Go wild in your lo­cal park

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Time it right

Head down to your lo­cal park to find th­ese crit­ters. Our friend Becky knew that the squir­rels would be mak­ing their stash dur­ing the au­tumn so this makes it the ideal time to take photos of them. Go when it’s dry or wet, as you can cre­ate dif­fer­ent emo­tions in dif­fer­ent weather.

2 Go long

A com­mon mis­take is to use a stan­dard or wide-an­gle lens with­out pay­ing at­ten­tion to the back­ground. The eas­i­est way to get a nice, clean back­ground is to just throw it out of fo­cus with a tele­photo lens set to a wide aper­ture and zoomed in as far as you can go.

3 Get down low

Choose a sim­ple back­drop not mas­sively dif­fer­ent in ex­po­sure value from your sub­ject. Ide­ally, you want the back­ground slightly darker, but as long as it isn’t mas­sively brighter than the squir­rel this shot will still look great. Get your lens as close to the ground as pos­si­ble.

4 Sup­port your Nikon

Don’t break your wrists try­ing to hold that long lens a few inches off the ground; throw a bean bag or rolled-up blan­ket un­der­neath it to take the weight off. Bean­bags also help you bal­ance your Nikon on car doors – great for sa­fari parks. Strapped for cash? Sew one your­self.

5 Open wide

In aper­ture-pri­or­ity mode, set the widest aper­ture your lens al­lows and your Nikon will change the shut­ter speed as the sun goes in and out. Choose an ISO of 600 or more to give you a fast shut­ter. If you find you’re over­ex­pos­ing, even on the fastest shut­ter speed, turn the ISO down.

6 Ad­just as needed

If the sun comes out, use neg­a­tive ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion to un­der­ex­pose the im­age slightly. It avoids in­ac­cu­rate me­ter­ing in scenes with bright high­lights and dark shad­ows. Di­rect sun can work, but it needs to be low in the sky and will look best if back­light­ing the an­i­mal.

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