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Page 2 Art McLeod

Written By onci on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | 7:49 PM

Wildlife Photography-Don't forget to follow-up :):) By Art McLeod

I enjoy wildlife photography. I take avian photos as well, they are the most abundant subject around and available all year round but I have found wildlife a little trickier to track down. Some of my subjects I track down myself and sometimes I will go on a tip I have received from friends. I have found tips to be about a one in ten chance of seeing anything, but I follow up on most leads.

An example of my own find is the otter family that I came across a few years ago. I happened to see two otters swimming in a pond. It was late fall. I managed to get a few shots, long, but I took them anyway. I made note of this sighting and carried on.

The next summer I made a point of going back to that pond at least once a week, hoping to see them again. I did and they had a family. I made note of the time I saw them and checked the next day. Sure enough they were there again. I went at different times in the day and found that they were only active for about an hour in the morning and mid-afternoon. They were a pleasure to watch.

My point is, it never hurts to do a follow-up on a sighting. It could take weeks, months or years to get a certain capture, so be patient. I shot them using a Canon 30d and the Sigma 50-500 lens. I have the Canon 400 5.6 which I use for birds, bugs and fish, but I have found that the Sigma is a more versatile lens for wildlife.

The zoom is very important. I know a lot of photographers who had this lens and weren't satisfied with it, but I have had no problems with mine. I even dropped it on a ceramic tile floor and it still works great. I don't recommend this.

An example of a find from a tip is a fox den. They were a pleasure to watch as well. I have seen a couple of dens now and I have used the Sigma with the 40d for them. I have found that shooting in AV (aperture priority) and Evaluative Metering to be the best in these situations. I try to keep my ISO level at 200, sometimes bumping it up depending on the light. I have been shooting in Raw for about 4 years and I use Photoshop 7.0 for editing.

I have come across many different animals in my travels, but you won't see any if you don't spend the time out in the field. I have seen coyotes, foxes, bears, mink, otter, deer, elk and moose. Along with about 130 species of birds, all within about a 5 hour drive radius of my home in Southern Ontario. Patience is the key my friends, good luck and good hunting.

Art McLeod
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