Improve your situational awareness to get better wildlife photography images

Great images come from great opportunities and those opportunities come from spending time in the field. However there’s more to it than that. In this video, Adrian Cho explains how situational awareness can help you make the most of your time in the field by helping you to get better at discovering opportunities and identifying the best ones. After describing the concept, he recommends three ways to boost your situational awareness.

 

The emotional element in wildlife photography

When we consider all the things we need to do in order to be good at wildlife photography, mostly what we talk about is skills and knowledge. In this video, Adrian Cho agrees that those things are important but what’s often missing is that many photographers don’t think much about how they feel about a moment or an image or how they want the viewer to feel. This is an important consideration and Adrian argues that by letting your feelings come through in your work, it will help you to develop your individual style and that’s really important.

 

 

 

Which camera settings are really important for wildlife photography?

There’s an overabundance of settings on modern cameras but which ones are really important for wildlife photography? In a follow-up to a previous video about how he avoids many of the automatic features on his cameras, Adrian Cho talks about some of the camera settings he relies on when he photographs wildlife. This is a short video as Adrian believes his setup is pretty straightforward.

How much control should wildlife photographers give over to their cameras?

Our modern cameras are like computers with so many features that can help you take better photos. But how much should you trust the camera to do the work for you and how much control should you retain? In this video Adrian Cho talks about how he uses his cameras for wildlife photography. He shoots fully manual exposure, rarely uses tracking autofocus, and considers many of the “auto” features of the camera to be helpful but not to be relied upon. As he acknowledges, this is just his approach and not necessarily for everyone and it’s clear that this approach also requires a lot of practice to hone technique which he does mention.

 

Could Canon’s rumored f11 long primes bring more people into wildlife photography?

Based on a patent filed by Canon, there are now rumors that the company is working on 600 and 800mm f11 long primes incorporating Diffractive Optics (DO) technology that would help make the lenses even and smaller. If the rumors prove true and Canon does release these lenses, while they would not be as versatile as big-aperture primes such as 600 f4 and 800 f5.6, they have the potential to introduce many more people to wildlife photography.

In this video, Adrian Cho talks about what these lenses might mean for wildlife photographers and for Canon.

Olympus for wildlife photography

Choosing camera gear for wildlife photography is often a big decision because of the cost involved and also the possibility of getting locked into a particular platform. Olympus is unique in offering a very specific set of camera gear with pro-level features, ergonomics, and responsiveness. With it use of the smaller micro four-thirds sensor, it presents significant advantages for traveling and hiking because the lenses, especially those with greater focal lengths, are smaller and lighter than lenses with equivalent reach built for full-frame or APS-C sensors. However, as Adrian Cho points out in this video, there is a price to pay for using this smaller sensor, just as there is a price to pay when using a full-frame higher resolution sensor.

 

Why use Sony for wildlife photography and what about Canon’s upcoming EOS R5?

When it comes to gear, there are so many options out there for wildlife photographers to choose from.

Adrian Cho strongly believes that there is no one system for everyone and that each system and each piece of gear has its pros and cons. In this video he responds to a question about why he uses Sony gear and give five reasons behind his decision. He also talks about the upcoming Canon EOS R5 and how it may or may not be an option for wildlife photographers with the bottom line being that it is too early to tell at this stage since there is so much that is unknown about the camera.

 

Is 400mm long enough for wildlife photography?

Every wildlife photographer needs at least one long lens because most wildlife is often at a distance and often it is best to photograph them at a distance, even if it’s possible to get closer, because the subjects will be more comfortable. There’s also the issue with proximity to dangerous animals.

A big question for many wildlife photographers is whether 400, 500, 600mm, or even more is necessary.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Adrian Cho talks about his experiences with Sony’s 400 GM lens as well as the issue of 400 vs 600mm for wildlife photography.

 

 

Making the most of color in wildlife photography

Nature offers up an incredible palette of colors. In this video, Adrian Cho talks about some of the fundamental ways to consider color when composing wildlife photography portraits. Although Adrian intended this as an introduction to the topic, he still manages to cover many important topics such as complementary colors, leveraging a single color, using color in high-key and low-key images, and using color to convey emotion.

 

Have you tried black and white for your wildlife photography?

In this video, Adrian Cho makes a case for why you might want to try working with the black and white medium for your wildlife photography. He talks about seeing and thinking in black and white and rendering and editing in black and white, and how doing these things can even help you create better color images. During this lockdown time when many of us are not able to get out as much to photograph wildlife, he also suggests that a great activity is to revisit images we already took and see if we can make them stronger in black and white.

 

Embracing difficult lighting in wildlife photography

Here’s a video that every wildlife photographer should watch if difficult lighting situations are a concern for them. Adrian Cho talks about how to deal with various difficult lighting scenarios including low light and harsh light, directed lighting such as backlighting and sidelighting, low key and high key, and more. Adrian’s point is that if you only ever shoot when the light is soft and constant, a lot of your images will start to look the same and you may miss a lot of opportunities.