Taking your Nikon D7200 outdoors for some wildlife photography? Perfect! That’s an excellent camera to have with you on a day outdoors.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Nikon’s D7200 is a long-time favourite in the photography community. It’s got a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, and it’s well-known for having an excellent autofocus function that works well in low-light conditions. Combine that with high-def 60fps videos, and you’ve got the perfect camera to capture wildlife imagery with.
Now, you need to be fully aware of what you’re signing up for with this kind of photography. Wildlife photography is very different from taking pictures in a studio or even around town on a photo walk.
When your main subject is wildlife and the environment it lives in, you’re stepping into Mother Nature’s territory. She controls everything, not you. That includes the animal subjects that are walking about freely. Also, the lighting (or lack thereof), and of course the weather.
There is plenty of beauty to be captured out in the wild. So, as a photographer in this environment, your job is to work with what mother nature gives you. You must focus on the things that you can control, like your gear and your photography skills. And if you do things right, you’ll go home with some of the most beautiful pictures you’ve ever taken in your life.
To help you do that, here are five of the most essential tips for doing wildlife photography with your Nikon D7200.
Know Your Equipment
There are many cameras in the world, but your Nikon D7200 belongs to you, and only you. No matter what kind of photography you’re doing, you should know your gear like the back of your hand.
There are two parts to this tip. First, you should definitely know what your D7200 can and can’t do for you as a photographer. Be sure to take some time to sit down and familiarize yourself with every one of those features.
Read the user manual, watch Youtube reviews on your camera; do whatever you take.
Once you’re deeply familiar with your own camera, you’ll never be caught off guard when photographing animal subjects out in the wild. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a spontaneous idea for a great photograph, but not being able to figure out how to work your own camera to get it.
The second part to the tip is this: knowing your gear also means developing a lot of experience in using it. It’s just not enough to be aware of your camera’s functions. You need to practice using it so that you instinctively know how to get the best out of it, and the camera becomes an extension of you. That way, you’ll instinctively know how to take advantage of great photo opportunities when you get them.
Remember: the photography skills you get while practicing elsewhere will benefit your wildlife photography as well.
Bend The Rules
If you’re using a camera like the Nikon D7200, it’s safe to assume that you’re serious about your photography. It’s also safe to assume that you’re familiar with all the rules of photography like the Rule of Threes, and standard rules about depth, symmetry, and so on. These are all great rules that serve a useful purpose.
But if you want to be great at wildlife photography, you’ll need to learn how to bend those rules. Once you have enough experience, you’ll know which rules to bend and how far, and you’ll also know which rules to break!
Photography is a form of art. All artists start by learning the basic rules of their art, which they apply to their creations. Yet, in the long run, it’s only the great artists who understand that they must bend the rules and create something truly remarkable.
So what does that look like when it comes to the art of photography? The best way to answer that question is to say that a photographer needs to trust their gut. Play by the rules, but listen to what your instincts are telling you. Quite often, a photographer’s artistic instincts will guide them to frame their shots in such a way that no one ever thought to do before.
Remember what was mentioned earlier: when it comes to wildlife photography, Mother Nature’s in charge. She doesn’t care who you are or that you’re carrying a Nikon D7200 in your hands. So, if you want an opportunity to capture images of her stunning beauty, you must be patient.
How patient, exactly? Well, that’s entirely up to you. It’s not unheard of for some ‘extreme’ photographers to camp out for days in one spot just to get the perfect snapshot. Of course, most people won’t go that far. Nevertheless, you won’t go far if you give up far too early.
If you want to know how much patience you’ll need, do your homework on the animal subjects that you plan on photographing. By understanding their behaviours, you’ll be able to estimate how easy or difficult it’ll be to grab a picture of them. For example, getting pictures of an elephant may be easier than one of a specific bird species. When it comes to birds, you may have to wait around longer for the right one to come along.
To be patient out in the wild, you’ll also need to make sure that you’re appropriately dressed for the environment you’re in. Depending on which part of the world you’re in, you may have to deal with rain, mud, snow, heat, or other forms of extreme weather. To do that comfortably, you’ll need the right clothes to protect you from the elements.
Of course, if you plan on staying out there for hours or even overnight, you’ll probably need to bring extra batteries for your D7200. Or at the very least, you’ll need some way to charge your batteries outdoors like a portable solar charger. It’s harder to be patient when you know your batteries could die on you at any moment.
Go Closer, Go Wider
Wildlife photography teaches you a lot about the world. It does that by showing you that there’s beauty in extremes. To understand that better, take your Nikon D7200 and either go closer or go wider.
The proper photography term for this is ‘macro photography’. Basically, what that means is that you should use your D7200 to capture extreme closeups of your subject. Thankfully, out in the wild, there are plenty of smaller subjects that you can practice this with.
Snakes, caterpillars, snails, and other tiny insects make the perfect subjects to do this with. When you test the limits of your camera lens to capture these tiny creatures, you’ll discover that there are plenty of beautiful patterns to be seen. Beautiful patterns seen in the right light will give you some awe-inspiring photographs to add to your portfolio!
Alternatively, you can also do the complete opposite: go wide. Go really wide. You’ve probably seen other photographers do this before. They’ll find the perfect vantage point and capture a panorama shot of an entire valley, or of a bunch of snow-capped mountains.
What do wide shots like that do? It inspires awe. It creates emotion and encourages multiple interpretations among the people who will view that photo. For example, a wide shot of a valley or snow-capped mountains with one lone animal in the frame says a lot. In just one frame, it captures the vastness of nature while suggesting that the animal is out there all alone, responsible for its own survival.
That’s what real art does; it makes people feel.
There is one danger that all photographers face. When you spend too much of your time capturing the beauty of nature and wildlife with your camera, you sometimes forget to actually experience it yourself.
Think about all the fantastic moments you’ve captured through the lens of your Nikon D7200 over the years. Were you actually present during all of them? Or, were you simply too focused on framing the shot perfectly with one eye against your viewfinder?
Don’t feel bad. This is a natural side-effect of being a photographer. As you become more adept at framing a scene to look its best as a photograph, you may find yourself somewhat detached from what it is that you’re capturing.
So, this final tip for wildlife photography with your D7200 is a simple one. Always remind yourself to take a step back and experience the wildlife that you’re photographing. Once in a while, lower the camera and let your eyes do the ‘capturing’. Take a deep breath. Pay attention to the sounds of nature coming from all around you. Once you’re present in the moment, lift up that camera, and snap away!
Wildlife photography can be quite challenging, even when you’re using a powerful camera like the Nikon D7200. Still, suppose you learn to make the most of it by using the five tips discussed above. In that case, you’ll soon find that no other photography genre is as rewarding as wildlife photography.Top 5 Tips For Wildlife Photography with the Nikon D7200