Like with anything in this world, knowledge is power. This is a strong statement that certainly rings true in the art of wildlife photography. The more you know about the habits and habitat of your wildlife subject, the better your chances are of getting to be in view of it for your photo shoot. All wildlife have their own unique way of life, and it is only that knowledge of it that will allow you to be in the right place. For example, you wouldn’t look for a deer in a tree or a fish on a prairie. Be realistic in your expectations.
There are procedures to follow in order to maximize your chance of observing the wildlife you wish.
1. Be certain that a specific animal species does in fact live in the area that you will be in. You don’t expect to see wading birds in the desert now, do you?
2. Learn everything you can about the desired species. Learn its habits, is it diurnal or nocturnal, what does it eat, where does it sleep, what type of track does it leave.
3. Be observant. Be alert. Be still. Be quiet. Most animals you will encounter have learned the art of stealth as it is a primary means of the survival of the species. Some animals can blend in to their surroundings remarkably well, with keen eyesight, an enhanced sense of smell and hearing, and the ability to run quickly when feeling in danger.
4. Know what is the best time to stalk you quarry and prepare for that National Geographic photo.
5. Be patient. Just because you are setup in the right location, doesn’t guarantee the animal will be there! It takes at least 45 minutes after setting up your equipment before wildlife calms down and life for them goes back to normal.