Do you enjoy the wildlife around your home, but find it difficult to capture on film? Here are a few tricks we’ve learnt when photographing the animals roaming in our neck of the woods:
Shoot remotely Animals pay very little attention to a camera mounted on a sturdy tripod – as long as there’s no human crouched down behind it. If you have a camera that’s compatible with a remote control, consider using one. With a remote you can be inside, snapping away as the animals go about their business. (Be sure to switch off the camera’s beeps, clicks and flash.)
Get up close If remote shooting isn’t an option, you could use a zoom lens. But even at a distance you may still be in the animal’s territory and it may feel threatened. Approach slowly and stop regularly to avoid frightening it.
Consider light Shoot early in the morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t directly overhead. The other benefit of shooting at these times is that animals are more active.
Test your setup If the area you’re shooting in is soon to be populated with squirrels, hedgehogs, deer or badgers, you won’t have the freedom to waltz outside to adjust the camera’s exposure. Take some test shots before trying the real thing.
Know your subject You’ll be more likely to get the perfect shot if you study the habits of the creatures you want to photograph. Watch your back garden to find out when the wildlife is most active. Read up on how the animals you wish to photograph behave, to get a better idea of when and where to look for them.
Shoot in bursts To maximise your chance of getting the perfect shot, set your camera to continuous mode. Your best strategy for a great image is shoot, shoot, shoot.
Try video Alternatively, use a camcorder. Point it at a food source and press Record. Once you are done, scan through the footage to see if you’ve got something worth keeping.