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Themes : Wildlife

Landscape photography presents one type of challenge. In order to take advantage of the early morning or late evening Moments of Light you might need to get up early or stay out late. The same holds true for wildlife... not for the lighting conditions, but because many wild animals are more active early in the morning or just before sundown.

To become a truly expert wildlife photographer you will really need to study wildlife. Pick an animal and learn its behavior patterns. What does it eat? Where is it found? What are its habits? It can be hard enough to take a good picture. Trying to find your subject at the same time makes it that much more challenging.

You will also need to consider your equipment. For birds or smaller animals a larger and faster lens is helpful. Faster film is a less expensive route to consider as well.

But you didn't come here to read about this stuff, you probably came to see pictures. So, on with the show!

"Caiman in the Weeds"
Bermuda Zoo, Bermuda
Big Picture

This particular wildlife photo did not require getting up early, staying out late, or buying any particular equipment. It is a caiman from the Bermuda zoo. Does this qualify as wildlife? That's probably more of a philosophical question which will be discussed on our Soapbox area that will be launched later this year.

Caimans are more closely related to alligators than crocodiles. Although you can't see it in this picture, a caiman (and its cousin the alligator) will have a U-shaped nose rather than the crocodile's more pointed V-shaped nose.

More pictures of Bermuda wildlife...

"Yawning Fox"
Prospect Park, Colorado

Sometimes the line between tame and wild is blurred, even when the animal does not live in a zoo. For example, this fox is just waking up and starting her morning patrol. She lives in a park that is inside city limits in Wheatridge, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Prospect Park is a wonderful place, and many city residents take advantage of the jogging and biking trails. The foxes that live there - and there are quite a few - are very used to people coming and going, and as a result it is often easy to get closer than you could if she were truly wild.

"Mountain Goats on Mount Evans"
Mount Evans, Colorado
Big Picture

This is another animal that has probably become accustomed to human presence. The slopes of Mount Evans, Colorado are home to both bighorn sheep and mountain goats. We found this herd of goats and climbed up on a rock to take pictures. We were very lucky... the herd was grazing in our direction. These two goats - a mother and her fresh kid - happened to walk right past where we were positioned to take pictures.

Because of the number of tourists that drive up to the summit of Mount Evans, these goats are used to having their picture taken. That doesn't mean that they are tame! But just like the foxes of Prospect Park, you can get great photographs fairly easily. We have several more pictures of these beautiful animals here.

"Captive Mountain Lion"
Denver Zoo, Colorado
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Studying an animal's habits is a good way to start learning where you should go in order to get pictures. The next step is to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. For that reason, many wildlife photographs that you see are taken with captive animals.

We have never seen a mountain lion (also known as the cougar or puma) in the wild. And we're not sure that we would enjoy it if we did. This picture was taken in the Denver zoo.

"Coyote in Winter"
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Big Picture

Another way to get good wildlife pictures is to know their habitat. That's how we got the picture of the mountain goats shown above. Another way is to understand their environment. Most people don't go to Yellowstone in the winter as most of the park is closed. But the parts that you can get to are often flooded with wildlife. The winter snows drive the various inhabitants of the park down into the more sheltered valleys for survival.

Like this coyote here. We spotted her about 30 to 40 yards off of the main road. When we stopped, she stopped as well. We were able to get some nice pictures until she got bored and walked off.
Finally, one of the first (and still favorite) wildlife photos that we took is from another visit to Prospect Park (Colorado), this time in the winter. This lovely fox was trotting down the path and stopped to look off to the side. While she was posing we got this picture. We generally crop this picture and display it in a long, narrow frame to enhance the perception that there is something just off the picture that holds her interest.

"Winter Fox"
Prospect Park, Colorado

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