Wildlife photography can be a fun and rewarding hobby. It is a challenge at times to time the right photo and catch your subject in the right moment. Contrary to almost every other type of photography you cannot easily replicate what happened again if you miss the first shot. Additionally having a good focal distance is imperative!
The first tool in getting impeccable photos is having the right gear. Any camera with zoom will work, but let me discourage the reliance on a camera phone. In order to get close enough to get a good photo with a camera phone you run the risk of spooking your subject. Even a point and shoot with a long zoom is more reliable than just your phone if this is a hobby you are looking to take up.
The next tool is patience. It isn’t enough to know deer or turkeys frequent an area, it is also a lot of waiting for the right moment. Animals are on less of a schedule than humans, and their schedule is determined by much more than the time on the clock. The moon patterns, weather fronts, and seasons all wreak havoc on a photographers ability to be in the right place at the right time. Patience and determination are key here.
Studying your subject and knowing where they may be is the name of this game. If I am looking for photos of wild birds I will often head to lake Hinkle early in the morning. Ducks, eagles, hawks, cranes, geese, and more have found their way in front of my lens with my tactics. Without taking too many steps from the parking lot at Little Pines Recreation Area I can capture a variety of feathered characters.
Water sources in general are superb looking areas for any wildlife you wish to capture. Since all animals have to drink to sustain life, at some point they will wonder to a pond, stream, or river. Looking for signs of life around your watering hole will tell you if your location is a productive one or not. Look for fresh foot prints, waste, scraps, or any other signs an animal has been present recently.
Somedays it seems animals are bedded down and just not moving. A day spent in the fresh air of nature is never wasted. Change your desired animal and instead capture photos of squirrels, birds, or just the beauty that is nature if larger game isn’t moving.