Wildlife photography is something that is dear to my heart. Of course back in Georgia I rarely ever saw any wildlife other than when I drove a bus for the University of Georgia when I was a student there. Here in Arizona where ever we seem to go we see wildlife of some kind.
In the last year I’ve taken photos of thousands of elk, few hundred deer, wild turkey, a bobcat, two bears, big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, eagles and a few hawks. I may have left out some animal I took a photo of but then we see so many different kinds and everywhere we go we spot something.
Here it is just a matter of taking the photo out of my friend’s jeep window. It isn’t always that easy to capture wild animal photography. Most of the time you have to set up in a blind of know where to sit to capture that animal in the wild. I’ve wanted to build a portable blind to carry with me so that I could set up and capture those moments that you can’t from a moving car.
There are commercial blinds that are very portable but they cost more than I can usually afford so looking around here for something to use to build one. I’ve decided to use one inch PVC pipe for my frame then cover it with burlap that I paint to match the usual grass around here and the top painted to look like a lava bolder. There are plenty of those scattered around the country side here so should not stand out in most areas I might decide to use it in.
I have even thought about those long hours of sitting there in my blind so looking for an old computer desk chair with arms and a nicely padded seat that I can swivel around to each side to better capture that wildlife photo. Hey I’m not young any more so sitting on a stool and being uncomfortable is not in the cards for this old guy.
Of course I would love to upgrade my camera to a 7D which can take HD movies and takes 18mp photos so I can really have fun playing with them in Photoshop. Oh well, I can dream can’t I. While I’m dreaming how about an 800mm or a 1200mm lens, the first is on sale for just $13,000 right now and if you can find a 1200mm lens they are going for around $120,000. I said I was dreaming not about to be able to buy either one of those lens.
The thing that you have to remember is wild animals are wary of new things. So when setting up a blind you need to be able to set it up where it looks right and blends in with the surrounding area. Think about a duck blind and how they use the natural reeds of a pond to hide their site.
Of course here the elk are so used to seeing cars, they are usually grazing along the sides of the roadway, they just ignore you. That is unless you stop next to them then they stare at you like what is your problem fella. Even the deer in most areas when it isn’t hunting season will ignore you or stare at you. Of course if you get too close they move away or if you startle them they will run away.
When and if I build my portable blind I will take photos of it for you and post them on here. Plus update this article as well.
Please remember when you are out taking photos of wildlife, they are just that wild not tame so don’t try to pet them especially the bears. You might pull back a nub.
It also helps to have a telephoto lens, we used to call them long lens, right now I’m looking at a 200-500mm lens, when and if I have the money want to buy it. I would love to have a 500-100mm lens because I see so many shots that are that far away and a 300mm lens just does not reach out that far to capture those scenes of animals.
Taking wildlife photos is not as easy as it may seem most of the time. I’m not talking about walking through a botanical garden or zoo or wildlife sanctuary but out in the real wild world. Even in a sanctuary you can be hurt if you are not careful as even the animals in them though they are used to seeing people are still wild.
No matter what kind of photography you are into have fun and be careful. Have a great weekend.