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20 Mar 2019 17:01:52
Nature is spontaneous. A mind-blowing sunset or incoming storm waits for no one, so the best bet is to master the camera you keep in your pocket. By taking these tips on board, you’ll be ready to capture whatever comes your way; from a Kookaburra taking flight, to a bouncing Kangaroo. Before you delve into the details, treat yourself to a tripod so you can start steadily. Here are some professional pointers to help you lift your nature photography game.
There’s no hard and fast rule here, but one fact remains: steer clear of harsh overhead light. Professionals love the ‘golden hour,’ which is just after dawn and before dusk. It’s worth the effort; the warm, lovely light envelops everything in gorgeous tones. But if sunrise and sunset aren’t possible, an overcast day is also great; the sun is filtered by clouds, and the lighting is soft. Post rainfall is lovely for landscapes – it brings out bold, saturated colours. Always opt for natural light, and keep your flash up your sleeve as a last resort. To get these timings right, check the weather app on your phone.
When you’re shooting into the sun, the brightness can illuminate your subject, and dim the rest of your image, while the flare can minimise contrast. Try shading your smartphone lens to stop the sun from striking it.
We’ve all been there; you’re wowed by a waterfall of such incredible scale it makes you feel like a grain of sand, but on screen, it looks unimpressively meh! With your phone’s wide-angle lens, it’s challenging to capture extreme gradient and height, so experiment by using humans, birds or objects in the middle distance to create scale. When shooting something epically tall, take your shot from eye level or lower.
Even though you don’t have a lot of time to factor in your framing, there are a couple of go-to rules that can help you take better nature photos. Keep the rule of thirds in mind: use the horizon to divide the bottom third of the picture from the top two-thirds. The object you’re shooting should sit at the intersection of two lines where you’ve imagined the grid. Always keep the horizon straight, and if you capture a crooked horizon, fix it during your editing. Lastly, make sure you shoot a rapid series, so you have a lot to choose from.
Always tap your subject on screen before you shoot. Get creative with blurring the foreground or background for more arty textures. To accurately capture moving objects, keep your phone stable with both hands and move with your subject. The result is a sharp subject with a beautifully blurred background.
Try out your new nature photography expertise at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Come and capture the beautiful butterflies while you wander through our Butterfly Tropics. With these intricate insects of all colours, shapes and sizes fluttering around you, snap them in flight, or on a leaf. Our reptiles also photograph well; if you get down on their level and look them in the eye, you’ll get a winning pic. Then there’s our incredible bird life – don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect shot, you can always edit the sharpness of your image or change the saturation to highlight their markings. Remember to pan if the animals are moving and get experimental with light, focus and composition. There’s no better place to try different things and practice getting the perfect shot.
Show off the results of your newfound nature photography skills. When you’ve edited your selection of animal shots down to a fantastic few, upload and share your snaps to #wildlifesydneyzoo
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