Wildlife Photographer Jack Elway: Top Three Wildlife Photography Tips for Beginners
Jack Elway is a retired photographer who is currently on an extended vacation stay in Denver, Colorado. While waiting patiently to get a shot of a herd of moose at State Forest State Park, he suddenly thought of dispensing valuable advice about wildlife photography to beginners. His thoughts can be found below:
Wildlife photography, I believe, is easier to get into when you enjoy nature and the outdoors. It’s not a prerequisite, but with all the time one spends waiting to get the perfect shot, I believe a wildlife photographer must learn how to amuse himself with his surroundings to truly find this hobby or passion worthwhile.
To the budding wildlife photographers out there, here are the top three tips I swear by when it comes to incredible wildlife encounters:
#1: Listen to local guides – Needless to say, you should research your destination and read as much information available as possible. This includes listening to local guides who may know the environment and wildlife better than you do. This isn’t just for your survival but also to ensure you make the most of your trip. If they say, for example, that it isn’t safe to go out there yet for one reason or another, listen to them and postpone your expedition for another time, like the following day or whenever conditions are favorable. Don’t let such news discourage you though, because of Tip #2.
#2: Be patient and open-minded. – You already know that patience is the No. 1 rule of wildlife photography. If I had to add something to this, it would probably be to keep an open mind as well. Wildlife photographers can only do so much preparation for the outdoors, after all. Truth be told, we find ourselves adapting to the circumstances most of the time. If it rains, for example, there’s no reason to pack up your gear and find cover. Instead, you should look at ways to include the added effects of water and rain creatively into your shots. Of course, this is all assuming you have gotten your lenses weather-sealed already. If you haven’t yet, this is an absolute must.
#3: Always have your binoculars with you
– Binoculars are indispensable in wildlife photography; you never know what subjects you’ll come across! There are different sizes available but I personally recommend getting full size binoculars (40mm-50mm) as they offer the best value in terms of versatility and convenience. I also recommend getting binoculars with a magnification range of 8x – 10x, which is perfect for bird watching and other general purposes. Lastly, binoculars with fully multi-coated coatings are best. I would even go so far as to say that you shouldn’t buy binoculars that aren’t fully multi-coated.
There you have it, my top wildlife photography tips for beginners. I have a lot more to say but I’ll save them for another time. Thanks for reading and I hope you picked up a thing or two.
Stay tuned to read more wildlife photography insights and tips from retired photographer Jack Elway.
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