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Two Tips to Instantly Improve Your Birds in Flight & Wildlife Photos

Written by Thomas C

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Posted on August 05 2019

Two Tips to Instantly Improve Your Birds in Flight & Wildlife Photos 

Thomas from Alotech
Wildlife Photographer | Former Guide | Podcast Host for the PhotoCast | Founder of Alotech 

Just one simple small change I made early in my career as a wildlife photographer helped me instantly improve my birds in flight and wildlife photos.

The first small change is to simply focus on one animal.

Sounds simple? It is.

In my opinion, this is the biggest mistake I see wildlife photographers and bird photographers make because by being scatter brained you miss out on fully capturing the best scene for that particular animal.

For example, let’s say you are photographing some Moose but you also know a couple miles away are some Dall Sheep. Many photographers will choose to spend maybe an hour photographing the Moose then go to the sheep.

As a photographer you are trying to capture a moment that happens in a fraction of a second. This could be common behavior or rare, but the more time you spend with one animal the more likely you are to photograph something unique.

I am not saying don’t photograph a Wolf if you planned that day to photograph Moose. When I see an animal, I haven’t planned to see I simply just transition to photographing that one particular animal. For example, I would just then photograph that Wolf for as long as I could in order to increase my chance of photographing great behavior.

The second tip is related and its to focus on one particular animal of a species.

This might sound strange, but this is how I photograph birds and animals.

For example, when you see a flock of birds nesting it’s common to want to go from nest to nest in order to move to where the action is. However, when you do this you might miss something unique that suddenly happens at the nest you left.

I have photographed Black Skimmers on assignment, personally, and occasionally when I guided and the only images I cared about was to capture an interaction photo between a chick and an adult outside of the traditional feeding shot.

To maximize my success every day at dawn and dusk I laid in front of the one nest I selected when the birds were scraping to be the single nest I should focus on for that season. Spending all my time at the one nest allowed me to see unique behavior that suddenly happened then goes away just as fast. If I nest hopped I would have certainly missed this photo of the chick hugging its mother’s beak as for over an hour before that frame there was no interesting action taking place.

What are your thoughts on focusing on a single species then zoning in on one particular animal? Let me know in the comments below!



What are your thoughts on focusing on a single species then zoning in on one particular animal? Let me know in the comments below!