Here are my top tips to photograph Puffins. Photographing wildlife, especially Puffins is a lot of fun but it takes a little practice and requires your camera to be set up to track the birds as they fly from their burrows to the sea.
I have spent many happy hours trying to photograph Puffins, watching the birds around the British Isles as they nest around springtime to hatch their young on one of the many islands around Britain, such as Lundy in Devon or the Farne Islands in Northumberland.
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To capture stunning images of wild animals and birds, you need to be prepared, patient, and know how to use your camera effectively. In this article, we will discuss some tips and techniques that I have found useful for photographing wildlife effectively.
Get close to your subject: One of the most important things to remember when photographing wildlife is to get as close to your subject as possible. It’s not always easy, but is especially important if you are using a telephoto lens. The closer you are to your subject, the more detail and texture you will be able to capture in your images. However, be sure to approach animals slowly and carefully so as not to startle them.
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Use a fast shutter speed: When photographing wildlife, it is important to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. This is especially important when photographing birds in flight or animals that are moving quickly. A fast shutter speed will ensure that your images are sharp and that there is no motion blur.
A good rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed that is at least 1/1000th of a second when photographing birds in flight, and at least 1/500th of a second when photographing other moving animals. But this will vary, depending on the speed of the animals you’re trying to capture.
Use a high ISO: When photographing wildlife, it is important to use a high ISO to ensure that your images are properly exposed. A high ISO will help you to achieve a fast shutter speed, even in low light conditions.
However, be aware that using a high ISO can also result in more noise in your images, so try to keep your ISO under 3200, especially if you’re going to print the images and you want to maintain the quality of detail for the print.
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Use a tripod: Using a tripod is essential when photographing wildlife, especially when using a telephoto lens. A tripod will help you to keep your camera steady and to avoid camera shake, which can result in blurry images. Additionally, a tripod will allow you to use a slower shutter speed without having to worry about camera shake.
However, if your camera or lens has Image stabilization it will help and possibly mean you don’t need a tripod. This will depend on your photography style and also the weight of your telephoto lens. Sometimes, I find it easier to use a tripod, but keep the ball head loose so I can still move the camera around, but not have to hold the weight of the heavy lens.
Use a remote release: Using a remote release can be a useful technique for photographing wildlife, but it depends on whether your subject is stationary. A remote release allows you to take photos without touching your camera, which can cause camera shake. This is especially important when using a long lens or a slow shutter speed.
Be patient: Patience is key when photographing wildlife. Wild animals and birds can be unpredictable, and it may take some time to get the perfect shot. Be prepared to wait for the right moment to take your photo. Also, it’s good idea to study the behavior of the animals or birds you want to photograph, so you can anticipate their movements and be ready to take a photo when the moment is right.
Use natural light: Natural light is the best light for photographing wildlife. Try to photograph your subjects in the early morning or late afternoon, when the light is soft and warm. This will help to bring out the colors and textures in your images. Also, avoid using flash when photographing wildlife, as it can startle the animals and cause them to move away.
Experiment with different angles and perspectives: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles and perspectives when photographing wildlife. Try shooting from different heights and distances, and from different angles. This will help you to capture a variety of images and to see your subject in a new and interesting way.
Dress for the worst weather: Wildlife photography is rarely a quick process, and the locations are usually in windy, wet islands that are exposed to the coastal conditions. I find it helpful to take plenty of warm and waterproof clothes, a flask of warm tea/coffee and plenty of food. You could be in that same location for many hours, and you want to keep yourself warm, safe and dry!
Photographing wildlife can be challenging, but that makes the great shots even more worthwhile. It’s going to require some patience, preparation, and knowledge of your camera and equipment, but if you put these wildlife photography tips into practice, you can really improve your skills and take some incredible photos of wildlife this year.