Wildlife Basics and Beyond Course Description
Take your wildlife photography to a new level. Go well beyond the static portrait shots of wildlife by making them have impact, learn to capture the peak of action with any type of animal you come across and learn to look and study behavior. This course will have 9 topics with assignments for each to help you focus on getting better with each subject.
Subjects to be covered by lesson
1. Wildlife Portraits / Background / Eyes
What is the key to almost every portrait image? A clear and in focus eye if the subject comes close to filling the frame. Just as when you talk with a person you make eye contact, the same is true when looking at most wildlife images. Does the animal have a dark spot around a dark eye making it hard to see? Wait for a bit of highlight from the sun or a little pop of fill flash to the eye so that it can be seen.
Documenting a location goes beyond just taking photos of the animals that reside there. A good case in point is the area of Dutch Harbor, AK, where a large group of bald eagles reside. Why Dutch Harbor? It's one of the largest commercial fishing cities in the world by volume and the eagles know they have lots of chances for some free food. Besides the fishing, there is a lot of history to the area as it was one of the few that was bombed during World War II. Many remnants remain and the photo ops available help tell the full story about a visit to this location.
Spend at least two hours with a subject and capture as much different behavior as possible. The topic of research will be brought up and participants will have to do some research that would help them if they were to have the opportunity to photograph that subject.
3. Lighting / Special Techniques
Low light can even be used if you desire to try and get some abstract wildlife shots. The lower light will allow for longer shutter speeds and can lead to intentional blurring, not to be confused with not picking the proper shutter speed and getting an out of focus image.
4. Interaction / Babies / Subject Closeness
Images of baby animals are always well received. Protection of the baby will be stressed so that your presence does not make a predator aware of it. Ideas on what to look for in creating a good baby wildlife image will be discussed.
How close two animals are to each other either make a picture good or bad. This is mainly a lesson on composition and positioning of the subjects. Are they too far apart, is a backside of one animal sticking out behind the head of one in front? These and other subjects will be focused on.
5. Capture the Moment
Maybe the most you'll ever do with your photography is take it to a camera club for others to see. You know shots where an animal is doing something gets a better reaction than one just sitting there staring at the camera. Action may be as simple as an animal stepping into the water. The key is the timing and position of the animal.
6. Bird Activity
Flight is not the only activity birds take part in. Their hunt for food, bathing and preening, and time on the nest is a major part of their daily routine. While much of this could be considered capturing the peak moment of action, the opportunities abound when it comes to anticipating when and what will happen.