Wildlife and Nature Photography Presentation by Drew Loker Lake Travis, Tx All photos in this presentation were taken by and are ©Drew Loker, www.drewloker.com , unless otherwise noted. However, please feel free to distribute freely this presentation as long as the photo credits stay intact.

Wildlife and nature photography

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Page 1: Wildlife and nature photography

Wildlife and Nature Photography

Presentation by

Drew LokerLake Travis, Tx

All photos in this presentation were taken by and are ©Drew Loker, www.drewloker.com,

unless otherwise noted.

However, please feel free to distribute freely this presentation as long as the

photo credits stay intact.

Page 2: Wildlife and nature photography

Wildlife and Nature is like the Rodney Dangerfield of Photography…no respect

• Some people view it as easy

• More to it than just being at the right place at the right time.

• Being prepared with the right equipment and knowing how to use it is essential.

Slept in a car over night…waiting for a campground.

Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons

Page 3: Wildlife and nature photography

Know your location

• Where are you shooting and what time of day will be best for the location– Use a compass to track the sun and determine how the lighting

might change through out the day.– Check sun and moon charts to know the exact time

Texas City, just last night

Page 4: Wildlife and nature photography

• What will you be shooting – Determine living habits.

• Food– Does it feed in the tree or on the ground

• Does it sing at the tops of trees, what kind of sounds does it make so you can flush it out

• What are it’s mating habits – Cardinals mate for life and usually hang out together…but not to close to each other

• Dragonflies tend to return back to the same spot

Know your subject

Page 5: Wildlife and nature photography

Clothing consideration

• Some obvious: – Avoid bright colors, wear green,

navy, brown…non-alarming colors• Unless you are shooting on the side

of the road…then wear a safety vest and have cones.

– Avoid strong odors– Wear gloves…animals will see your

hands moving before they see the rest of you.

– Camouflage netting, build a blind– Soft brim hat, shorts or loose pants

Photo by Todd Hargis

Page 6: Wildlife and nature photography

Equip consideration

• Some obvious: – Buy cheap stuff to get started, but budget to

upgrade.• Most of my first lenses came from pawn shops.• Canon 500d vs. dedicated Macro

– Buy used…if it was good enough for a pro yesterday, it is good enough for me today.

– Find alternative uses of non-traditional items, making items if possible.

– Get extra lens caps– Use UV filters for hazardous conditions.– Camouflage netting, build a blind– Hire a sherper to carry your equipment

Page 7: Wildlife and nature photography

Packing for a Trip

• Photography is always about compromises– Will you benefit from any given piece of equipment on

any given day?– If it all possible, drive rather than fly so you can take all of

your gear…different hikes dictate different gear.• Hiking 1-5 miles in to a remote location in Big Bend is going to be

vastly different than driving up to the road side and taking pictures at the scenic overlook.

– Bring enough memory cards to try not to format– Back up in the field to a portable device, like a laptop,

portable hard drive or device that records DVDs in the field.

– Bring wet weather gear – economy lens rain suit…saran wrap, or shower cap from the hotel room

Page 8: Wildlife and nature photography

Understanding ExposureUnderstanding Exposure

Why use different Shutter Speeds and Apertures.

Town Lake, Austin, Tx

Page 9: Wildlife and nature photography


Setting the exposure is like filling a bucket:

How much you open the valve is going to

determine how long it takes to fill.

Page 10: Wildlife and nature photography

Closing the aperture is going to make the exposure time longer.

Page 11: Wildlife and nature photography

Silhouettes • Any time you have the sun in your picture, you are going to have a tough exposure.

Page 12: Wildlife and nature photography

The Camera is only as Smart as the Photographer

1/125 @ f/8 1/15 @ f/8

Left: Good sky Exposure. Right: Good Skins Tones…shirt blown out.

Page 13: Wildlife and nature photography

Except for the new SMART cameras…then it is as smart as the people in FRONT of the camera.

1/320 @ f/4.5 with fill flash

Here the camera balanced the background with enough fill flash to expose for the foreground.

Set the camera to “M”, set exposure for the background, then turn on the flash.

Photo by Aimee Loker

Page 14: Wildlife and nature photography

Using Exposure Compensation

Program and Automatic Exposure Modes do a pretty good job when the subject is evenly lit. But when the subject is off center…or much darker/bright than the back ground, you have to use the Manual exposure mode…or dial +/- Exposure Compensation.

Page 15: Wildlife and nature photography

Using Exposure Compensation

But which is correct? Depends on what you are looking for? Maybe you want a silhouette.

Exposure Compensation is when you CHANGE the base exposure increasing or decreasing the total amount of light.

Page 16: Wildlife and nature photography

Equivalent Exposure (EE) is different than Exposure Compensation. EE is when you keep the SAME total amount of light…but change the variables to either stop or blur motion, or control your depth of field.

Using Equivalent Exposure

Page 17: Wildlife and nature photography

Using Equivalent Exposure

Long Exposures allow for creative control. Left: 4 sec exposure allowed for people to blur as the walked through the image. Right: 2 sec exp. Allowed for zooming while exposing.

4 sec @ f/10, 38mm 2.2 sec @ f/10, 112mm

Page 18: Wildlife and nature photography

Don’t Pass Up Shots

• Taken at Christmas time

• Shocked to see yesterday the picture doesn’t exist now…and may never again.

• You may only pass a place once at the right time.

Page 19: Wildlife and nature photography

Bracket shots for tough exposure, or if your spouse is waiting on you

Page 20: Wildlife and nature photography

When hiking, try to walk by yourself

• Birds tend to come back out quickly after people have passed by.

• Just stop and wait.

Page 21: Wildlife and nature photography

Just don’t get too far behind

• I really did loose Aimee on this hike…and really started to panic with a storm on it’s way.

Page 22: Wildlife and nature photography

Equipment Considerations

• Every hike is different. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, and much of my equipment is duplicate in function but serves different purpose.

• Drive by vs. walking to• Terrain• Lighting• Protection to equipment

– 70-200/2.8 vs. 70-300/4-5.6– 70-200/2.8 with 1.7x vs. 150-500 – 400mm with 1.7x vs 600mm or 800mm

Have your camera with you

• Heat is bad for the camera…but not having a camera is worse. Just protect the camera from extreme heat.

On the way to work… spare camera in car.

A Quote I shared with my students today:

Pictures hold life's experiences.

And I feel that with every experience you learn something.

Therefore, you learn something with every picture you take.

- Anonymous