Photography Monthly's tip week: Mastering wildlife photography, tip 4
As mentioned in yesterday’s tip about telephoto shooting, today we will be looking at the age-old technique of patience.
Patience can be hard to come by when you’ve been squatting in a field, being eaten alive by horseflies, or you’re sat freezing somewhere with your teeth chattering and fingers so numb you wonder if you can still press the shutter release.
Animals don’t do what you want. They won’t sit up and pose; they’re more likely to hide and be wary. The art of patience does involve sitting around, yawning and flicking through hundreds of your back photos while you wait.
The beauty of patience is that it pays off. Once the animal has become accustomed to your presence, and they decide you are not a threat, they will start to go about their daily business, allowing you to capture those all important shots.
Here are three little things to remember if you want your patience and persistence to pay off:
1. The 30 minute rule: Wildlife photographers quite often refer to the all important ’30 minute rule’ in their work. It’s the time that the wildlife will take to settle down once you have intruded, and feel safe to go about their daily business. You can help this along by ‘breaking the human outline’ by covering yourself in foliage, lying down to take the shot or using a hide.
2. Persistence, persistence: It’s easy to get one really great shot and think, ‘Yes! My job is done’ but it’s a good idea to persevere and keep shooting, and not just on the day. Try returning to the spot at different times during the year to capture different behaviour, for example, squirrels storing acorns for winter or a vixen with her cubs in spring.
3. Know your subject: It’s a good idea to really study and get to know your subject so that you can try and predict their movements. Once you’ve observed their daily routine and decided what you want your shot to portray you can set it up more easily and prepare for the action you know is coming.
Upload your shots to our gallery and show us your wildlife moments where patience and persistence paid off.
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