Some of the best photographic opportunities happen when you least expect them. In this video from John E. Marriott, he shares valuable tips on how to always be prepared for the surprise wildlife photo of a lifetime.
The first step for capturing any split second rare image is to have your camera out of the bag and turned on. I’ve been guilty numerous times where I’d come upon wildlife in perfect light on my hikes but my camera was stored away in my bag. When this situation occurs it’s even more difficult to get set up because I have to move very slowly in order to not scare the animal away. And as you can imagine, by the time I get the camera out, turned on, dials set for the scene, and perhaps mounted on a tripod, I’m pointing the lens at an empty landscape.
In the video, Marriott takes this a step further and teaches how to be prepared even while driving out to your favorite wildlife spot.
Finally, Marriott suggests having your camera default settings optimized for the “worst case scenario.” He describes this as the times when there is very little light to work with and wildlife pops out. This means having your ISO at the limit of acceptable quality for the camera, aperture is set wide open, and the shutter speed dictated by aperture-priority mode. The resulting image may not be technically perfect, but with your camera at the ready, there’s at least a chance you’ll get something incredible instead of fumbling with gear and enjoying neither the moment with an animal or any photo to take home.