Wildlife photography is like a window into the soul of nature. Some of the best wildlife photographers in the field are those who have mastered the art of getting close to animals and yet keeping at a safe distance. The essence of mastered wildlife photography lies in respecting the relationship of the various elements of nature and the habitat.
While sometimes maintaining distance and getting close to nature can feel like a contradiction, it most certainly represents a tactful balance between the two. While in the case of larger predators, keeping a distance is a matter of personal safety, in most cases it is the human photographer that poses a larger threat to the intricacies of nature.
The best wildlife photographers are those who practice their art ethically. Here are some of the ways to practice ethical wildlife photography
Nature Always Comes Before Everything Else
A professional wildlife photographer should always take care to be a part of the environment they are photographing and not disrupt it. The photographer should put the utmost priority on the animals and the natural phenomena they may be trying to capture and then photography.
Wildlife Conservation and Photography Go Hand In Hand
It is the responsibility of the wildlife photographer to ensure that the animals they are seeking to capture get a chance to live in their natural habitats as they would without the presence of the photographer. Careful attention should be paid to leaving the animals free to go about their routines without attempting to manipulate the “perfect” shot.
Respecting Your Subjects
There are some circumstances in which wildlife should not be photographed. If the animals are likely to become anxious, may be physically threatened or may risk being harmed in any way, the animals need to be respected and given their space. Think of it like this: it’s just like respecting personal space and boundaries.
Before, after or during shooting, there may be a lot of disturbances that can occur which the photographer may be responsible for. The photography process should aim to reduce these disturbances as much as possible. Avoid the use of direct flash and ensure that artificial lighting is kept as far away from the subject as possible, if being used.
Do Your Research, Know The Rules
Every wildlife photographer should be well-versed in the subjects or flora and fauna, geology and zoology as well as other subjects related to the field. If not, they should at the very least be well-versed in the knowledge of the animal they are willing to shoot. Doing this can not only guarantee the safety of the animal and the natural habitat, but also the safety of the photographer.
It is also crucial to fully understand the regulations and laws of the area or country a photographer is shooting in well before going into the field and stick by them.
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