It's another outstanding tip to help you build your skill set from Ossian Lindholm. I love the point he makes about the need to practice, because it applies to every specialty in professional photography.
Ossian will be on another Vision and Vine tour coming up in November. What an experience to be shooting with him for a week in Argentina. Just click the banner above for more information. This is an amazing trip and one of the few recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 50 tours of a lifetime!
So often I meet a photographer who wants to do more wildlife photography, but believes you have to be in the wild to get great images. The truth is, there are incredible images just waiting to be captured in virtually every zoo in the world.
Zoos and reserves are terrific places to practice and experiment with composition, exposure and different focal length lenses. I always suggest to my students they practice any place they can find wild animals. It's also a good exercise to just watch the animals before you start shooting. Pay attention to how they move, their behavior and their personality, especially when interacting with their peers.
While it might be more exciting capturing an amazing image in the wild, having a telephoto lens while observing animals in the zoo can still be rewarding. And, as a practice session, it's obviously easier. The more you practice the better prepared you'll be and have the skill set when the opportunity comes along in the jungle.
I took the photo above of a cougar in a reserve that belongs to the National University of Tucuman in the Northwest of Argentina. Everything looks like it was a shot in the wild, but if you look carefully you'll see a small piece of fence between the animal's legs. I could have easily removed the fence with Photoshop, but I always like to remain true to my reputation and profile. I am a documentary photographer of nature and always presenting accurate imagery is very important to me.
The specs on this image were f 6.0 1/800 ISO 3600 500mm.
The image below was caught in the wild, making all the practice over the years pay off. While it wasn't a difficult image to capture, time is always at a premium before a wild animal moves away and changes the opportunity. As I've written before, consistency in your images is all about constant practice and knowing everything about your gear, especially each lens.
This image was captured from a boat in Pantanal, Brazil. It's a jaguar in the wild shot at f 6.3 1/800 ISO 1000 at 500mm.
Interested in a wildlife experience of a lifetime? Check out the Patagonia Wildlife Adventure with Travel Vision Journeys and Ciclismo Classico. This is about penguins, dolphins, big cats and dozens of other species. They have two trips coming up this January and March. More information is just a click away.