Nature photography can be seen as an umbrella that covers the various types of outdoor photography with a common link of vision and gear...
Once you have the correct gear and have cultivated your vision you need to find relevant places to practice your photography.
Depending on your nature photography niche, you need to choose your national park and season with your subject in mind. If you are into birds then Kruger would be a good choice, if you like macro then don't go in winter and if you are a landscape photographer then choose camps that are high up with a view.
In terms of GEAR, a wide range of photographic gear is needed for nature photography...
• For Wildlife Photography medium to super telephoto and zoom lenses are needed and you need to choose the most appropriate national park based on your equipment and the duration of your stay.
• For Landscape Photography wide angle and medium telephoto lenses are needed. In most cases you can use your macro lenses for landscapes but there are other specialist lenses, such as tilt-shift lenses, that can help you get better photographs. And keep in mind that some parks are more scenic than others.
• For Close-up or Macro Photography you need specialist macro lenses that provide at least one-to-one magnification in order to show the fine details of insects and flowers. For macro photography you need to choose the park and the season very carefully otherwise you may end up with no subjects!
• For Bird Photography super telephoto lenses are needed because the subjects tend to be so small. And remember that the time of year you visit the park is important depending on which bird species you are wanting to photograph.
Besides the appropriate camera bodies and lenses there are a host of accessories such as tripods, flashes, filters and tele-converters that are needed, which are all discussed on the Nature Photo Gear pages.
In addition to the right gear you need VISION - having a sense of lighting, color and composition. Knowing when a scene has potential and when to move on and look for a more appealing subject and knowing when to shoot Black and White instead of color.
If you compare two photographs of a rock monitor lizard taken by different photographers standing next to each other - one an advanced amateur or professional and the other a beginner, you will see that making impressive images is not just a matter of "being in the right place at the right time!"
Even if both these photographers have exactly the same equipment, the professional or advanced amateur will tend to have the impressive photographs. Why? The beginner tends to just blast away without thinking about the end result he wants to achieve...
And the professional merges his ability to use his gear with his vision in order to get the final result.
The professional's foundation is his five P's - the pro has prepared, has patience to wait for the right moment, he has practiced a lot with his gear and honing of his vision, he has a purpose in mind and is passionate about his craft...
In the first photo above you end up with a 'nice portrait' of the rock monitor while in the second photograph, where the 5-P's have been implemented, you end up with a sharp action photograph of exactly the same subject!
The first photo is simply a snapshot while the second photo is WOW!
So if you would like to take your nature photography to the next level you need to progress from taking snapshots to making photographs. The way to make photographs is to have the right gear, understand how your gear works and then to have vision.
In these pages we will provide you with hints and tips for both.
We discuss gear and vision on their respective pages (the links are at the beginning of this page) and we also discuss techniques for wildlife, landscape, macro and bird photography under
Safari Photo Tips
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-Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable."
-Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This eBook will be extremely useful for a wide spectrum of photography enthusiasts, from beginners to even professional photographers."
- Tobie Oosthuizen, Pretoria, South Africa