Basics on Achieving Best Lighting in Wildlife and Landscape Photography


Mar 1 2016
Practice your wildlife and landscape photography, and plan a trip to a Southern Africa Game Reserve with Latest Sightings Vacations. There are a few lighting tips in this piece to consider when preparing for, and actually capturing your shots. Generally the golden lighting rule is shoot before sunrise, and a few hours before sunset. There are many apps available these days for example, the weather channel which can assist you in planning around the weather and times. If you shoot at the right times, you will most likely result in a warmer subject, that is a good glow, rich colours and saturation.
 
Midday tends to produce shadows and washed out colours. If you are shooting in the harsh light of midday, remember to keep your ISO (film speed) lower. Basically, the higher your ISO the less light you need. The industry norm for sensitivity of emulsion based film is 100 ISO being less sensitive to light, up to 1600 ISO which is extremely sensitive to light. Ilan Ossendryver, professional photojournalist says, “I prefer shooting on cloudy days, it is better for wildlife in producing clean colour”. If you have no option and are shooting in harsh light remember to lower your ISO. For example instead of using 400 ISO use 250/125 ISO, otherwise you may get the below effect:
 
IMG 1133
 
If you happen to be shooting in low light, remember to increase your ISO, plus make use of a tripod and a wireles remote trigger if possible. Remote triggers are commonly used when the camera is mounted on a tripod, especially when shutter speeds are slow, and is a great resource for wildlife photography. If you don't have a tripod, it is important to learn to tray and stabalise yourself. Perhaps stick your arm against a tree or wall to steady yourself, and breath in when you ready to take the shot as that too makes you more sturdy.  
 
 
bird lighting
 
An interesting technique when it comes to lighting is to use a flashlight to light up a dark subject. For example Ilan says, you can focus on a tree and use the light of the flash to paint the subject. In this instance do not use high shutter openings as you can burn the camera out. A flash can also be used during the day, where for instance there is a bird in a tree and a shadow is being created. The flash will remove the shadow. When learning to understand flash photography, study up on how to avoid over exposed photos. 
 
Tree Flash
 
Photoshop is also a great resource for perfecting your photos and comes with many features to fix your mistakes. A great example is if you have used harsh light to capture an image, you can use the shadow highlight to equalise the scene. This is especially so with a bird photo, because often under the wing it is very dark. 
 
Ilan says, “Remember there is no such thing as bad light! If you understand what it is that you would like to achieve, you can always manipulate or find a solution.”
 
 

 

 
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