of what he calls Wildlife Essentials: a long telephoto lens, a sturdy tripod, and the camera set to shoot in a shallow aperture. By way of example, he captures a moose in the snow through a 420mm focal and an f-stop of f/4. You will learn that your choice of shallow apertures will depend on whether the animal is in profile or straight on, and how to balance the light between the dark body of the moose and the white aspen trees.

Natural backlighting can work well with wildlife. It separates the subject out from the trees and backgrounds. You should also look for color, in this case, branches with yellow leaves that add to the brown moose and white aspens. If you come across a panoramic, backlighted background, you might want to shoot a wide angle image for depth and beauty. You will also want to quickly fire off exposures in order to capture that one keeper suitable for framing.

Photographing wildlife requires continually moving positions without disturbing the animals.
Adam adds an extender to his telephoto lens in order to capture closer images of the moose. This allows him to frame the head of the moose between two, soft-focus trees, creating a dramatic image. He changes vantage points several times and shoots in both horizontal and vertical formats, giving him a variety of choices for the final keeper. He explains, “You want to train your eye to anticipate the animal’s movements and quickly place the animal in the frame.”

Go into the aspen grove in Utah’s mountains with pro shooter, Adam Barker, for tips and techniques on photographing wildlife.

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