Creating a beautiful image of an elusive creature, whether it’s a bird, whale, coyote, or other wild animal, is an exciting challenge for all nature photographers. Wildlife photography requires preparation and practice, since unlike the controlled environments common in zoos and farms, wildlife is fleeting and unpredictable.
Since most opportunities last for just a few short seconds, there is little room for error when the subject finally appears. Equipped with these proven tips and techniques below, though, you can relieve yourself of bad experiences through photos you are proud to call your own.
1) Choose the Right Shutter
People often ask, “what is the correct shutter speed?” The surprising truth is that there is no single right or wrong answer. Ultimately, the ‘correct’ setting depends on how fast your subject is moving and what you are trying to achieve.
You can choose to either freeze a subject or reveal its motion. Automatic options like “sports mode” are unpredictable at best, typically serving up an array of blurry images.
Instead of leaving this critical decision to the camera, set it yourself. To freeze most wildlife, you will need to be around 1/500 or 1/1000. If the animal is largely stationary, 1/250 will be sufficient.