How to prepare mentally to become a successful Wildlife Photographer

There are few experiences that truly embody the vitality of being a photographer as much as photographing wildlife in its natural habitat. Being a wildlife photographer embodies all of the qualities that nature stands for: freedom, interdependence, and spontaneity. It is the elusiveness of nature and wildlife elements that makes wildlife photography such a risky proposition, but one that is so satisfying to get right and rewarding for the soul. Isn’t it exciting to capture moments knowing that your chance will only last a second or two due to nature’s fleeting beauty?

 Here are a few tips for you to get some insight into the art of wildlife photography:-

  1. Wildlife photography is all about instinct. Just like survival is all about instinct in the wilderness, you must develop your instinct for any event when you’re in an untamed land. It is not about technical details and proficiency. Photography training courses will not teach you the ways of the wilderness. The most technically proficient photographer in the world is not guaranteed to be even an average wildlife photographer, let alone a great one. 
  2. It is all about observing the world around you, living vicariously through the eyes of the wildlife you see around you. Study your subject and understand why it behaves the way it does and does what it does. Understand its motivations through monitoring its actions. It is a long and arduous process, but essential if you want to be able to predict its actions, be one step ahead, and mentally prepare yourself for a well-timed picture.
  3. You must effectively study the natural habitat of your subjects as well. Only when you understand the interdependence it shares with its surroundings and how it dwells in it, will you be able to picture what its daily routine is like and how it goes about its livelihood. However, care must be taken so that you don’t disturb its habitat and break its peace. This may lead to it being overly alert and behaving differently which jeopardizes your quality of shots, or in case of it being an apex predator, your safety as well. 
  4. You must be dressed in muted colors or camp and be as silent as possible. 
  5. Thorough Internet research before the shoot also never goes amiss and you must study up thoroughly about the nuances of its habitat such as what kind of food it eats, what time it hunts, what the flora around is like etc. 
  6. The most important characteristic for a wildlife photographer to have is alertness and vigilance. You must be on your toes for any event, good or bad. Your finger must be on the shutter as a reflex to capture anything worthwhile as memorable and beautiful moments in the wilderness occur in split seconds, in the corner of your eye. You must also possess a good peripheral vision for this purpose. Be ready to shoot whatever, whenever, wherever, as quite literally anything can happen. 
  7. A good image in the wild is defined in a jiffy, and you must be experienced enough in the trends of daily activity to predict when these moments might arrive, and take a dynamic shot of the moment. 

Nature is one big jigsaw puzzle and every single piece plays an important part. This fact is important for all wildlife photographers to realize, and sometimes the context one shoots in is important to preserve the impact a picture has. For example, a kingfisher may be beautiful, but a kingfisher shot catching a fish from over a blue flowing stream is a sight to behold! Nature is wide and all-powerful and all animals recognize that they are but specks of dust in the world. It is a wildlife photographer’s job to protect this purity as well as depict it through his photography at all costs!

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