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Corbett — Clicking Perfect Photos

A picture is worth thousand words!!! And it is worth ten million words if it’s a wildlife photograph. Well, where else can you spot tigress protective of her kids, woodpecker at home, elephants in a jolly bath and all those extincting species, other than Corbett National Park. Imbued with widespread flora and fauna, the animals of the park hold good scope for your camera. The role of photography in capturing rarest of the rare moments in wild is incomparable; most of these memoralias can’t be recreated. While photography is universally essential, wildlife photography is tricky as well as scientific. Every effort on wildlife photography front need sufficient care, as even a minor error may turn dearer.

The medium speed films are advantageous due to the quality of enlargement, one may use them with wide aperture lenses (up to 200mm), quite sufficient for most, purposes, but one should be aware of extremely shallow depth of field at wide apertures, even when the subject is at some distance, it is a handicap e.g. while photographing heard of Chital or Gaur, a short focal lens will inevitably result in foregrounds animals seeming to be twice at large than those behind, on correcting the fault with long focal lens, some animal will be out of focus due to shallow depth of field. Thus fast films which allow stopping down; the role of photography in capturing rarest of the rare moments in wild is incomparable, most of these memoralias are non-recreateable. While photography is universally essential wildlife photography is tricky as well as scientific. Every effort on wildlife photography front need sufficient care, as even a minor error may turn dearer. 

Some useful tips for wildlife photography are:-

A. ‘Shoot on a sight’ is the crux of wildlife photography as ‘one can’t recreate the moment which has passed through the eyes of the SLR’s lenses once.’

B.‘Patience’ is the name of game’, as it is far away from the studio situation, rarely one can find his object in the appropriate picture conditions, hence one has no control on his object, at any moment of time.

C.The local climate in the wild is unpredictable, as one may not find appropriate light or may encounter unmanageable shade. Any; sophisticated camera may face hardships.

D. Maximization of exposures is essential, as any economy in this matter may turn dearer and cost heavily, as even a perfect click may not rescue one, exposure variations rarely come proximate to near perfection.

E. Reassure yourself, forget about, any risk to life, “pick up the cameras! Shoot on sight! The moment lives, the memory lives!; and the animal lives too”.

F. While moving in the boat, or on motor vehicle or even on foot use of tripod is out of question, but often monopod, chest pod or some triangulated support can be used.

G. Even a minor shake may cause damages, hence one should be careful in hand holding of long lenses without the least camera shake and consider high shutter speed, fats film and lenses of modest focal lengths.

H. While using colour films a shutter speed of 1/250 second is recommended, with monochrome film it is other way round as much fuller exposure is necessary for a good picture.

I. When photographing over a broad sheet of; water (Periyar) or in a low vegetation broad plain (Corbett Plains), exposure should be kept to minimum.

J. In the wild one cannot choose the background but a little shift in camera may create an ideal background, but the cardinal principle is ‘time is precious’ but do not miss the opportunity to shoot the wildlife.

K. As the animal get alarmed, even by the mere presence, prudence lies in shooting first and thinking afterwards.

L. ‘Camera Shake’ is a common phenomenon as even a perfect holding of camera may not help, vibration of motor in Van/Jeep/Motor Boat or while on elephant ride (even when it get stopped by its mahout) diminishes chances of sharp picture, hence it is recommend that one should take as many pictures as one can, be lavish in using films as at least one out of 4 frames will ensure good picture.

M.Early development of exposed film is recommended as humidity is quite damaging to both exposed and unexposed films, and one should not forget to keep films in air tins with some desiccated silica gel.

N.The medium speed films are advantageous due to quality of enlargement, one may use them with wide aperture lenses (up to 200mm), quite sufficient for most, purposes, but one should be aware of extremely shallow depth of field at wide apertures, even when the subject is at some distance, it is a handicap e.g. while photographing heard of Chital or Gaur, a short focal lens will inevitably result in foregrounds animals seeming to be twice at large than those behind, on correcting the fault with long focal lens, some animal will be out of focus due to shallow depth of field. Thus, fast films which allow stopping down; and stilling use a lens of adequate focal length is the logical answer.

O. High shutter speed (1/1000) is best for flight pictures of birds and fast running animals, while shutter speed 1/250 will usually be safe with high speed films to be used.

P. While shooting from a vehicle it is advisable to stop and switch off the engine, just to reassure shake free pictures.

Q. A sufficient stock of desired films is recommended although all good quality films like Kodak, Fuji, and Sakura etc. are available in India in almost all the places.

R. ‘Jungle trips’ are quite dust prone, even the cameras are not spared, and hence routine cleaning is recommended.

S. To avoids frustration, one may carry a backup set of equipments to increase flexibility and ensure availability of a functional camera under odd circumstances (failure of the regular one).

T. It is better to keep few rolls ready for insertion into the camera by removing packing/ wrapper, as opportunity cost is very high in wildlife photography.

U. Those who can afford may use 16mm or 35mm video camera with portable tripods for ideal results, ‘panning’ should be done in the direction of movement of wildlife.

V. Often minute details are required, to ensure the same it is advisable to have a note book with exposure details (date, place, time, film used etc).

Thus wildlife photography is an absolute art which one can learn best in field situations and continuous efforts ensures success.

Still using a lens of adequate focal length is the logical answer.

Updated on August 2008