Showing Wildlife in their habitats.
When i started photography (and most people for that matter), all i wanted was getting closer to wildlife to have a close shot of the animals. It’s always fun to have a great portrait of an animal, i still do that when i have the occasion. But now, whenever i can, i try not to get too close and show the animal in it’s habitat, i think it will be the kind of photos that will sell more and more now that the environment in which the animal live is considered as important to protect than the animal itself …. well i hope it will be in most countries!
It’s not always easy to show an animal in it’s habitat, often there is distracting elements that you can’t crop from your composition.
In this shot the Great Blue Heron was at the base of a waterfal that is not natural. I was able to frame the heron against the waterfal and still show the heron in this particular environment without showing the artificial construction. I could have gotten closer but i would have lost the background and it would have been “yet” another Great Blue Heron portrait. Sony NEX-3, Pentax-67 M*400mm/4.
It’s more like taking a landscape photo but with an animal in your composition, so you need the same thing as a landscape photo: good composition, beautiful light certainly helps and an interesting landscape or atmosphere. The rule of thirds is still a valuable starting point, placing the animal at one of the crossing points makes for a dynamic photo, if necessary you can place the animal elsewhere in the frame if it makes for an even stronger composition.
This photo was already posted here on my Blog but i think it shows what i mean about showing an animal in it’s habitat. Those Canada Geese stayed very late at that place, they left when they had no more place to go on that pond (free water), so even in december you can have great opportunities to show how an animal can survive in their habitat even if it gets cold. Pentax K20D, Pentax-67 M*400mm/4.
Don’t forget the small animals that can be found at your feet, i like to use my 14mm lens at or near it’s minimum focusing distance and show a frog, snail or insect in it’s habitat. Unfortunately not all wide angle lens can focus very close, especially zoom lenses where the minimum focusing distance is often not as close as a prime wide angle lens.
This close-up of a Snail on Stone crop and moss is interesting because we can see the details and textures of the animal but doesn’t show too much of the snail environment . It was taken on a rainy morning around sunrise. Pentax K20D, Pentax DFA 100mm Macro WR.
This one was taken on another morning but close to where the shot above was captured. Here i took the photo with my Pentax DA14mm which can focus very close for such a wide angle (0.17 meter and a repro ration of 0.19x), which is very useful to take the kind of shot like this one. With such a wide angle i was able to show the snail environment and create a dynamic photo, the snail looks like is following the rock path along the water to go back in the vegetation in the background . Pentax K-01, Pentax DA 14mm, at f/8, handheld, SR (Shake Reduction) activated.
Next time you will go hunting wildlife with your camera, keep in mind to also capture them with a wider perspective, showing the animal in it’s habitat can give viewers another experience when looking at your images.