Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photographing Animals

          Patience is probably the number one requirement in animal photography, although, pure luck does play a part. Even with infinite patience and luck photographing animals has some special requirements. By applying a few simple methods (the ones professional photographers use) and by understanding your camera’s full potential you should be able to capture the essence of the animal on film.

          First, study animal pictures you like in magazines and on TV. Analyze the components: the background is usually uncluttered and in contrasting color to the subject; the angle of the shot is almost always at or below the animal’s eye level; the action is interesting, but typical of that animal.

          As an animal lover, you already know that animals are not very predictable, and that their actions and reactions are usually very fast. Therefore, you need to be ready to shoot when they are doing something worth recording on film. Knowing that, you will need only a camera with full battery power and a good working knowledge of it.

          A camera which permits you to change focus quickly while you shoot several pictures in fast sequence is the best to use. Make the camera controls work for you. The closer you are to the animal, the more precise your focus must be. Use aperture control to blur out a disagreeable or confusing background. To compensate for both your own and animal's movement use a relatively fast shutter speed.

          Lighting for outdoor shooting, the light on a cloudy-bright day or the open shade on a sunny day is usually best to use.

* Patience, patience, patience.
* A thorough knowledge of the aniaml's habits.
* A discerning eye for a well-composed picture--developed by looking at pictures you like and really seeing what has made the good.
* A fast trigger finger--to shoot and shoot and shoot a series of actions and reactions. Out of a roll of 36 photos, one or two may be winners. If so, you’re batting about the same as most professional animal photographers.
* A complete understanding of your camera and the film you have in it. Read these instructions accompanying your camera and each package of film. Together, they are your photographic guide.
* An understanding of how to use your camera’s controls to create the kind of picture you’ve composed in your mind’s eye.

Good luck and happy shooting.

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