Saturday Fare

Tips for Wildlife Photography -II

Aim towards the light

When working in strong light, I shoot at extreme angles for dramatic effect. For this shot of a polar bear (see above), I waited until the setting sun was low enough for the light to be warm and colourful, but still high enough for the light to be much brighter than the shadows, resulting in a significant amount of contrast. I aimed my camera towards the light, creating strong backlighting. I intentionally underexposed the image to show the highlights but allowed everything else to fall into deep shadow, revealing only the colourful rim lighting around the edge of the animal. The outline is instantly recognizable.

Work with flash

…One evening, a large troop of geladas came down to a dramatic wilderness gorge, getting ready to climb down the cliffs to their nighttime roost. I took many pictures of cooperative geladas poised on the edge of the cliff overlooking the gorge, using fill flash at low power (-2 or -3 flash compensation) to gently illuminate the animals against the darkening landscape under a dramatic twilight sky. I have found that the combination of creative exposure and supplemental light can yield moody and expressive wildlife pictures…

Illuminate the subject

One evening, while photographing lions in Kenya, I found a male lion resting under stormy skies. I chose a dark exposure (-3 exposure compensation) to capture the gloominess of the twilight sky, while allowing the landscape to fall into shadow. I used flash to selectively illuminate the lion in the grass…
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