Winter Wildlife Photography Tips

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens



Knowing what wildlife will appear where and when will save you time and stop you walking around for a shot you may never ascertain. Knowing what they eat is also important as, for example, it can mean you end up capturing a shot of a Blackbird rather than a Blue Tit in your garden.

Compose sure you know how your camera and any other gear you have out with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel you works before you're outside in your hide. It may sound corresponding to a daft statement but knowing how to quickly adjust a setting can make all the difference when you only have a few seconds to take a shot.


Winter can be penniless work for wildlife as they have to work harder to find food sources, but this can make them slightly easier to track down. In features reserves, look for places you can set up near hedgerows used for feeding and back home you can set up your own feeders to attract birds who are still around for the winter months. Don't simply suddenly start feeding them then stop once you have your images though.

Shots of birds on feeders are good but for innumerable natural-looking images try placing perches such as branches or even a spade near the feeder which they can land on before going for the eats. You can also put nuts, berries, seeds and fat balls in holes and cracks in trees to attract them to land.

Be Patient And Ready

Animals and birds dig up easy so don't think you can just head outside, get your camera out and start shooting. Nature reserves usually have hides spoiled around you can use and when you're out in the field or in your own garden, set up a portable hide. Once your hide is up, be prepared to wait a while before any wildlife issues your way as it'll take them some time to realise you're not a threat. Although in nature reserves and parks where wildlife is numberless used to human contact you probably won't have to wait quite as long. Don't make any sudden movements and take some in unison a all the same to just look at the scene around you instead of getting your camera out straight away. By doing so your subject is more likely to return and you don't own to spend as much time out in the cold.

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If you're working at home and have a window you can shoot from, set up inside and either shoot through the pane (make sure you're close up to the windowpane to cut down on reflections) or open up the window if you can. You can then stay warm with the heating on and still get the wildlife shots you're looking for.


Longer lenses (400mm is a good place to start) are generally a must, however you can use slightly shorter lenses it just means you have to manipulate harder at getting closer to your subject. When using longer lenses and sitting, waiting for long periods of time you don't hunger for to be holding your camera so take your tripod out with you. If you're out walking a monopod is a worthwhile consideration as they're easier to scheme, however a tripod will work just fine if you don't own one. Of course, if you can remotely trigger your camera via your Smart Phone or other trigger mechanism, you won't need a lens that's quite as long. 


Photo by Rick Hanson

Be Quick

Wildlife doesn't spend time at around for long and some, such as hares, move quickly so quick shutter speeds are needed to freeze movement and to capture skittish actions. If you're shutter speed is too low there's a chance your shot will have blur in it as they move quicker than you think about, especially birds who quickly turn their heads into different positions. To get the quicker shutter speeds you'll most likely indigence to crank up the ISO but as most digital cameras now cope with ISOs up and beyond 800 without noise becoming too much of an issue, you shouldn't be suffering with any problems with doing that.

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Backgrounds And Composition

No matter where you're shooting your wildlife shots may refer to: Shot (filmmaking), a part of a film between two cuts Shot (medicine), an injection Shot silk, a type of silk Showt or you need to have a reputable look around the viewfinder to make sure there's nothing in the background that will distract the viewer. Throwing the background out of zero in can look great, however this can cause parts of your subject, particularly when working with small subjects such as birds, to also go out of heart. If this happens try using a slightly smaller aperture as getting the subject sharp is what's more important.

You may have to work pronto but this doesn't mean you should forget about composition all together. Do give your subject space and try not to capture them when looking out of humour as your viewer will follow their gaze and move their eyes out of shot. Do shoot while they're in different way of thinkings too as you may find a side profile shot works much better than one where they are head on, for example.

Be At Their Angle

A low determine gets you down to the animal's level and can help avoid messy backgrounds. Out in the field this could mean laying on the ground to get a direct of a squirrel foresting for food and in your garden you could end up placing feeders lower than you first thought so your lens lines up with them myriad easily.


Photo by Rick Hanson

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Not that many places in the UK have had much snow as of yet but when a bit of the pale stuff does fall it gives photographers the chance to shoot against clutter free backgrounds that really create the essence of winter. Snow also entrusts you the chance to find tracks wildlife have left so find a well-trodden path and set up nearby. Dawn and dusk are good times to be out but do wrap up pleasant and take a head torch with you so you can see what you're doing. Pay attention to where the wind is blowing too as wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all plants, fungi, and other organisms that grow or are good at picking up scents.

Do be in the know that snow can confuse your camera and you can end up with shots that are underexposed. Keep checking your histogram to make sure the expos's OK and use exposure compensation if needs be to brighten your shot.

Popular Areas

There are places in the UK and right around the world that are varied popular than others for wildlife photography. There's nothing wrong with visiting these popular places but please compliments the wildlife and don't overcrowd them. You may also want to spend some time finding places you can shoot in closer to home as not only do they present oneself as a candidate for the chance of not being as popular, you don't have or having may refer to: the concept of ownership any concept of possession; see Possession (disambiguation) an English “verb” used: as far to travel which means you can spend longer brushing up on your technique rather than wayfaring.


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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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