TNI Bureau: Photography is an ideal and affordable hobby even if people do not take it up as a profession. Wildlife photography is a wonderful pastime for outdoor enthusiasts. It is one of the more challenging forms of photography. Wildlife photography is a unique genre but in order to click great pictures of the fauna, one should not only have great photographic skills but a sense of adventure as well. Infact, one also requires a well developed survival skills especially in remote places. Most importantly, one has to be at the right place at the right time.
Wildlife photographers need good field craft skills i.e. knowledge of animal’s behaviour is of paramount importance in order to anticipate their actions. Some species also require stalking or use of hide for concealment.
Wildlife photography at a professional level is considered to be expensive because of the range of gears required to lens the wild. Special equipment such as macro lenses for insects, long focal length lenses for birds and underwater lenses for marine life. To do wildlife photography, Single lens Reflex (SLR) cameras are mandatory. A good camera should have the fundamental requirements such as a high frame rate, good predictive auto- focus system, ability to adjust exposure on the move. High frame rate camera helps in taking multiple exposures quickly.
Top professionals use cameras with frame rate of 8-10 frames per second (fps), while for amateurs 3-5 fps is good to start with. Good predictive auto system is a must for capturing moving subjects. It adjusts to keep the focus sharp. This system greatly improves the chances of “keepers” when shooting flying birds, cheetahs etc. Adjusting the exposure is a decisive moment in wildlife photography. One should be able to override the exposure settings in a hurry and a camera which does this is vital.
High quality Lenses are integral part of Wildlife photography. Special lenses such as Stabilized lenses would protect the lens from vibration and shocks. Primes are similar to zoom but provide better quality or similar quality at lower price. Teleconverters are devices which are attached between lens and body of the camera. It increases the effective focal length by a factor of 1.4 or 2. Mirror lenses use a different design compared to traditional lenses. They are cheap and light weight in design. On the flipside, they have a fixed aperture and images taken are sometimes out of focus.
According to experts, Tripods is the cheapest, best way to maximize the quality of camera gear. Even for shots at high shutter speeds, a tripod avoids the ruin to glasses by handholding. Tripod should be matched with sturdy ballhead – pan and tilt heads for wildlife photography. A good flash light unit is essential as it helps balance contrasts and adds a catchlight to subject’s eye.
All said and done, the best wild life photographer is one who understands his subjects, anticipates what it would be doing and is patient enough to spend hours waiting for the wild shot.