Throughout summer we’re teaming up with the Woodland Trust to launch the Wild Summer Photography Competition. For all budding photographers, we’re asking you to capture your wild summer on camera for a chance to win an amazing getaway to the home of Kelly’s of Cornwall.
Your shots can include anything from wild animals at play to hazy summer sunsets enjoyed with delicious ice-creams – whatever it is, make sure you capture summer at its wildest.
Photography is one of the many ways you can get out there and enjoy wildlife this summer. Before you head out there, it can often help to stop and think about what you want to achieve. Pick a topic or a theme and start thinking about a variety of ways to capture it.
Nice big close-ups are always fantastic ways to really capture the essence of your subject and work really well for nature photography and there are a few ways of achieving this.
The most obvious one is to move the camera closer to the subject and gives you a nice close up of your subject and a fair amount of detail in the background.
However, this isn’t always a practical option with wildlife photography as your subject will more than likely run, swim, slither, or fly away as you approach it!
So the next way is to zoom in. This is easier if you have a DSLR where you can change the lens but a compact camera usually has some degree of optical zoom. But if you are still too far away, what can you do?
Well this is where binoculars can come in handy. By putting the lens of the camera at one of eyepieces, you can allow the camera to focus on the image and then take a picture. It’s not as good as a telephoto lens but it’s a lot better than no zoom or having to use the digital zoom functionality.
You might hear photographers talking about “the golden hour” for wildlife photography and that this is the “only” time to take photographs.
The golden hour – or longer in winter – is the time around sunrise and sunset when the light has more atmosphere to travel through, giving it a more “golden” appearance. It also lights subjects from the side, creating nice shadows and therefore texture to photographs.
But what can you do if you aren’t out at these times?
Tripods – If you need to keep the camera very steady and don’t have a tripod, look around for something to act like a tripod. Is there a wall/ rock/ fence post/ tree stump nearby? To make your camera even steadier, use a small beanbag as it will balance out your camera on uneven surfaces.
Timer – To make your camera even steadier for landscape shots, once you are happy with your framing, use the timer on the camera to take the photo. This minimises any movement that occurs as you press the button and should give you much sharper shots.
Lenses – Your compact camera normally has different functions to choose so make sure you select the right “scene” setting.
Filters – Try putting your sunglasses in front of your smartphone or compact camera’s lens on a very bright day and see if it helps improve your photos.
Like with anything you want to get better at, you are going to have to get practising your photographic techniques. Luckily with wildlife photography – or any type of photography – there is no shortage of opportunities or inspiration!
24th July, 2014