Wildlife Photography: Respect the Power of Your Subjects

Being able to capture quality images of wildlife is what inspires many people to try photography. While it can feel pretty safe when you are looking at an animal through a camera lens, it is important to remember that all wildlife can be dangerous. So, before you head out on your next outdoor photography adventure, double check your medical insurance Florida information and make sure to remember the following tips.

Wildlife Photography: Respect the Power of Your Subjects

Work in Groups

If you are heading out into the wild alone, even at a local state or national park, it is best always to travel with someone. It can be a fellow photographer, a friend, or a family member. By always working in pairs, you have an extra level of protection should something happen. In the chance that someone gets injured, then you can help each other return to safety.

Keep Your Distance

There is a reason photography lenses have been created to allow you to zoom in on far away subject; it helps keep you out of harm’s way. While most people assume that only predatory animals, like bears and mountain lions, are dangerous, many prey animals are dangerous in their own right. For example, a buck can gouge you with their antlers. They can also kick and stomp you with their hooves. Even smaller animals like squirrels may scratch and bite when threatened.

The National Park Service has recommendations based on the wildlife present in Yellowstone, including maintaining a minimum distance of 100 yards between yourself and bears or wolves, and at least 25 yards between yourself and any other wild animal. While these recommendations are associated with a specific park, it provides a guideline for observing both predatory and prey animals in the wild.

Bring Survival Gear

Hauling around photography equipment can be a challenge, but don’t forget to bring basic survival gear too. Make sure to bring enough food and water to manage your trip and maybe a little extra for emergencies. Dress in layers so that you can adjust as the day moves along especially when night temperatures fall dramatically when compared to daytime temperatures. Carry an emergency Mylar blanket, also referred to as a space blanket, and hand warmer packs. Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and shoes for the conditions, and consider carrying extra socks and gloves in case your primaries get wet.

Even if you only plan to be out during the day, always bring at least two flashlights per person. Check to make sure that they light properly before going, and bring extra batteries if you can. The flashlights don’t all have to be large, but having multiples helps lower the risk that all of your potential sources of light will fail should you become stuck after dark.

Make a Plan and Tell Someone about It

Don’t just head out into the wild to wander randomly. Review trail maps and the location of landmarks, and make a plan regarding your intended path. Additionally, make sure that someone who is not going with you is aware of your path, as well as the start and end time of your trip. That way, if you fail to check in at a reasonable time, someone can direct emergency personnel to your approximate location.

And One for the Animals: Use Flashes with Care

Many people don’t think of the harm that flash photography can cause, especially for nocturnal animals. A sudden instance of bright light can leave them temporarily blinded. That puts them at risk of injury as well as making them vulnerable to other predators or competing prey. Additionally, being startled by the flash could frighten them, causing them to act unpredictably and potentially causing both you and the animal harm.