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Successful wildlife photography depends on precise focusing, and uses techniques from other genres to bag sharp shots
Wildlife photography has many similarities to both portraiture and sport photography, and there is a lot of cross-over in their respective focusing techniques. Like portraits, most wildlife images tend be taken at wide apertures using a mid to long telephoto lens. The use of a wide aperture has the effect of blurring out the background in a very similar way to when shooting people, but the result is even more pronounced because of the longer lens. In addition, a wide aperture enables a fast shutter speed to be set, which helps to eliminate blur caused by both camera shake and subject movement, something which isn’t really a factor when you’re shooting portraits.
Point of view is a consideration for wildlife photography, as this has an impact on background and foreground blur when using long focal length lenses with their very narrow angle of view. Positioning the camera closer to the ground will accentuate the bokeh effect because the background will become further away from the subject, and so more out of focus. Similarly, the foreground will be brought closer and thrown out of focus, creating two ‘layers’ of attractive bokeh at the top and bottom of the picture, with the subject in sharp focus between them.
Long lenses are heavy, so some sort of support is usually essential. If using a tripod, use a ball head, or better still a gimbal head, to maximise freedom