A Photographer's Secrets to Capturing Amazingly Up-close Animal Photos in the Wild
Yes, we all love to enjoy those gorgeous nature photos posted on the internet and plastered in magazines, but for the viewer the moment is fleeting. After just a few seconds or minutes we click away or turn the page. However, for those behind the lens, the work to create that one image can take days, or even weeks to complete.
Take, for example, these stunning images of Dalmatian pelicans captured by 28-year-old photographer Sean Weekly.
According to Weekly, who hails from Kent, England, he had to brave freezing temperatures while riding on a boat each and every morning for several weeks straight just to shoot the birds as they soared above the snow-capped mountains lining Lake Kerkini in northern Greece.
"They have some amazing head feathers which gives these birds their own personal hair style,” Weekly told the South West News Service about shooting the enormous animals. "They are so full of personality and character and ultimately are stunningly photogenic."
According to Weekly, both the birds and the surrounding scenery made his job much easier as the “towering snow capped mountains and rolling clouds” created such a spectacular sight.
“Because of this beautiful environment I tried to include the scenery a lot in my photos of the pelicans to show what an amazing location these birds live in,” he said. "It took me almost the two whole weeks to get this specific image as I wanted all the birds looking at the same direction without any distractions in the image.”
For Weekly, that meant simply waiting for the right moment to click down on his camera’s shutter.
Though taking photos like Weekly takes years of practice, there are a few things you can do to improve your shots. Like Weekly, you’ll have to get up early or stay out late to find the perfect light for your images. It’s called the “golden hour” in photography, and it’s usually the hour before and after sunrise and sunset.
Next, you’re going to have to get as close as possible while remaining safe (and being careful to not disrupt the animal), or buy a great zoom lens.
Finally, like Weekly, you too will just have to have the patience it takes to wait for the perfect shot. Just look at his pictures for proof that it’s clearly worth it. Check out more tips and tricks for great animal photography here.