RESEARCH ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR
If you’re heading out with a particular animal in mind, it pays to have done your research. Know the animal’s behaviours, know its habits, and you’ll be much more likely to get the shot you want. Especially important is to know the time of day when you’re most likely to see the animal – hares, for instance, are most active at dawn and dusk.
CHECK THE WEATHER
If you’re going to be sitting out for several hours (and you probably are), try not to be doing it in the rain. Apart from anything else, it’ll mean you’re much less likely to see the animal you want. Similarly, many animals may stay in the shade when faced with strong, direct sunlight, A slightly overcast day offers a good happy medium – keep an eye on the forecast.
CONSIDER A HIDE
Hides are portable tent-like covers that you can use to conceal your presence near an animal’s habitat – if you want shots of particularly reclusive animals they are well worth seeking out. You may need to set one up and leave it unattended for several days to allow the animals to acclimatise to its presence, so make sure you know who owns the land you want to shoot on and speak to them if necessary.
WORK ON YOUR PATIENCE
One vital thing to come to terms with early is the fact that your wildlife photography is going to involve waiting. A lot of waiting. Wild animals are skittish, and absolutely cannot be rushed into making an appearance. You’re going to need to wait for them to come to you rather than going to them, and this will likely involve many hours staying still, and you may spend those hours in vain when the animal doesn’t appear. Accept that frustration comes with the territory, and focus on your successes rather than your failures.