Wildlife photography can be a major commitment of time and energy, and before you head out on a day’s (or night’s) shoot you need to make sure you’re fully prepared. That means not only packing your kit bag properly but also making sure you’re dressed for the occasion.
1. A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JACKET
Your parents always told you to wrap up warm, and this advice goes double if you’re planning on spending an evening lying in the mud waiting to see a badger. There are plenty of jackets on the market designed specifically for photographers, with extra capacity for items like cards and batteries. We’d recommend checking out Stealth Gear, whose photographer’s jacket is favoured by many outdoorsy photographers.
This is often something that doesn’t occur to the intrepid photographer until he or she is halfway out of the door, but cold hands make it rather difficult to operate a camera. Obviously you’re not going to be able to use a DSLR in a pair of woollen mittens, so look into thinner gloves designed for dexterity as well as warmth. Some are even designed to be compatible with touchscreens.
3 A STURDY CARBON FIBRE TRIPOD
A sturdy tripod is a must, but consider the fact that you may need to carry it around for quite a distance before you get to a position where there’s something worth seeing. This means that weight is also a factor, meaning it’s probably more sensible to go for a carbon fibre model.
4 A BEANBAG
There are also likely to be situations where you need more compact lens support than a tripod, and this is where a decent beanbag can come in handy. Rest it on a log, rest the lens on top and you’ve sorted yourself a quick makeshift support.
5 SPARE CARDS AND BATTERIES
Should go without saying, but so often doesn’t. If you’re going to be away from home and waiting for a fleeting single moment of animal behaviour that may never be repeated then, for the love of god, take spare batteries. Take spare cards. Take several of each. Grab a handful and stuff them in your pockets. It could stop you from feeling very sorry for yourself in the event of a sudden power failure or card corruption.