Keeping safe on both sides of the lens

WildSafeBC's official photographer Peter Sulzle

Shooting wildlife with either a video camera or using a still camera requires a good understanding of both your equipment and the subjects you are shooting. By planning your shoot ahead of time you'll stay safe and so will your subjects.

By understanding all you can about wildlife you can better judge what an appropriate course of action around that animal is. Not only should you know what the approriate distance to stay from your subject is, you should know things like:

  1. How long to stay with a subject.
  2. What time of day or season is your subject more susceptible to stress.
  3. How to adjust your shooting when other photographers may be present.

The answers to all of the above questions will of course vary with the animal, the area, the time of year, the amount of pressure from other photographers and a whole host of other considerations.

Our official photographer, Peter Sulzle, who is a true master of the craft has a couple of hints for those starting out in the business:

  1. Use a long lens. The more distance you can keep between you and the subject the better it is for the both of you. You stay safe and the subject is not stressed by your presence.

  2. Don't pursue your subject. Wait and have it move towards you.

  3. Be patient. You're not going to get that perfect shot every day. Take your time and wait. If you're stressed and rushing about your subject will sense that and will likely not give you the shot you want anyhow.