If you want to take a good photo, you don’t need a fancy camera with a lens that can zoom so far you can basically see into the future. Our smart phones are getting smarter, and with a few basic techniques, you can capture a stunning image.
Here are our top five wildlife photography tips.
It becomes a habit to take photos at eye-level, so make sure to mix it up! If you have a wide-angle lens, use it to full advantage and lower or raise your perspective for a more interesting photo opportunity. Kneeling will also give you a different perspective.
2. Follow the rule of thirds
You may have heard of the ‘rule of thirds’ before? It’s something that all beginner photographers are taught – and for good reason. If you follow the rule, it can make your images look more balanced.
Below is a photo with a rule of thirds grid overlay. The idea is you should be placing points of interest in the intersections of the grid or along the lines.
A lot of smartphones allow you to put a rule of thirds grid onto the screen which means you don’t have to try and imagine the grid.
3. Keep your distance
It’s important to remember to keep ourselves and our wildlife safe, even if you’re trying to snap a perfect shot. If you come across seals and sea lions, you should stay 20m away – the length of about two buses. This is where the zoom function on your camera comes in handy!
If you’re in a boat or kayak, keep 50m away from whales (or 200 m if it’s a mother whale with a calf). If marine mammals approach you, try not to circle them or obstruct their path.
A lot of professional wildlife photographers stick to the hours of ‘golden light’ – early in the morning just before sunrise, or in the afternoon just as the sun goes down.
Dull days are your friend in terms of getting balanced images with lower contrast in light.
5. Fill the frame
Make sure your subject fills the frame. The best way to do this is to use your camera’s zoom function if it’s a marine mammal, or quietly move a bit closer if it’s a bird or reptile.
We share the responsibility to look after the species that make this place unique. Visit the Kiwi way by taking stunning photos of our wildlife while respecting their space and habitat.
Who dreamed up the need for New Zealand citizens to need a permit to take photo’s on our own, public land?
Really, one wonders whose side some of our paid public servants think they are on?
They are meant to serve the public .. not be an end unto themselves.
It’s a good idea to promote taking photos of our wildlife though (before you wipe it all out, with your misguided PF2050, and your wretched Aerial 1080) …
You gotta be joking about getting a permit to take photos on public land???? It’s not DoC land but the public’s land!
Appreciate the article – thanks DoC!
Don’t to forget to get a photography permit, if you wish to put any photo taken on doc land, doc walks, including doc land based ski field in a competition, news paper, art gallery, A&P show, or sale, before you take the photo.
Is that true?
It’s public land managed by the department for the citizens of New Zealand. As an owner you are allowed to take photographs. Approval needed for commercial recording of images and video movies eg Lord of the Rings needed approvals. Doubt they paid much. !!!!
Great hints, and easy to remember – even for an 80 year-old photographer like me! Keep up the good work DOC. Our wild life needs you more than ever before.