Wildlife Photography Tips


10 Simple Wildlife Photography Tips


I didn’t start out as a wildlife photographer (or maybe I did, depending on your definition of “wildlife”).


My first professional photography job, way back in 1996, was shooting rock bands in concert for Rolling Stone. I had bought my first “real” camera less than a year earlier. When they called me out of the blue– a fluke, because I was the only photographer in Atlanta shooting the first show of Sonic Youth’s post-Lollapalooza tour– I thought it was a joke. But I shot, reviewed and interviewed dozens of artists for them over the next two years, ultimately helping to launch my career as a full-time freelancer.


In retrospect, rock stars and wild animals had more similarities than I initially thought. Both are unpredictable, existing in wildly varying light conditions. With rock concerts, you have less than 10 minutes to get the photos you need; with animals, you often have less than 10 seconds before the action is over. Both require a mixture of patience, focus, an ability to anticipate action and react quickly.


By the turn of the century I’d taken major press trips to Costa Rica and Denali National Park and had a life-changing experience in South Africa, beginning my gradual transition from pop culture critic to ecotourism-focused travel writer. I took a few photography courses and began honing my skills as a nature photographer. But the best practice I got came from actually working in the field.


What follows are 10 of the most useful Wildlife Photography Tips we’ve picked up over the years, including examples of how they can help you improve your own wildlife photos.

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Tarangire National Park Entrance. Tanzania

Exploring Tanzania’s Magical

Tarangire National Park


In Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, it’s the Monkeys you have to watch out for.


Sure, there’s a poisonous green Boomslang perfectly poised to strike in a tree by the restroom. There are massive piles of dung strewn about, suggesting that Elephants could stroll through at any minute. And the golden grass that surrounds the picnic area is tall enough that a hungry Lioness could jump out while you’re taking pictures of the colorful Splendid Starlings flitting in and out of thorn-laden Acacia trees.


Boomslang Snake in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

The Highly Venomous Boomslang, Which Lays Its Eggs in Hollow Trees


But the monkeys? They’re pure trouble waiting to happen. This point is illustrated less than 15 minutes into our arrival at Tarangire, as travelers tuck into their lunch boxes while our respective guides register with the National Park staff.


The German couple at the next table is distracted by an adorable family of Banded Mongooses searching for insects in the underbrush across the road: She’s taking pictures while he watches. He moves less than 3 feet from their table, turning his back for a mere moment.


Tarangire National Park Vervet Monkey

Banana Thief, Caught in the Act


It’s enough time for an opportunistic Vervet Monkey to streak like a blaze, leap atop their table, grab the tantalizing banana left sitting unattended and make his way to the other side of the picnic area before the hapless tourist even realizes what’s happened.


He gorges himself hungrily on his pilfered prize, posing proudly in a nearby tree, his brilliant blue genitalia on full display. To the victor go the spoils…

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Lake Atitlan, Guatemala by chensiyuan via CC

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala by chensiyuan via CC

21 Reasons Traveling to Guatemala is Addictive


Guatemala, unlike any other place I’ve been, seems to hypnotize the travelers who brave its borders. Despite being flagged as a risky location by various embassies worldwide, this country welcomes more than 1.3 million international visitors per year. Amazingly, many of them wind up deciding to stay.


Some of us simply loiter, taking advantage of cheap housing, cost of living and Spanish classes. Some of us pick up work-trade agreements at hostels in paradisiacal locations, unwilling to leave when there is such an easy way to stay. There are also an unheard-of bevy of volunteering opportunities and causes to which we devote ourselves.


I’m currently on my fourth long-term stint in Guatemala, but this time I’ve come with an eye on buying property. After spending three of the last five years here, I’ve simply accepted the place as my home base– an odd but arguably understandable choice of safe haven. The truth just can’t be denied: Traveling to Guatemala is totally addictive. Here’s why it keeps me coming back for more…

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Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Grizzly Bears

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center


One of Alaska’s biggest draws is their wealth of spectacular wildlife. At the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, jaws tend to drop in awe… even those of longtime Alaskans who’ve studied Grizzly Bears and other native animal species up close.


With its mission to provide a refuge for orphaned, injured and ill animals who can’t survive in the wild, this is Alaska’s #1 wildlife attraction.


Set on the shores of Turnagain Arm, where it’s surrounded by soaring mountains and glistening glaciers, the center provides a perfect setting in which to learn about Alaskan wildlife and experience some of North America’s most majestic creatures up close.

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Kayaking out of a sea cave on Gozo Island

Exploring Gozo Island

Malta’s Fragile Paradise


Adventure lovers, brace yourselves. I’m going to tell you about Gozo Island, a pristine paradise in the Mediterranean where you can hike, bike, climb, dive and abseil, all within 26 square miles.


You can wake up in the morning and go for a Scuba dive, exploring some of the most unusual rock formations in the Mediterranean. After lunch you can go for a bike ride, and finish the day off with a couple of rock-climbing pitches at sunset.


The nature is unspoiled, the locals are friendly and, unless you visit in the height of summer, there are very few visitors around. Sounds like a dream, right?

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba