Saturday, December 24, 2005

How do you get good photos of wildlife?
First off, you have to go where they are, secondly, you have to be quick, and third, you take a lot of photos of rear ends! Wildife is always running away from you. I bet I have 7000 photos of them running the other way!

Just by chance, I got this photo of a doe mule deer. We were coming home from Garnet, Mt, when we saw a flash of something in the forest that suggested "deer". I had the camera ready, it was turned on and working. I use a 300 mm lense. To keep the camera ready, I push the click button half way, to focus every once in a while or it turns itself off to save my battery. I learned that trick out of necessity, you don't have time, when you want a wildlife photo, to wait for the camera to turn on.

When you get that first glimpse of wildlife and you're riding in your truck, have your driver slam on the brakes and stop fast. Have your window open. Begin shooting before the truck stops, hoping you'll get something good. You can toss them later if they don't turn out. Keep shooting until the wildife is out of sight or so far away, the lense won't reach them anymore.

You might have 20 or 30 photos if you're lucky. Now take the photos home and look at them, maybe one or two of them will be a good enough photo, you can use it for reference! If you're really lucky, you might have one you can use for gifts, sell, or hang on your own wall....

The shot I posted here of this doe, was a luck shot. All my wildlife shots are luck shots! I might as well admit it. I don't have the $7000 lenses, a photography degree or any training. I do have some what of an eye for a good picture.

The other thing about getting photos of wildlife. You have to be out there trying. You have to go where they are. Robert is used to my ways. He knows when we spot wildlife, I might jump out of the truck and take off after them. He knows he might wait for an hour in the truck for me to return. Who knows how far I might go or what I might find? So my photos are not "my" photos, they're "our" photos. He's as much a part of this as I am!

When I was climbing the hill with the mountain sheep, (I'll post some of those photos one of these days!) I was shooting photos as I was climbing, I slipped and rolled down the hill. I'm kind of chubby so I roll good. The rocks were covered with melting snow and ice. I tucked the camera into my stomach and tried to roll myself around it until I came to a stop. I didn't get hurt and neither did the camera and I got shots of a lifetime! When I want to do a painting of a mountain sheep, I have a couple hundred photos to choose from.

I think, for shooting photos of wildlife, you have to have at least a 300 mm lense. I don't know anything about my lense other than that. The guy at the camera shop in Great Falls, tried to explain how some lenses are faster than others and how to keep pictures from blurring. Maybe someday, I'll learn those things but I'm not good at any of that stuff right now. I got lucky when I bought my camera. I bought it from Sam at Sam's Camera Shop in Kalispell, Mt. He isn't in business any more but he should be, he was good at what he did. When I bought the camera, he asked me what I specifically wanted to do with it. That's been crucial to my happiness with this camera and this lense. It's doing what I wanted it to do. It's taking reference shots of animals and wildlife and getting me some photos I didn't know I could take!

If you have a yen for photography, don't be afraid to get a camera and get out there and try it! The new digital cameras are great and the photos you take, provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Donna