WILDLIFE Photography: Talent, Practice and a Dash of Luck

I definitely got lucky with this photo of a squirrel sitting in the sun. It really couldn’t have been better posed for me. The location was perfect, even the morning sun was coming in at just the right angle to make things look great.

10% Talent, 75% Practice, 15% Luck

It wasn’t just luck of course. I was out there with my camera looking for things to take of. I’d already dialed in a lot of my settings. I knew this was an area (, a favorite spot of mine) and time of day where wildlife is often out and about, and I’d put my telephoto lens on with that in mind.

So I was definitely ready to take this shot, and more than that, I’ve taken quite a lot of squirrel photos at this point, so I’m becoming aware of what usually messes them up. In most cases it’s either that I missed my focus point or the speed was just too slow leading to blur. So I’ve gradually backed off on my obsession with low and zero noise because let’s be honest a little bit of grain really isn’t that big a deal. Most of it can be dealt with afterward anyway.

And there’s the other piece. I know there are a lot of photographers who focus on OOC (Out of Camera). They are clearly much more talented and much more practiced than I. For me, post production work is essential to take what I see in my head and make it visible to everyone else. Of course it helps that I actually enjoy messing around on computers. and (or your preferred alternatives) require just as much talent, practice and luck as the camera itself does.

The unedited image. Still a nice shot I think, but it doesn't have the same oomph.

It’s not uncommon that I’ll come away from a walk with a bunch of photos that are okay, but disappointing. The light was wrong, the animal turned its back etc. That’s where luck comes in. But if you’re not out their practicing, you won’t be able to take advantage of luck when it strikes.

Oh, and notice I didn’t mention the camera at all and barely mentioned my lens. Certainly those can help increase your chances of a good photos, but at this point with the quality of photos you can get from even a phone, it’s a marginal factor.

What’s the point of this little ramble? Pick up your camera, go out and take photos!

Leave a Reply