The wait­ing game

Pa­tience and care­ful plan­ning have en­abled Louise Gib­bon to cap­ture some mem­o­rable wildlife shots

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I took up wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy in 2009, when an RSPB na­ture re­serve opened near to where I live – and after a cou­ple of vis­its I bought my first cam­era!

One of my favourite birds to pho­to­graph is the os­prey, and I had the priv­i­lege of be­ing able to ob­serve and pho­to­graph them at close quarters last year, dur­ing a hol­i­day in the Scot­tish High­lands. It was a breathtaking mo­ment when I first saw one div­ing for – and catch­ing – a fish [1]! Another favourite sub­ject is the king­fisher, and I was de­lighted when I man­aged to cap­ture a ‘fish pass’ be­tween a male and fe­male as part of their court­ing rit­ual [2]. I en­joy shoot­ing wildlife of the four­legged va­ri­ety too, and I’ve been able to follow the ad­ven­tures of a cou­ple of fox fam­i­lies at the RSPB re­serve.

Re­search is im­por­tant when you’re pho­tograph­ing wildlife. For the best re­sults you need to study the be­hav­iour of your sub­jects in gen­eral, and to as­cer­tain the best time of year to cap­ture par­tic­u­lar events. Pa­tience is also key: I went out on a week­end shoot to cap­ture the king­fisher fish pass, and waited for around 16 hours be­fore fi­nally get­ting the shot. It was def­i­nitely worth it though.

Light con­di­tions are cru­cial in wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy, as long

One of the big­gest chal­lenges is com­pos­ing shots ef­fec­tively. Ide­ally you want a clear back­ground with no dis­trac­tions

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