Part of being a wildlife photographer, besides patience, is discipline. Actually, patience and discipline go hand-in-hand. This article will provide you with one simple tip to immediately improve your wildlife photography.
The tip, light. For the most part I use natural light for photographing wildlife. Occasionally I’ll use a flash with my better beamer. There are those that believe that flash shouldn’t be used for wildlife photography, while others have no problem with it. I understand both sides to this argument and fall somewhere in-between. But this article isn’t about do or don’t use flash, it’s about getting better wildlife images.
I believe that for the most part we all prefer natural light. When the light is just right, our raw images just pop. When our raw images pop we can do great things with them in Lightroom and Photoshop. What I’m saying is that we don’t have to move a lot of sliders to get to the final image in our post processing.
This comes back to the discipline spoken of in the opening sentence. It’s hard to go out at noon on bright sunny days and get great images. The lights not right, the shadows too harsh, and for the most part wildlife isn’t active. So, you should plan to get up early or go out later in the day. There’s a reason it’s called the golden hour.
Good light not only allows you to get better images, but also sharper images in most cases. Nearly all of my sharpest images have been captured in really good light. As your AF works off contrast, the good light can greatly enhance this contrast allowing for super sharp images.
Another issue with trying to shoot during the middle of the day is heat shimmer. Heat shimmer can happen anytime of the year, not just on hot days. Heat shimmer can cause your images to appear out of focus. Don’t know what heat shimmer is? Think about a scene in a movie where it’s in the desert or on a highway. You see the subject but the heat rising causes the scene to be wavy, like a mirage. That’s heat shimmer.
The middle of the day is the worst time for heat shimmer. The sun has risen and is high in the sky heating up the ground. This heat radiates and wah-lah, bad image. The mornings and late afternoon light has the sun at an angle not directly hitting the surface, so the surface can cool reducing heat shimmer.
There’s a reason it’s called photography. Photography was created from the Greek words meaning drawing with light. As this is the true meaning of the word, it only makes sense that the better the light the better drawing.
2-Day Private Wildlife Photography Workshops
You can attend my 2-Day Private Wildlife Photography Workshop in Fort Smith. These workshops are ideal for the beginner to advanced wildlife photographer. It’s a mix of classroom and field work culminating with editing images using Lightroom and Photoshop. This is one-on-one instruction which is not rushed. You may also bring a friend and split the cost. Registration is $295, add $150 if you will bring a friend. You’ll learn my camera modes, settings, fundamentals, techniques and more during the two days. We have a lot of fun and you’ll leave able to capture better wildlife images. For more information, touch the Learn More button below.Learn More