Tips for Landscape and Wildlife Photography
I started out in photography like most of us do – taking pictures of my children and photos on vacation. I quickly discovered that I love nature and landscapes and decided to focus on that. I shoot with a Nikon D600 full frame camera and have a variety of Nikon lenses. I use very few prime lenses – I like to be able to have the range to capture things that are close as well as further away.
Usually when traveling, I would prefer to travel as light as possible. But, my camera gear tends to go the way of my suitcase… the things I need - and all of the things I bring “just in case”. My absolutes are my wide angle lens, my telephoto lens and my midrange lens. On top of that, I usually always bring my 50mm and my macro lens.
One of my most recent trips, I flew into Salt Lake City and headed north of town to go to a few wildlife areas, but the main trip was to Moab to visit the parks in that area. When shooting wildlife, a telephoto lens is always the way to go. Either for safety reasons or not to scare the animal off, you’re going to want to be able to shoot from further away.
The above bison fairly close to the road. As you can guess, this is not an animal you want to get very close to! For wildlife, my favorite lens is my 80-400mm. I have great range and I don’t have to be very close to wildlife or birds to get a good shot of them. Sometimes you get closer than you plan, like with the big horn sheep. I could have used the zoom to get his full body, but instead I decided to zoom closer and just get his profile.
When doing landscape photography, your lens you choose will depend on your subject. The two I prefer to use are my wide angle lens (16-35mm) and my everyday lens (24-70mm). To determine the appropriate lens, I look at what I am planning to photograph and think about my composition.
For this shot, the wide angle lens was the way to go. I wanted to get as much as I could of the area. I found the dead tree and added it to my frame. For some shots, a wide angle either takes away the magnitude of your subject, such as large mountain ranges, or muddles your composition by adding too many unnecessary elements that end up being distracting.
One of the most important things is to be patient! Sometimes waiting a moment or two will change the sunlight on your subject or the animal may move to get a better angle. A matter of moments may change a good photo into a great photo!
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