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Composition Digital Field Guide by Alan Hess

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Chapter 13. Wildlife and Animal Photography

There are ample opportunities to photograph animals, from household pets to majestic lions, if you know where to look. Special photo safari tours get you up close with wildlife, or you can just hang out with your dog in a park. The zoo is one of my favorite places to photograph; in a matter of hours I can photograph a wide variety of animals and still be home in time for dinner. Photographing animals in captivity means dealing with fences, glass barriers, and fake backgrounds, but there are ways to make your shots look like the ones in the nature magazines.

Wildlife and Animal Photography

Shasta is a trained service dog and was a great model who held pose after pose for me. I had her sit up on a rock that gave me a background without any distractions. She was placed using the rule of thirds and I left space for her to move into. Taken at ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/60 second.

Composition Considerations

When it comes to shooting animals, both the domestic and the wild kind, it is very important to capture personality. This is one of the reasons that I always try to focus on the eyes of my subject (see Figure 13.1).

These zebras were shot at the zoo over a fence with a path in the background. The focus is on the eyes, the zebra is placed with space to spare and also fills the frame well, and the background doesn't distract at all. Taken at ISO 400, f/11, and 1/125 second.

Figure 13.1. These zebras were shot at the zoo over a fence with a path in the background. The focus is on the eyes, the zebra is placed with space to spare and also fills ...

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