Take an in-yourface approach to wildlife photography
Take the in-your-face approach to wildlife photography by getting your camera up close with a wide lens, explains James Paterson
we’re used to seeing wildlife through the barrel of a telephoto lens, so why not take a different approach and try capturing animals with a wide angle? The altered field of view you get with a wide angle will give your photos an entirely different feel, as well as showing off more of the animal’s surroundings. By contrast, the narrow angle of a long zoom results in blurred backgrounds and compresses the perspective. So with a wide angle you can simultaneously create greater intimacy with the subject and make wildlife photos that are unlike anyone else’s. It’s also a fun challenge, both for your camera skills and patience.
Whether you’re shooting exotic animals around the world or ducks at the local pond, the technique for this remains the same. The main problem we have to overcome here is that the animal needs to be rather close to the lens. At focal lengths of 18mm or 24mm, subjects will look tiny in the frame even at one metre away, particularly the smaller critters. So, we need to be able to entice the animals up to the camera – ideally nose-to-lens.
Unless they’re comfortable around humans, this means we need to hide away and fire the shutter remotely with a wireless release. If you’re fortunate enough to get an interested creature, there’s an extra element of luck involved in getting an in-focus, well-composed photo. So it’s certainly a challenge – but that only makes it more rewarding when a shot comes off.