With today’s camera technology, it is too easy to get caught up in all the settings and buttons.
I see it all too often. We are out in the field, a great photographic opportunity presents itself, and then some people are struggling with settings and–you guessed it–they miss the shot.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is great and it has definitely changed the way we photograph wildlife and nature, but if you make the technology your focus, you will not create better images.
It is your artistic approach, your vision, which will allow you to take better images with the use of the wonderful technology available to us.
So, with that being said, let’s use technology to teach us something about the artistic side of wildlife photography.
Apart from running Photo-Africa, I also manage a safari lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. I recently started putting up camera traps around the waterhole and we have been getting the most amazing results.
I have no idea what the settings on these basic cameras are, but they take the most amazing photos, and all of this purely because something walked in front of it.
Here are a few of the images I have been able to get off the camera traps and a few lessons you can take from it to improve your own wildlife photography.
This image of a Spotted Eagle Owl shows how powerful an image can be when you place your subject in the right place. By sticking, more or less, to the rule of thirds, you make the owl the focal point of the image.
Whatever your wildlife subject, the goal is to get to their eye level or lower. Psychologically, an image just doesn’t feel right if the photographer is above the subject shooting down. Bottom line? Get down low!
Don’t be afraid to chop your subject off, BUT make sure it is intended. If you are going to chop your subject make sure it is close to, or on, one of the major joints. A definite chop, rather then a slight bit of the ear, can make for an interesting image of your subject moving into (or out of) the frame.
Don’t forget to shoot a couple of images that show your subjects in their natural environment. A scene like the one above shows the animals, what they are doing, and their environment, all in one shot.
You see? All of these images were taken by a small little camera trap. It did not worry about the settings. It pretty much just shot on ‘auto’ and created some great wildlife images.
Learn from these images, and when you are next out in the bush, try and look past the techie-stuff. Keep it in mind, but don’t let it cloud your mind!
Until next time, keep shooting!
Gerry van der Walt
Enter your results in our Bush Warriors Photo of the Day Contest. All you need to do is upload them to our Facebook group–click here! If you would like to see more Bush Warriors Wildlife Photography Workshops, click here.