Photographing wildlife is a great way to spend your time outdoors. Photographing animals requires patience and a true love of nature.

White-tailed deer/Mule Deer

White-tailed deer, like most deer and are very skittish. They also have great hearing and can spot predators and photographers. You should be quiet and approach them from the downwind. Camouflage clothing can help conceal you so you can get close to the deer without scaring them. The photographer is often seen moving, so it’s important to be patient and remain still once you have found your spot. To capture the action, use a fast zoom (100mm to300mm). You will need patience to capture the action. A tripod can help you keep from becoming fatigued. White-tailed deer can be photographed in summer, when their coats are deep reddish brown. In the fall and winter, the coats turn dull gray to conceal and protect them. The summer is when the male bucks are covered in velvet, a fuzzy collection blood vessels that feeds the antlers. They shed the velvet and get their full antlers before the fall mating season, also known as the “rut”. Later, the antlers fall off in winter. Captive deer can be kept at zoos or game farms, which makes it easier to photograph them.

Elk

Yellowstone elk grazing in the woodland

Large deer with large antlers, the Elk is a large species. Elk are mostly found in woodlands. If you’re lucky enough to find Elk in your area, then it is a good idea to set up a tripod and wait until the animals appear. Use a polarizing filter if you’re shooting in bright sunlight to reduce contrast and keep the sky blue. The bull elk can compete for female attention during the autumn rut (mating season). Their distinctive bugling sounds are an aid to finding elk during the autumn rut.

Moose

Moose in Denali national park

Moose are North America’s largest forest animal and the most majestic. They are the largest deer family member and they do not thrive in captivity so it is best to capture them in their natural habitat. You can photograph moose up to six feet long with their antlers. They are quite fearless and don’t have any natural predators so it is possible to get closer than you might think. For dynamic backgrounds, you should photograph moose in early spring as the weather changes and they are more likely to be near streams and lakes. Sometimes photographic opportunities arise while driving in moose country, when moose stop at muddy areas on the sides of roads called moose walls. A tripod is not necessary, but a monopod with a long, fast telephoto lens (say, 300mm) can be useful. A focal length of between f/4 and f/5.6 is sufficient to capture the moose in the foreground while blurring the background.

Grey Squirrels

Eastern grey squirrel eating a nut it just found

Squirrels make great subjects for photography. They are a common species of backyard wildlife. They are an excellent subject for wildlife photographers to learn from. Their daily activities involve both ground and tree use, so their movements can be fast. To capture the adorable movements and behaviors of these animals, you will need a fast zoom lens (at minimum a f/2.8). It’s nice that you don’t have to be constantly on your feet to capture these fast-moving creatures. Anyone who has a bird feeder is aware that squirrels will find a way to get at your bird seed. A bird feeder can provide a great opportunity to photograph squirrels. You can increase your ISO to allow you to use the fastest shutter speeds.

Foxes

photographing-wildlife

Foxes are wary and fast-moving animals. Foxes can hide from humans easily if they wish. When hunting foxes for photographs, you will need to be patient and quiet. So find a forest that is a fox playground. It will take some research to find out more about the fox habitat. To avoid blurring, use a shutter speed of 1/200s or higher if you’re shooting in clear conditions. You can get great photos of this clever animal by using a zoom lens or telephoto lens. You should set your camera to automatic focus (AI Focus AF Canon/AF–A Nikon) so that you can capture the image as soon a fox appears. It may disappear very quickly.

Porcupines and rabits

Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) in the wild

Although they are amazing subjects for photography, cottontail rabbits or porcupines can also be great. However, it can be hard to capture them on film. They can be found in and around many wooded areas throughout the United States. They are most active at dawn, near sunrise. Even if you don’t see a rabbit, the time of day close to sunrise offers stunning photographic opportunities. Porcupines can be found in areas where evergreen conifer forests are plentiful. It is important to research the habitat of porcupines and to be ready for them to disappear after a few days. You can still be lucky and luck favors those who are prepared. This means that you will need a zoom telephoto lens (80mm-300mm) and camouflage to blend into the environment.

Frogs

Picture of an Agalychnis Callidryas, commonly know as the Red-eyed tree Frog

You can capture the vibrant textures, colors, and details of frogs if you’re a keen photographer and a frog lover. To find the most colorful and eye-catching frogs, such as the poison dart frogs, you might need to travel to Central America or South America. Frog photography is similar to other wild animals. You need to be at their level or higher depending on the case. Many types of frogs can be found in trees. Telephoto lenses allow you to get a closer view of the frog from afar. Some subjects are willing to allow macro lenses for close-ups. Use a shallow depth-of-field when telephoto to keep the foreground sharp and blur the background.

Wild Cats and Wild Dogs

One boreal lyns looking at the photographer

Wild cats (bobcats, mountain lions, lynxes, and lynxes) can be photographed in many parts of the United States. These majestic and agile animals make for stunning photographs. To capture these majestic animals in photographs, you will need patience, a long lens and the right camouflage clothing. If you are able to find the carcass of an animal such as a deer, winter may be a good time. You might be able to get a free meal from hungry predators. Photographing in winter can be difficult. Make sure you are warm and dressed appropriately.

Beavers and Otters

Beaver swimming on a lake

Beavers and otter are great subjects for photography. However, they can be wary of humans so be careful. When photographing wild animals outdoors, you might consider yourself a hunter/predator. You should behave accordingly. Instead of using a gun, bow and arrow or shooting with a rifle, you are firing your camera. Photographing these animals requires all the care, skill and preparation necessary for a hunt. Your zoom telephoto lens acts as your “scope”, and frame-rate refers to your ability to take down multiple animals (i.e. It is possible to capture it on film. You have found the perfect habitat if you can find a lodge or dam that beaver live in. You might get some amazing photos by wearing camouflage clothing, waiting with your tripod ready and keeping your camera still.

Animal Tracks in Winter

Winter forest and clearing with animal trails

It is great to photograph animal tracks in snow. You can see tracks in the snow to tell you that an animal was there. Overexposing the shot by 1 stop is a great way to get these photos perfect. Because all metering modes will expose white snow as 18% gray, not true white, this is a good trick to get the perfect white photos. The time of day can also affect the appearance of your photos. Because the sun is low above the horizon, photos taken in the early morning or late afternoon will show dark shadows inside the animal tracks. This will help bring out the track’s beauty. Mid-day photos won’t have the same contrast and will be lit even deeper inside the animal track. To see the variety of looks you get from the same track, experiment with natural lighting. Take photos at different times of the day. Sometimes, a winter set of tracks can reveal a story. It will show you where the animal stopped and maybe even reveal its story. You can follow the tracks if you are lucky and careful enough to locate the animal that made them.

Recommendations

It can be difficult to photograph wildlife. You should choose a shutter speed of at most 1/125th if you are photographing a small creature. You can increase your ISO to allow you to use a faster shutter speed. To capture details of your subject, and the surrounding environment, choose a deep field. To keep the animal’s focus, choose a large aperture (f/2 to f/5.6) if there is distracting background.

Equipment we recommend

Telephoto lenses, in addition to a great camera, are very useful for wildlife photos. You will need to keep your distance from animals. If you’re shooting in bright sunlight or snowy conditions, a neutral density or polarizer will help to ensure that your images don’t get too exposed. If you plan to go out in the wild, monopods and tripods can be useful.

Conclusion

If you are patient and have the energy to go after it, wildlife photography can be very rewarding. Keep in mind that animals don’t want to be models so they won’t help you achieve your goal. All you can hope is that they will give something to you to photograph. To get dynamic and strong images, you need to use the “hunter/predator” mentality. Hunters, whether they are man or animals, wait patiently for their prey to strike. This is how you can capture stunning photos that will grab viewers’ attention.