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First of all, nature photography is very rewarding. There are a number of reasons for its popularity, and this is one of them. Capturing a special moment somewhere in the wild is a thing to remember your entire life. Nature and wildlife photography have their differences, but in many aspects they are connected. You might have heard photographers complain about how wonderful a place or a situation might have been, but how the photo wasn’t doing it any justice. That’s probably due to several mistakes, including the following ones that you need to avoid.
1 Poor timing
When you are out in the wild, you have a very limited control over what goes on around you. The only thing you can truly control is your response. With that said, there are plenty of opportunities to act too late or too soon, and very few to react exactly when the time is right. A bird might flap its wings, an animal could turn its head or the wind could stop blowing into a tree. You don’t need a sixth sense, but a good sense of anticipation will always come in handy in nature and wildlife photography. Be ahead of the game. A fast camera with 12 fps will help you most of the times, but there can always be an exception that will make you lose the shot.
2. Bad light
Ideally, there should be enough light to capture a good photograph, at all times. But we are all mature enough to know that’s not how things work. So, as for 90% of photography genres, bright, sunny days are not what you want if you’re expecting good results. Unfortunately, in nature photography, a lot of the good stuff happens when the light goes down. Animals start to come out, shadows disappear, light gets softer and so on. The only thing you can do, and this will sound shallow of me, is to get a camera with high ISO performance. There really is no dancing around it and I am sorry about that, but it’s the naked truth.
3. Not getting close enough
Now, this might seem like an obvious mistake. In fact, it could be so obvious that you might even notice it while you are making it. Do you want to capture an animal resting or a bird on a branch? Get closer to it! The first thing that keeps you from getting closer is fear that it will go away. But ask yourself this: is it better to stay farther and get a shot of a tree with no visible animal, or to go ahead and try getting closer, even if the animal does go away? At least you will have tried.
But seriously now, Robert Capa’s famous words are very true for nature and wildlife photography: “if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”.
4. Getting too close
In the attempt to compensate for too much distance between them and the subject, some photographers will get too close. If the subject is an animal, its most common reaction will be to flee to safety. That is unless the subject is a big animal, in which case the news gets filled with tragedies that involve photographers. Anyway, the point is that you have to know when you are too close. Even if it’s something as static as a tree, getting too close should make your frame look bad before you push the shutter release and that should be enough to make you step back.