Creating amazing wildlife photographs with unique back ground is all about how a photographer plans his photographic adventures. Wildlife photographers are constantly striving for amazing wildlife photographs. Its what pushes photographers to get out there and take more photographs. It what drives my guests/friends to come back year after year. To try and make photographs that are different from previous years.
This search for different photographs is what makes photographers venture to new destinations. Ultimately photographers are photographing the same species over and over again. An example are elephants. An elephant in Kruger, looks pretty much the same as an elephant in the Ngorongoro Crater. So its the different landscape that will ultimately differentiate images between these two regions. So a wildlife photographers focus needs to be the on the landscape that his subject occurs in and not solely on the animal. There is a phrase to best represent these types images, Animalscapes. They are simply a photograph that best shows the environment or landscape that an animals lives in.
Amazing wildlife photographs with unique back ground, is not just about shooting wider
Often the perception with Animalscapes is that a photographer should just use a wide angle and include the environment. This idea may work, only because the main focus of the photograph is still the animal. Remove that and the image falls flat.
One of the stand out features of a truly great Animalscape photographs, is that you could remove the animal from the photograph and the photograph will remaining compelling. So a great landscape will provide an amazing backdrop for a wildlife photograph.
So find your Landscape first
There are places where animalscapes are really easy and the images that come from these regions are striking. Places like the Lower Zambezi NP or Mana Pools (depending on what side of the river your are) and Ngorongoro crater stand out. But any region has the potential for great animals cape photography. All we need to do is wait for an animal to enter the scene.
Landscape photographers are have this amazing most patience to wait in one location for the light to arrive. So one can understand that truly amazing animalscapes are few and far between. Because finding an animal in a great landscape when the light is golden is a tough ask at best. But these are the types of wildlife images that truly stand out.
On my *Instagram story a while back I did a quick calculation of the average focal length that was used to win the, Wildlife Photographer of the year award. few interesting facts came out, with the exception of one year, all the images were shot with a lens focal length less than 200mm. The excepting being in 2015 when Don Gutoski used a 400mm f/2.8 to photograph a Red fox with its Arctic fox kill. If I remove that single year, the average focal length of the winning photographs was (drum roll), 32mm. What this tells us is, that Animalscapes are eye catching and striking images. They have more impact on a viewer emotions than what a tight portrait could ever produce.
Let me also just state that a telephoto lens, is a great option for landscape/animalscape photography. Both the photographs that I have shared with this post have been taken with a telephoto lens. A telephoto, requires a photographers to back off from our subject.
I challenge you
Now the reality is that most wildlife photographers have day jobs. So spending any length of time at one spectacular landscape waiting for subject matter to walk into a frame when the sun is low to the horizon, is wishful thinking.
So my challenge to you is too go on your next wildlife photographic adventure and look for amazing landscapes in these wildlife areas. Wait let me rephrase that, change your focus from looking for the big and hairy animals. Too looking for any animal (even common antelope) in a great landscape setting with good light. This alone will provide amazing wildlife photographic opportunities and we all know what may come and eat the antelope. #justsaying …
P.S, you would probably want to read this as well. What wildlife photographers can learn from Landscape photography