There are so many avenues of photography to explore, and one can argue that wildlife photography is one of the most exciting. Moving towards exotic locations for hours to capture even more exotic animals is its level of exciting.
However, it’s also one of the most challenging types of photography and requires several skills from the photographer. One of the primary requirements is patience; unless you’re incredibly lucky, it’s rare to find an animal at the very start of your trek.
Another primary requirement is the ability to track the animal and find its location. But arguably, one of the most critical needs is the camera that you’re going to use.
One of the best cameras for those looking to get their start in wildlife photography is the Nikon D5300. It features Nikon’s lauded 24MP sensor that’s capable of capturing images and videos in crystal-clear quality.
The camera features a snappy 39-point AF system and offers up to 5 fps continuous shooting. It’s built exceptionally well, and there’s a clear focus on the ergonomic design of the body. The D5300 fits into the hand better than any of the predecessors in its series.
Nikon also made an effort to increase the battery life of the camera. Instead of taking 500 shots in a single full charge, the D5300 can manage 600 images at maximum battery capacity. It’s also great at taking pictures in low light thanks to the ISO performance.
Just buying the camera isn’t enough though, here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most out of the D5300 for wildlife photography.
Shoot From Up Close
While some photographers might think it’s easier to invest in a zoom lens and take pictures of animals from afar. However, more often than not, that results in images that aren’t as captivating. What wildlife photographers should ideally do is get as close to the subject as possible and then take the shot.
Getting close to get the ideal shot when you’re tracking animals isn’t the most straightforward task. You need to be careful about your movements and stay as silent as possible.
One of the reasons why the D5300 is ideal for these situations is its lightweight. It helps make sure that carrying the camera isn’t a hassle. While the difference is only a few 100 grams, it becomes telling when you’re out tracking animals.
Photographers also need to have a certain amount of knowledge about the animal that they’re tracking. Without this knowledge, the photographers will not follow the animal properly and will never get close enough to get a dynamic shot.
Different animals have certain traits that trackers need to keep in mind when they’re on the hunt. Unlike humans, animals are very perceptive of their surroundings. Some of them can even hear or smell you coming from a mile away.
The use of modern tracking gear can help make your life significantly easier. A scent remover or something to muffle your footsteps will be a significant advantage. When you get into position, the high-quality sensor of the D5300 will ensure that you get the best photo possible.
Take Wide Shots
One of the most criminal things a wildlife photographer can do is focus too much on the animal. Unfortunately, there’s already a saturation of these types of images, and they don’t captivate people as much anymore. Wildlife photography isn’t just about the animal; it’s about the location as well. The best way to capture these images is by taking wide shots.
These shots allow users to incorporate both wildlife and the natural environment into the image and make a massive difference. What makes the D5300 so ideal for this task is using live view in conjunction with the grid. The major advantage of using the grid is that users can easily apply the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds essentially dictates that a third of your picture should represent the subject, while the other part of the image should serve as the background. Photographers can easily apply the rule of thirds by placing the subject of focus on the points where the lines intersect. Instead of just centering and taking the shot, using this advanced framing will lead to you getting more dynamic images.
Wider shots will also give photographers more room to work around with in post-processing. If the photos you’re taking are too zoomed in, then you have no option for cropping and adjusting the image accordingly.
Taking wider shots will give you a lot more room to work with and crop images to turn them into more focused shots. Wide shots also give you the opportunity of capturing multiple animals in a single frame.
Be Smart With Lighting
A lot of photographers feel like lighting is a constraint when they’re out taking pictures in nature. While in studios, it’s easy to manipulate the lighting according to what gives the best results. However, wildlife photography requires you to be craftier and smarter with the lighting, as weather conditions will significantly impact the amount of light in your image.
The Nikon D5300 is prime for different lighting conditions thanks to its versatile ISO range. It’s sufficient to ensure that the D5300 will perform according to the photographer’s standards in all lighting conditions.
Even during low light conditions, photographers who use the Nikon D5300 will get high-quality images thanks to the camera’s low-noise performance. Noise starts to enter the image when users take images at the high ISO value and typically occurs during the highest end of the scale.
For the smart photographer, adverse lighting conditions aren’t a constraint, but they’re an advantage. Due to the Nikon D5300’s brilliant sensor, it’s capable of capturing light on a very high dynamic range. As a result, photographers can manipulate lighting in post-processing to a much higher degree. You’ll get the opportunity to work around with highlights and shadows a lot more.
A lot of wildlife naturally inhabit locations that don’t feature a lot of direct light. Depending on the animal you’re tracking, it’s good to be aware of the lighting conditions in their typical habitat. Slightly changing the settings on the D5300 will go a long way in helping during custom lighting situations.
One of the most important tips that any wildlife photographer can follow is being patient. Whether it’s during tracking the animal or when you’re about to take the image, a moment’s patience can be ideal for allowing you to get in the perfect position to get the perfect shot.
Most animals tend to fear humans and will run the minute they get alert to their scent or presence. As a result, wildlife photography isn’t for those who aren’t patient enough to move carefully and methodically.
Simply running around after the animals and getting impatient isn’t going to get you the shots you need. Expert wildlife photographers typically have a strategy that they’re going to follow in mind when they’re out taking images. Working around this strategy is the ideal way to ensure that you get high-quality images at the end of the expedition.
The D5300 gives you more than enough time to be patient thanks to its improved battery life. At full capacity, the camera can capture up to 600 shots, so there’s no need to worry about the battery running out anytime soon. Even when you’re about to take the picture, a moment’s patience can allow the animal to move into a better position. As long as you’re undetected, there’s no reason to rush any picture.
It’s incredibly challenging to stay patient while tracking animals up and down difficult terrain. However, to get the best images, there’s no option but to remain patient and steadily track the animals until you get the perfect shot.
Enjoy The Moment
Last but not least, you must always remember to enjoy the moment. Wildlife photography will allow you to hike around and travel to some truly exceptional places. There’s no point in traveling to all these places if you’re not going to take the time to enjoy the moment.
Always remember to take in your surroundings and appreciate the natural beauty of this world. If you enjoy what you’re doing, there’s a significantly higher chance of you doing better at the task.
The D5300 will do everything it can to aid your enjoyment. Thanks to the camera’s ergonomic design, it feels wonderful and snappy when you use it to take images. The autofocus is also fast and focuses in on the subject at a very satisfying speed.
Users can also adjust the autofocus according to the points they prefer to use. These wide variety of features help ensure that using the D5300 is always enjoyable and immensely satisfying.
Unlike other forms of photography, taking images of wildlife takes an unmatched level of dedication. It’s especially grueling on the body as photographers will need to live in harsh habitats and environments to capture certain animals’ images. It’s close to impossible to be successful in this format of photography without being passionate.
There’s nothing quite like the moment when you move in to take the perfect shot of an exotic animal. It’s a rush that very few photography formats can match and, in the end, is a just reward for one’s hard work!