When you look down on your subjects, it metaphorically feels like you’re looking down on them. This is often called ‘the zoo viewpoint’, and it’s not good.
Professional wildlife professional photographers will therefore go to terrific lengths to try to get as low down as possible. Every centimetre counts– the lower the much better. While I will be the very first to state that nature photography is an art type, and in art, there are no guidelines, this one is right usually.
If you’re brand-new to wildlife photography or are searching for more pointers and recommendations before heading away on safari, have a look at our Complete guide to wildlife photography.
Marsel van Oosten Photographing elephants in Zambia. The ground had actually been worn down by water from the Zambesi River, which triggered natural gullies.
As easy as this may sound, it’s frequently quite the difficulty to get an eye-level viewpoint. When photographing African wildlife, I am often in a vehicle and am for that reason slightly raised. I will be lower than eye level when shooting elephants and giraffes, but I will be looking down on lions and similar-sized animals.
I can’t just hop out of the car to lay flat on the ground as this would startle the wildlife and be possibly harmful. So, the majority of the time, I’ll remain in the vehicle and simply move even more away from my subject to reduce the angle of view.
Our guide to the Best budget telephoto lenses for wildlife is here to assist if you wish to photo wild animals but are worried about the expense.
Position yourself for low angles
A lot of animals are utilized to seeing lorries, however not the shape of a human. I have successfully photographed elephants, rhinos, tigers, and buffalo this way.
Marsel van Oosten Shooting from a Land Cruiser in Zambia.
For all shoots, I prefer automobiles with no door and no roofing system since often, if something big flies over, a roof is really going to obstruct your view. When you’re parking beneath a tree, since there’s a leopard in the tree, you don’t want a roof over your head. Entirely open automobiles are the best — the more open, the better.
Another trick is to utilize a sunken conceal. Conceal photography is a fantastic way to be inconspicuous and wait for the animal to get close to you. Sunken hides are almost like sea containers, which are just put in a hole, with just the top 10% standing out. That’s the idea. Often it’s fancier and it’ll be a whole structure developed with concrete or bricks, which is like a little room. But the idea is always to simply get you shooting as close as possible to ground level or water level.
Lion cubs drinking, Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa. Nikon D850, AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 1/320sec at f/5.6, ISO 3200. Image: Marsel van Oosten
When your conceal is next to a watering hole, animals will come to you. On one of those trips we invested a morning inside a small bird hide next to a little watering hole.
Then, all of a sudden, a little lion cub walked into our frame and started drinking, quickly followed by another one, and another, until there were six. Six little lions drinking less than 3 metres from our lenses! As this was an open conceal, the cubs could see and hear us but they were really unwinded. They were so close, that I might hear their small tongues lapping up the water– a memorable experience.