The Art and Skills of Digital Wildlife Photography – Mike Read

Mike Read with his wife, Liz, visited the club to talk about photographing wildlife. Obviously an experienced and dedicated nature lover, we were given some sound advice on the legalities of photographing wildlife, and in particular the penalties that you could incur should you not consider the welfare of the animal or bird you are choosing to photograph. Here in the UK, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 has a number of powers to protect the species within it’s list; fines, confiscation of equipment and prison have all been used. Many other countries have similar and more severe punishments.

Mike suggests you start by getting to know your camera, learn how to achieve good results at home, in your garden, put up bird feeders and stations, this will not only help the birds through the tough times, but you will get the chance to observe their behaviour and photograph them. As he also pointed out the more you know your species, the better your photographs are likely to become.

Once you are more proficient, start getting out further afield, our coast and woodland locally are a haven of wildlife so there are many opportunities to photograph, whether you choose to go to a hide that is set up for the job or just get out and about with your camera, remember to try different perspectives, focal lengths and shutter speeds, much easier now than in the days of film. Set yourself a project, which can really improve your images.

Throughout the evening, Mike was showing us an array of images from around the county, country, Europe and beyond. From gold finches in his garden, to coastal flowers, to bugs, butterflies and waders through to atmospheric misty mountain views. Something for everyone to try themselves, depending on where you can access some wildlife.

Rachel Cooper

I have been a club member for several years now and find I learn something whichever club event I attend. I enjoy the Studio Group evenings, but equally am happy photographing whatever the surroundings provide at home and out and about.

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