Wildlife photography is more challenging than fashion, landscapes, or portraits. The techniques tend to vary depending on the subject, location, and even the time of day. It requires a refined skill set and a versatile camera to allow the photographer to focus and captured the desired level of brightness in each image.
The Canon 5D Mark III, released back in 2008, has emerged one of Canon’s most popular cameras in the wildlife photography circuit. Seasoned photographers agree that it is an upgraded and improved version of its predecessor. It offers the most advanced autofocus system released by Canon, an added advantage for immersive wildlife photography.
The Canon 5D Mark III offers a rewarding wildlife photography experience with its promising features, and it is quite handy and durable. Its fully-weather sealed camera body makes an excellent companion for the wilderness. Simultaneously, the 6 fps burst shooting speed, enhanced image sensor, and 100 to 25600 native ISO range are all remarkable features.
However, when it comes to wildlife photography, the photographer cannot solely rely on the device to produce quality images. It’s all about the focus and perspective, and most importantly, how well you study and follow your subject. The camera settings have to be tweaked to achieve the desired image composition and brightness. It is crucial to study both your camera and your subject closely to gain control and actualize your vision.
Here are five incredibly useful tips to help you enjoy wildlife photography with the Canon 5D Mark III.
Know Your Subject
Seasoned wildlife photographers dedicate ample time to study their subjects and to learn more about the habitats, species, and environment of the subject they are focused on. You see, this research enriches the photographer with useful information that comes in handy while shooting. By studying their traits, habitats, preferences, and movements, a photographer can avoid sudden surprises and anticipate their movements and habits.
Are you wondering what this research has to do with capturing remarkable photographers? Well, this research will help you understand their activities throughout the day, such as when do they come out of their habitats, when do they hunt, or what are the right areas or elevations to find them.
As a wildlife photographer, it is crucial to understand the ecosystem that you intend to penetrate to avoid unpleasant surprises and stay in control as you venture out into the wild. You may be focused on capturing a rare bird, dolphins and sea creatures, or perhaps tigers and lions in Africa.
A photographer cannot plan what kind of species and animals he/she will observe, so it is best to learn more about the ecosystem as a whole. Being familiar with all the rare and majestic animals you are likely to encounter in an area will help you add remarkable shots of other species to your portfolio.
We all make efforts to learn how to use our cameras, and we experiment with different settings. Well, the same level of scrutiny is required to understand your subject, its habits and preferences, and its ecosystem.
Break The Rules
When it comes to wildlife photography, you need first to know the rules, and then you must know when to break the rules. Certain rules apply to all photography genres, such as the rule of thirds, use of the histogram, appropriate exposure, and others. It is crucial to ingrain these rules into your psyche and effectively incorporate them into your photography skill set.
However, while capturing wild animals, the photographer is trying to capture fleeting moments that often last for a split second. This requires the photographers to be quick and act immediately without scaring off or alerting the subject. At specific points, the camera has to be tilted. In contrast, in others, the imaging sensor needs to be perpendicular to the head angle to enhance the field of view and capture the subject in its entirety.
Once you have understood the rules and guidelines and how to effectively apply time, it’s time to start deviating from the rules and experimenting. As a wildlife photographer, it is crucial to test the boundaries and allow your creativity to guide your vision. Photography wouldn’t be art if every photographer focused on creating stock-standard images.
It is an art because every photographer has a unique perspective and creative vision, which can only be exhibited by breaking out set patterns and rules. In wildlife photography, photographers crave images in which the subject maintains eye-contact with the camera. This particular need can only be satisfied by breaking free of rules and shooting images spontaneously by aligning your movements with the movements of your subjects.
Understanding The Technicals
It is crucial to familiarize oneself with the camera and its features, as this will aid the photographer in experimenting with the various modes, ISO ranges, and compositions to enhance the imagery. The Canon 5D Mark III offers a wide array of technical features that enhance the image, making it easier to capture fleeting wildlife shots with impressive precision and quality.
The viewfinder of the 5D Mark III is relatively bigger than other models in this range, allowing it to offer 100% coverage. The LCD screen is also bigger, allowing the photographer to study the ecosystem, the subject, and its environment in great detail. More importantly, the image processor is a heavy-duty feature that has increased the camera speed to 6 fps, making this device even more productive and handy than most cameras by Canon and Nikon.
The faster speed has allowed the 5D Mark III to be an excellent camera for wildlife and those fleeting shots that are easy to miss. This device is powered with a faster DIGIC 5+ processor, which empowers the camera with complicated image processing abilities. It also features an HDR shooter and a built-in chromatic aberration correction. It also features a silent shutter, an excellent feature for noise-sensitive subjects and environments.
Before venturing out into the wild, it is crucial to start experimenting with the device in your own environment. Experiment with the ISO range and exposure to help you find the most attractive lighting settings that work well for your images and perspective.
When capturing wild animals, be it carnivores, birds, or herbivores, it is crucial to maintain your distance. Seasoned photographers seldom keep their distance as reducing the distance allows them to widen their view and shoot wide. You see, all animals tend to be skittish, jumpy, and fleeting, and lenses can never keep up with their movement and skittishness.
As a beginner, it is vital to resist the temptation to keep your distance and get closer to your subject. It is crucial to maintain proximity that allows your subject to fill the frame. Are you wondering why this proximity matters so much? Wildlife photography is the art of allowing the viewer a medium to be transported into a different realm: the environment of the wild animal that has been photographed.
To capture the subject and its ecosystem in all its entirety, you must fill up your frame with all the elements you wish to include and shoot wide. Shooting wide allows the photographer to capture the intimate and peculiar details of the subject that inspire awe in the viewers. Filling the frame and shooting wide is essential to capture each subject’s unique color palette, patterns, and features.
The Canon 5D Mark III is an excellent device for shooting wide as its viewfinder offers 100% coverage. Just be sure to experiment with the depth and width before venturing out in the wild so you can gain more control and precision while working with wild animals.
For a wildlife photographer, patience is a virtue and undeniably the most significant skillset. You see, photographers need to be very silent and still as they observe their subjects, and make light movements to avoid alerting or scaring away the subject. Wildlife photography is all about long periods of waiting to get that one shot where the subject is looking directly into the camera.
The most remarkable shots are taken by spending time to understand the subject’s movements, habits, and preferences at specific locations and specific timings. If you’re unwilling to wait and wait and then wait some more, you will find the experience rather frustrating.
It is crucial to be patient and make yourself comfortable in the terrain, so you don’t feel the urge to take your shot, pack up, and leave without unnecessary delay. Be sure to carry all the gear and tools you need to make yourself comfortable. Insect-repellents and off-the-counter ointments are a must.
Position yourself comfortably in your subject’s ecosystem, and maintain a safe distance, mainly when shooting carnivores. Plan your shot as you observe your subject and its movements, and tread slowly and carefully if you intend to follow the movements. The long waiting periods need to be spent with patience and dedication as they are a vital ingredient in capturing remarkable shots.
If you don’t have the patience to wait, you will most likely return empty-handed if you have one particular shot in mind. To successfully capture that shot, you need to wait it out and plan effectively.