Wildlife shots are some of the most fascinating you can take. Each creature is an amazing miracle in itself, but to capture this on film and share the miracle with others is a wonderful experience. One thing about photographing wildlife is that it can’t be set up and posed. One can only sit patiently and wait in the hopes of getting that great shot. Of course, there are a few little things you can do to help.

If the wildlife is in your own backyard, you can place the appropriate food and water out to attract the wildlife. Keep it in the same place all the time so the animals get used to where it is. Only have one area of food/water; otherwise they’ll be sure to go to the other one just when you get set up. You can create a ‘hide’ from which to take the photos. It can be quite simple like a cushion behind a bush or large tub of flowers.

Practice all the time so that you are familiar with the workings of your camera. You don’t want to stop at the critical moment to read the instruction manual. Have all the necessary equipment at hand. If you must run indoors to get that special lens, the animal will probably not be there when you return.

Different wildlife will need different lenses. Tiny ones like bugs and mice will need a macro lens or macro setting on your digital.  A 60mm lens is small enough that you can move quickly; 100mm is a bit big and heavy for fast movement, but has a good focal length if fast movement is not required.

If you are out in the wild with your camera, you’ll need a zoom or telephoto lens, then there will be no need to get dangerously close to the animals. Distance will reassure them that they don’t need to flee to safety, so you’ll get more pictures. Always be aware of safety precautions. Become familiar with the animals habits so that you are less likely to get any nasty surprises, and more likely to get good shots by knowing where to find them and what mood they might be in.

Wildlife reserves are great places to get animal shots. At least you know that there are animals there. Many are confined by moats so you don’t have to dodge squares of wire fencing. A zoo is also a good place to practice. Morning, evening and feed time are when the animals are more active. Always remember to take a waterproof bag for your camera and gear in case of sudden rain.