Wildlife photography combines a selection of skills, both technical and creative. Lots of people struggle with one aspect in particular; understanding the ideal light for shooting their wildlife photograph.
To take a top-class wildlife photo, you will need to understand your creature; where to find it, the way to approach it without scaring it away, and how to understand the exact moment to press the button to capture the character of the topic. Frequently a wildlife photographer will spend hours trying to find a fantastic shot. What a shame, then, if all of that effort is wasted by taking your photograph in bad light.
As a nature photographer, I’ve learned that the perfect light for a photo may change based on the topic. Landscape photographs are usually best photographed in bright weather, early in the morning or late in the day once the contrast is reduced and the light is soft and colouful.
To find the best lighting for a wildlife photograph, you’re really seeking to minimize comparison, and also to remove shadows from significant areas; most significantly through the surface of the animal.
Bright light is very likely to overexpose sections of the subject, while the face and the bottom of the creature could be dropped in heavy shadow. The outcome will be unattractive, and lacking much of the detail which should give personality to your photograph.
There’s nothing wrong with taking your wildlife pictures on a sunny day. Just don’t forget the lesson from picture photography and endeavor to take your photographs early in the morning and late in the day. Sometimes the subject is illuminated from a more horizontal angle, so the complete face of this animal is well-lit; you’re less likely to have shadows over the eyes and other essential features. If there are shadows, they’ll be much softer since the comparison is significantly lower when the sun is low in the sky.
The light at these times is also a lot more vibrant, with the golden colors you associate with sunset and sunrise. This is a traditional technique for enhancing landscapes, but it can be equally as powerful for wildlife. The warmth of this light can make an intimacy in your images that’s totally lost in the harsh light of midday.
This permits you to catch your topic in quite even, low-contrast light.
I find cloudy days especially helpful for animals with glossy surfaces. Frogs, for instance, have moist, shiny skin which reflects a whole lot of light. In glaring conditions a green frog may seem mostly gray or silver in a photograph. On a cloudy day the identical frog is going to be shown in its true colors.
Birds can often look more colourful on a cloudy day, for the exact same reason. The sunlight shining on glistening feathers can create plenty of reflection, robbing the picture of its normal colour.
1 last question you may ask: if you use a flash to illuminate a wildlife photograph? Flash photography bathes the topic in white light, coming from right in front of the topic. It could illuminate the topic, but at exactly the exact same time rob it of the pure play of light and color which makes a fantastic photo so appealing.
This strategy can work very well, but remember; those are specialists in flash photography. If you’re at the beginner stage, I suggest learning how to work with natural light. When you get the hang of Critter Control, I guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results.