A few helpful tips on how to start photographing nature
Spring is just around the corner …I invite you to go out there, take your camera and get inspired!
1. Study nature - The most important tool at our disposal is not the camera, but the knowledge of the object being photographed - in our case, nature. By understanding animals and behaviours which they exhibit, along with solid information about the best places to watch them and the best time of the day to do so, you are sure to have the best results. A photo of a bird on a branch is something you can take quite easily, once you understand the technique. However, the photo of an animal’s behaviour such as eating, mating, territorial battles and extravagant appearances is something that adds a layer of interest in normal photography. In order for you to capture those moments, you need to get yourself familiar with the animal you are looking to photograph, so you will know what to expect from it and adjust accordingly.
2. Get up early in the morning - sunrise is one of those precious times wasted on sleep :) In the morning we are exposed to the the animal world; from breakfast with fresh fish to snacks of seeds and worms. An absolute added bonus is the low angle of the sun- Just be sure to keep it behind you, to enjoy the amazing lighting. At noon, exactly for that reason, we should try to avoid taking photos due to difficult and non flattering lighting.
3. High quality lens - as our lenses have a bigger focal length (zoom), which will enable us to grasp a little more distance from the subject and display an image in which the animal feels more comfortable it will allow us to take good pictures of animals which are more shy and afraid of strangers, let it be humans or other animals. Thus, along with what clause 4 will describe, we can shoot amazing photos of birds with a compact camera with a X12 zoom. Recommended Nature lenses are Canon 100-400 L, Canon or Nikon 300mm f / 4 with extenders (x1.4 or X1.7 Nikon) with which you can certainly start without having to mortgage your house. Of course there are much better lenses and more expensive ones like the great Nikon 200-400 mm and the canon and Nikon 500mm f / 4 but they cost a lot more.
4. Use camouflage - When I say camouflage, many of you might think straightaway about ambushes of the royal army or hunting, but that is not what I mean. Camouflage tent can be simple & quite cheep, it can also mean sitting in a car with the window open and it could be lying on a mattress with a camouflage net over us. The main thing is that the animal will not see the shape of a human being, and we are as one with our surroundings as possible.
Camouflage allows us to watch animals very closely without them having to change their behaviour. Pay attention to the photograph of raptors and mammals, many times we will have to invest more in camouflage and also pay attention to the direction of the wind location for the purpose of avoiding exposing our scent. Of course along with camouflage, also important is to obtain patience - animals will not always appear where/when we want them to appear and sometimes you will go back home without any images and that won't necessarily be a bad day.
5. Adding Enhancements - if we shoot birds, we can place a branch or a stick for them so it would be comfortable for them to stand in front of our tent camouflage. "Why the bird will sit on the stick?" You ask? The answer is simple - "Why not?!". Many times when we'll place a proper stick which suits the bird's needs, it will come and stand on it while we can take pictures without interruption.
6. Macro shooting - A lot of compact cameras, almost all of them in fact, are able to shoot macro. Get out there and try to photograph flowers, flies and other insects. Very quickly you will understand that the small World (to us) is actually a huge place with an immense range of different types of flies, bees, butterflies and other insects. Although from afar it can look a bit ugly, when approaching closer you will discover a lot of new details and suddenly they will look beautiful!
7. Share your photos - You went out and you've just taken amazing photos? Do not bury them on the hard drive of your computer, but upload them to the network; there are tons of options, from free galleries, forums or Facebook, friends and family. Show your results, take criticism, learn and get better- improve your techniques, learn & appreciate the feedback
8. Respect nature - Please. First, it is important to understand: Nature is not there for us; We are there for nature, as guests. Respect where you are and don’t hurt the animals you are trying to capture on camera, don’t destroy their habitat and don’t force them into your photo. We are here to capture reality, not create one for our photo.
Through understanding and applying these tips, you can start taking photographs of your own and not just sit at home watching other people's photographs. Nature photography can be one of a photographers favourite things to do! The satisfaction and pleasure are enormous. They are for me.