What makes wildlife photography so challenging?
posted Monday, December 4, 2017 at 12:30 PM EST
As you may have seen last week, landscape photographer Thomas Heaton is in Namibia. While there, he's trying his hand at wildlife photography. He's finding it very challenging and a completely different test of his photographic skills than the landscape photography he typically does.
After spending time with orphaned cheetahs, Heaton headed north into the wilds of Namibia. As he found out very quickly, oftentimes the animals don't want to cooperate. You can spend a long time waiting for an animal to come into the perfect spot and then it simply turns around, leaves and that's the end of it. However, these challenges are also part of what makes wildlife photography so rewarding.
Sure enough, a pair of lions strolled into the watering hole where Heaton had been waiting. The scene was lovely and Heaton remarks in the video below that "sitting with the lions was phenomenal…we got some lovely photographs but nothing compelling. What I realized is that I'm sat in one of the best places in the world for wildlife photography, I've got amazing kit, and there are these amazing animals in front of me but I'm not coming away with images that are amazing. And it dawned on me so quickly, that wildlife photography is very, very difficult. It's not just about having the kit and being in an area with certain animals…It's knowing the animal's behavior…"
He's spot on, good wildlife photography is so much more than good gear and good light, it takes a lot of little things coming together in a certain way to create a beautiful wildlife image. You may be able to go somewhere new for a couple days and come away with amazing images, but to be able to reliably capture great wildlife shots, you need an intimate knowledge of an area and its wildlife. In that way, it's not unlike landscape photography, as it helps to be very familiar with your subject in that case too.
To see Heaton's full adventures from his second and third days in Namibia, watch his video below. He has a very close run in with an aggressive rhino, which is well worth checking out!
(Via Thomas Heaton)