For those people who love the outdoors and nature, wildlife photography can be a great way to spend a weekend.  Who could think of anything better than getting away from all the stress of work by going out into the wild and photographing nature in the raw?

A good wildlife photograph doesn’t come easy though.  You have to be prepared for long days, inclement weather, and being very, very quiet and still.

Wildlife such as deer or kangaroos can be very skittish and run at the first sign of danger.  That means being ultra quiet and slow.  Standing downwind of your intended target will also help as they won’t be able to smell you.

Essentials will include: Your camera, A tele-zoom lens (70-200, 70-300, or longer), proper clothing for the expected weather, and plastic bags to keep your camera gear dry in case of rain.

A tripod isn’t necessary when shooting wildlife as most shots can’t be set up in time, a monopod will help though.  A monopod is essentially a tripod but with only one leg.  Sports photographers use them to steady their cameras while shooting their chosen event.  A monopod doesn’t need the set-up time a tripod does and is good for stabilizing your camera in low light situations such as in a forest where the tree canopy shades the ground.  An alternative to this is to use a faster shutter speed (remember to adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly) or rest your camera on a stump or anything you can find available.

Some simple tips to getting a good shot are:

1. Be patient.  Stop and be very quiet, let the animal come to you.

2. Get yourself a good tele-zoom lens and zoom in close.  This way you don’t have to get up too close to the animal which could scare it away.

3. Take as many photos as you can, while you can.  You can always review/delete them later when the animal has run off.

4. Get the eyes in focus.  This is important.

5. Fill the frame with your subject.  Unless the background has particular interest and can add to the shot, fill the frame with your subject.

6. Use a small enough aperture to get the animal in focus but large enough to give the background a nice blur. (f6.3 – f11 will usually give you a nice blur effect).

Alright then, what are you waiting for.  Get out there and start snapping!

Happy Shooting!

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