When it comes to photography and wildlife photography in particular, timing is everything. In wildlife photography there are so many variables that are out of our control, this means that when something is happening, our timing needs to be spot on in order to capture the image that we are after.
In today's blog I am going to be sharing 3 images all taken from the same sighting and all taken seconds apart. When you are out in the field on safari, what is your mindset when you have camera in hand? Are you just trying to capture what you see through the view finder? Are you firing off hundreds of shots and will look at them later? Or are you putting thought into your image and have a goal in mind of the image you are wanting to achieve?
A big part of creating a successful and powerful wildlife image is understanding your subject. Trying to preempt what your subject is going to do or what it might do and get yourself into the position to achieve that, it is the best chance we have to be in the right place at the right time and be completely prepared for what our subject is going to do.
I am going to nit pick a bit here, but I really hope that it gets all of you thinking about your images and how you can improve them going forward juts by changing the way you look at your subject and the image you are trying to capture.
Take a look at this image...
What does this image tell me? Well to be brutally honest not much. Yes, it is a male lion drinking water, but look at the way he is positioned. The lions head is to the side, the tongue is not visible and in my opinion, it isn't a very powerful image at all! Ideally, I would like him to be looking in my direction, eye contact and tongue out - I know not demanding at all right?
Getting closer... It is always difficult when you have an image in mind that you really want, because as we know animals don't play the game and that is the beauty of wildlife photography. In the above image, the lions head position is much better although still no eye contact. Images such as these need an ''X factor" something that draws the eye, something that will pull the viewers attention. Once again, to me this is a nice image, but it could be a whole lot better!
Now, look at both those images above again! Now look at this next image!
Immediately the mood and feel to the image changes completely. The tongue is out lapping water, the head is facing in my direction, there is eye contact and there is a sense of intensity.
Seeing the lion walking towards a small pool of water, it gave us the chance to set ourselves up in a position to get this shot. From the moment he started drinking the third shot in this sequence was the one that I had visioned in my mind. Yes, it doesn't always pay off but thats the way it goes, I can tell you the feeling of accomplishment and joy you get when it does go your way, makes that image so much more meaningful.
So next time you are out in the field with camera in hand, look at the different possibilities and try and set yourself up for success!
Until next time,