This Month's Theme:
The Natural World

From Nikon Ambassador Richard Peters

"Wildlife photography is all about being patient."

Richard Peters shares his Top Tips for shooting The Natural World:

  • Always try and get your focus point on the eye of your subject. This is especially important when shooting with long focal lengths and open apertures that create narrow depth of field. When the eye is sharp, it helps the viewer make a connection to the subject.
  • As well as making sure they eyes are sharp, ensuring the camera is level with the subject has a dramatic impact. This is especially true of small animals on the ground. Lay on the ground and put yourself at your subjects level to create a flattering and intimate image.
  • The first and last hour of daylight is often the best to shoot in. But shooting in varying weather conditions will allow for different styles of image. Cloudy weather acts as a giant diffuser, giving nice soft light whereas rain can add drama, mood and impact.
  • Whilst a nicely lit portrait will always be a crowd pleaser, capturing motion and action can help elevate an image from nice to excellent. Use high shutter speeds to freeze the motion but don't forget to drop the ISO down low, stop down the lens and try to capture motion with slow shutter speeds.
  • Although telephoto lenses are the most common associated with wildlife photography, using wider angles and including the environment can help give a sense of place and in the case of urban wildlife, help tell a story.
  • Regardless the lens you use, be it telephoto or wide angle, keep an eye on your backgrounds just as much as your main subject. Nothing will detract from a photo faster than a strongly contrasting element behind that fights the main subject for your attention.
  • Wildlife photography is all about being patient. Sitting and waiting for wildlife to become accustomed to you will always yield better results than following it around, which will do nothing more than push it away from you. Sit, wait and enjoy your surroundings.
  • It's all too easy to set the camera to it's fastest frame rate and just keep shooting at everything that moves. Instead, think about what you want to achieve in your image, make sure the fundamentals of composition and exposure are right then wait for the right moment, maybe when the subject looks towards you or demonstrates certain behaviour.

Inspired by the natural history documentaries he watched insatiably as a child, Richard Peters has always been drawn towards wildlife photography. His passion has been rewarded with numerous awards, including twice in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year plus being named the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2015.

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