Discover how a wildlife pro photographer gets top shots of nature out in the field
From small squirrels and owls to deer and ducks, autumn wildlife is abundant
10 DURING A SPELL of cold weather, pro wildlife photographer Ben Hall spent several mornings photographing local fallow deer. The frost coupled with the autumn colours provided the perfect scene for this lone deer as it paused in the dawn light. Ben had positioned himself so that he was shooting into the sun to make the make the most of the rim lighting around the animal. The backlighting has also made the breath visible against the rays of light. He composed fairly wide to show the deer in its environment and used the hanging branches of the tree to act as a natural frame.
11 SQUIRREL! Whether it’s red squirrels still found in parts of the UK and Europe, or grey squirrels in your local park, they make great subjects as they forage for food. Consider leaving out nuts to attract them. Use the longest lens you have, and this is where a 1.6x crop-sensor Canon like a 7D Mk II comes in handy as it’s turns a 300mm telephoto focal length into an effective 480mm for extra reach from a safe distance.
12 THIS EVOCATIVE shot of a pair of grebe was taken at Ben Hall’s local lake. He often visits the morning after a cold, clear night, as there’s a good chance of mist. On this day, plumes of mist rose, with the first rays of light creating the appearance of fire and smoke on the water. Ben shot from his floating hide to get as low as possible to the water, and so the grebes were backlit against the opposite bank in deep shadow. He fired a burst as the birds drifted by.
13 FOR THIS image the aim was to use the surrounding leaves to act as a frame around the owl, using the maximum aperture of f/2.8 on a 70-200mm lens to blur the foreground and background leaves and keep emphasis on the subject. The light was overcast but bright, which allowed us to keep the ISO low and capture maximum detail in the shadows. Shooting on a Cloudy White Balance has enhanced the warm tones and colours of the autumnal leaves.
Get in position early to avoid missing wildlife as they feed during sunrise 10
Get down low to the animal’s eye level for a more intimate shot and so you can blurred backgrounds more effectively 11
Use a long lens and wide aperture to blur foreground and backgrounds for subjects to stand out from surroundings