One of the ways to take pictures of wildlife is to do it on the fly. That means that you take a picture without any preparation or pre planning. It also means that you will likely be taking a picture through the windshield of your car or truck. And of course the problem here is that your windshield is often covered with bugs, or it has a big crack in it. Sometimes you get lucky and are able to take at least an interesting photo through the front windshield.
The best way to take wildlife photos is to find out where the wildlife you want to take pictures of hang out and then you insert yourself into their environment and when they appear, you start shooting your best photos ever. If you have a blind or at least camo clothing, and a tripod you are all set. It also helps if you have a good camera and a long lens. If you are taking pictures of dangerous game, many photographers also carry a shotgun or rifle or take along a companion for protection.
There are also drawbacks to the setting up to take pictures in a blind, just like hunting from a blind or tree stand, you don’t know when and if the game will appear. Sometimes you can spend a long time in a blind with no photos. I am pretty sure that is how photographers get pictures of flowers and small rodents. They get bored waiting for their target game and start shooting anything and everything. That’s okay because some of the best photos are taken spontaneously, of whatever subject is available.
In my area, I notice that my windshield is often cleaner in the Winter time. Mostly because in Winter I find the need to clean the windshield more often. Winter is also a great time to be out and about taking pictures. Sometimes some cameras seem to not work in the cold but for the most part it is often easier to get great shots or many species of wildlife. And although taking photos through your windshield is not the best case situation, sometimes if you don’t take the photo, you miss it. Try to get the truck stopped before taking the photo and try not to take a photo of your dash.
One of the best places to take photos of big game anytime of the year is in National parks. If you go for a drive or a walk in one of the National Parks, there is no telling what you may find. In my local National Park you can find Plains Bison, just about anytime of the year. Most of the time they think they own the road and maybe they do, they have been here since 1907. The parks department maintains a herd of Plains Bison in the park of about 450 head. When the herd gets bigger than that, they sell off some of the Bison, with the proceeds going to park management. This local National Park also has a herd or Woods Bison as well.
Sometimes you get lucky and you can get a picture a lot closer and without taking it through the windshield.
Sometimes your subject is just too small or far away and you start wishing that you had a longer lens on your camera. I am in the market for a longer lens, but I am pretty sure that you can have the longest lens in the world and it still won’t be long enough.
Photography courses also teach you to close the distance to get the shot, that when you get as close to the subject as you can with your lens, just walk up closer to your subject. Sometime that is just not good advise and may not be in your best interest. I really didn’t think I wanted to get any closer to these guys. I do wish I had a longer lens on my camera so that the shot would have been sharper.
If you get a chance this Winter get out and visit your nearest National Park and take some pictures. In Canada there is a yearly charge to use the National Parks. But the charge isn’t that high and is well worth the access to all of the parts and resident wildlife that lives in the parks. You never know what you will see.