You’re probably reading this in lockdown or under tier restrictions, wondering when is quarantine over? You’re not alone! As a nature and wildlife photographer, I’m used to spending more time outdoors than indoors, and am finding this new world order quite challenging.
However, something interesting has happened of late. There’s a sudden urge for many more people to reconnect with nature, to get outdoors and just be in green surroundings. This has seen many of us, amateurs and pros alike, reaching for our cameras to capture nature.
We’re all aware of the social distancing rules, but even on your daily walk, or in the privacy of your own garden, there are plenty of ways to photograph nature. Let’s look at how in a bit more depth.
Great British wildlife
Thanks to the new pace of living and less traffic on the roads, wildlife has been able to flourish. This means that there’s a rich garden animals list, ranging from birds to foxes, squirrels to hedgehogs!
If you’re on your walks, you might even spot ducks, dogs, cats, stoats, badgers and more!
Find where you feel most comfortable to photograph that allows you to maintain adequate social distancing.
Any DSLR or mirrorless camera will suffice, or failing that your smartphone. If you have the latest iPhone, ‘portrait’ mode is great for close-up shots of flowers and foliage.
If you’re sitting it out in your garden, be prepared with hats, sunblock, maybe even wellies and waterproofs. The British weather is predictably unpredictable, but some of the best photos are of nature at its most raw – the rain on leaves, puddles on the ground.
The more you’re at one with nature, the more you’re aware of the importance of the conservation of animals and plants. Perhaps we will have a new appreciation for the world when this episode is all over.
Time of day
The time of day you choose to go out will determine the type of photo you capture, as well as the wildlife.
Being a wildlife photographer means that I’m always up early. The crack of dawn is a great time to capture animals and birds due to the soft light. Another great time of day is during dusk and sunset, especially for more soft dramatic light.
Patience is key
When you’re ready to shoot remember that patience is key. You will need to become an observer and let nature come to you. One of the fundamentals of nature photography is capturing the wild in its natural habitat, without interfering. That said, leaving out seeds or nuts in your garden to lure in birds certainly does no harm!
Next, think about the story you want to tell. Lighting, framing and background can all help shape the way a story is perceived.
For instance, this hawk is known to be a secretive bird. Capturing it on an empty branch in the evening light helps to create a narrative to accompany the image. The image is purposely framed to show the bird off-centre, highlighting its solitude in the wilderness. There are so many different ways you can use these elements to tell your story too.
So there you have it, some tips and tricks for photographing wildlife when on lockdown.
Stay safe, and please follow the government guidance at all times.