WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: TIP 1: Patience, patience and even more patience!

As part of my blog I have decided to post tips on wildlife photography. I am no expert myself, but I have learnt these tips along the way and I am sure they will help anyone who is interested in wildlife photography.

Last Year I set up a lunchtime photography club for the pupils at the school where I work. As it was spring, our focus was wildlife and nature and we certainly made the most of the sunny days.

At my school we are lucky to have plenty of school grounds which include bird feeders, wildlife areas and plenty of trees and flowers.

I handed out help sheets with plenty of tips and I showed the children some of my own wildlife photographs, and encouraged the children to take photographs in their own gardens.

coal tit
Coal Tit at Westport Lake

The following week, one of the children said ‘Miss Cheadle, I tried to take a photograph of a bird on my bird feeder but he just kept flying away! How do you do it?!’ I asked ‘How long did you wait?’ The pupil replied ‘Well, I saw him on the bird feeder through the window so I went outside with my camera and he flew away, so I went back into my house and watched TV.’

I realised then that I had forgotten to tell the children the most important tip when it comes to wildlife photography.

TIP 1: Patience, patience and even more patience!

Most of my pupils, and I am sure adults too see some of my photos and possibly think that I got the photo I wanted straight away. I really wish this was the case.

Here is a photo I took at the Wolseley Centre last weekend:

kingfisher 12

After taking this photograph, a man approached me carrying a canon camera with a telephoto lens and a tripod. He told me he was looking for the kingfisher as he had never managed to get a photograph of a kingfisher. I showed him the photograph I had taken of the kingfisher just a few moments before. He was amazed. I told him that the kingfisher had been flying backwards and forwards, regularly landing on the mud bank and I was certain he would be able to get the photograph he wanted. But, after only a few minutes waiting, he said ‘Right, I am off to get a cuppa.’

This gentleman had all the necessary equipment needed to take the perfect photograph of a kingfisher, but without patience, a person will struggle to get the photograph that will really make their day.

I took my first photo of a kingfisher at Leighton Moss in Lancashire. I waited for three hours by a tree in the very cold month of December.

So, please don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the photograph you want straight away. Sometimes you may get lucky and get the photo you want within 5 minutes. Sometimes it could be hours or even days! But, once you get that one photo you want, it is well worth the wait.

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