Wildlife Composition Tips – Using Water

This is an Egret.  We call this one a White Egret.  During the breeding season, White Egrets develop fine plumes that we can see on this picture.  For most wildlife, the breeding season is great for taking picture of wildlife.  Seduction has its requirements!  Moreover, wildlife is less concerned by their surrounding and more interested by their mate at this time of the year.


If you plan time for wildlife photography, the breeding season is one to consider.

Here are some wildlife composition tips.

Most wildlife comes daily to the water.  Drinking and eating is on their agenda.  This is another important facet of wildlife you should take into account when planning for wildlife shooting.  Water creates great opportunities for picture-taking.  Not only because wildlife appearance is more prevalent but also because reflection in water of wildlife is much more interesting!

Find water and wildlife will come to you.

Wildlife is less likely to come to you begging for a picture.  Wildlife might be concerned by your presence, using a longer lens and a cropped sensor can help makes wildlife more interesting.  I took the picture with a Canon 7D.  The multiplication factor is 1.6.  The lens was a Canon 300mm f/4L.  This resulted in an effective focal length of 480mm.  Although the Egret was far away, across the pond, it is showing big on this picture.

Use longer lenses and a crop body

Since wildlife is mostly at a distance, only longer lenses will make some pictures possible.

Distances, longer focal length and a subject that is moving most of the time put much more pressure on shutter speed.  Using a tripod, increasing ISO and using a wider aperture do help making sharp pictures.  I took this picture at 1/640 seconds, f4 with the Canon 7D firmly anchored on a tripod.  The result is a sharp picture.

Increase your odds of a good picture by raising ISO, shooting wide open and using a form of support to prevent camera shake.

Wildlife photography could be either rewarding or a bad experience.  Some planning, proper equipment and using these wildlife composition tips can transform a bad experience in a rewarding one.