Wildlife & Nature Photography

To photograph animals in their natural habitat is one of the hardest tasks for a photographer and requires a particularly complex equipment. Large telephoto lenses, tripods, monopods and raincovers are only a small part of the equipment of a nature photographer. In most cases you have to use large focal lengths starting from 300mm up to 1000mm and more. This is the only way to get frame-filling images without getting to close to the animals themselves.

With zoom lens and tripod...
Especially in Africa, it is imperative to work with high focal lengths. Below 200mm focal length it is almost impossible to get the right picutres. As you usually photograph out of 4WDs, special camera mounts and bean bags are used. These are mounted directly onto the railing or window. They reduce the effects of camera shake in high zoom range. Generally, it is recommended to use telephoto lenses with built-in image stabilizer. The risk of camera shake and blur are reduced drastically using these little helpers.

Best speed, aperture and shutter speed
The best time for wildlife photography in Africa is one hour before sunrise until two hours later, and two hours before sunset to one hour after. During these hours the sun bathes the landscape in a golden red and yellow contrasts and the animals are most active during these times. To reduce blur when your subject is moving, you should work with small aperture values ​​from aperture size 8. The shutter speed should never be less than 1/125.

During wildlife photography, you should always keep in mind that you are working with wild animals. In Africa, you should not take any risks and rather avoid to take a good picture, then putting yourself into a dangerous situation. You should always have a safe distance from the animal you're taking pictures of. You should also try to move as less as possible and avoid loud noices as well. This will spook the animals and ruine your picutres.

General tips:

  • Move quietly and carefully in nature.
  • Never take a RISK dealing with wild animals!
  • Also notice the natures small details.
  • Take your time and wait for the right situation.

Photographic tips:

  • Use small aperture values (from 7.0).
  • Use a tri- or monopod and an image stabilizer when working with high focal lengths.
  • Always work with long focus lenghts (from 200mm).
  • Set the autofocus to focus single field.
  • Work with high shutter speeds (from 1/125).