Eastern Spinebill

04 – Why Is My Image Too Bright or Dark?

If you are photographing a white animal in a bright environment, you need to use positive exposure compensation using aperture priority, as the camera’s metering turns the scene to ‘grey’. Take a quick shot and then look at the histogram or the image on the back of the camera’s LCD screen. If the image is still too grey/dark, increase the exposure a tad more, to say +1.3 , +1.7 or even +2 until you have the desired exposure (i.e. clean whites). For a black subject in a dark environment, do the reverse and use negative (-) exposure compensation. This will bring out the detail in the blacks.

05 – The Advantage of Back-Button Focusing

Many SLR camera models and makes have back-button focusing as a feature. This setting is invaluable for wildlife photography, especially for capturing birds-in-flight and other moving subjects. Explained simply, back-button focusing allows you to focus on the animal you are photographing by pressing a button on the back of your camera, then depressing the shutter button to take the shot. This setting is very useful for photographing a bird flying in a parallel line. With the camera’s focus-point on the bird, keep following it as it is flying, finger half depressed on the shutter. When the bird is in a good position, simply let go of the focus button and take a series of shots (make sure you also use continuous shot or ‘burst’). Even though you have let your finger off the focus button, your focus will remain on the bird as it is flying past, rather than focusing on the background. It may take a bit of to get used to back-button focus, but with practise it will become second-nature.

06 – Composition Essentials

One of the most important aspects of creating great photos of wildlife, is good composition. You can own the most expensive photographic equipment, use all the correct settings and have the patience of a saint, but without composing the image well, it simply won’t work. Avoid composing your subject so that it sits directly in the centre of your image. By doing this, it looks too staged or set-up. Try composing in a way so that the subject’s eye or head crosses over the intersecting ‘rule-of-thirds’ lines. If there are two or more animals in the image you are about to take, focus on the one in the front or the one that is most prominent. By using a wide aperture, you can blur out the other subjects, drawing the viewer’s eye to the one you have focused on. If you wish to have all the animals in the group in focus, reduce the aperture size (higher number).

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

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