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This post was edited by Ratfink at 2014-3-23 21:21|
The method is fairly simple, but difficult to get right unless you have "natural timing" and the right gear.
There are 6 key elements in such photography.
1) Long fast lenses.
2) Professional Digital camera body with a very short shutter lag
3) Tripod with gimble head (or ballhead in a pinch) or a monopod
4) A hide, a tent like enclosure used to hide in so as to not disturb the wildlife.
5) Patience, lots of it
6) Good luck. This in part derives from understanding the wildlife you are attempting to photograph.
A little explanation of the equipment.
Long fast lenses have the ability to take close up images from quite a few meters away. The larger lenses of 300mm to 1200mm focal length with fast apertures (eg 300mm f2.8, 400mm f2.8, 600mm f.4 etc) are called supertele's which is short for super telephoto lenses. Such lenses are very large, quite heavy and cost a lot of money. The images they provide when shot wide open, that is with the aperture diaphram wide open to let in the most light are usually compressed and have shallow depths of field. In laymans terms you can think of the depth of field as being the zone between the closest part of the object that is in full focus to the furthest point that is in full focus.
Shutter lag is the time taken from pressing the shutter release to the activation of the shutter. On phone cameras it can be a second or so, many small digicams are around 200~500 milliseconds and professional camera bodies are usually better than 15 milliseconds including the time needed for the camera to "wake up" from being powered on.
Support for a long lens is essential. A ballhead is the standard head in professional photography while a gimble head is a two axis head (horizontal turning, plus azimuth or up and down tilting). A gimble head allows the photographer to balance the lens and body and to track a flying object or fast moving object quickly. The downside is gimble heads are quite large, heavy and good ones while not cheap are a necessity for long lenses. There are some lighter gimble mounts that are designed to be used by attaching it to a ballhead. These are generally light duty and not suitable for lenses over 300mm f2.8 as they flex too much.
A hide is like a tent that allows a photographer to sit on a stool and hide from wildlife. They are favoured by serious bird watchers when dealing with water birds as human movement can cause the birds to become very cautious and fly away. The downside to a hide is they are hideously hot in summer and they are usually cramped, quite uncomfortable and there's no toilet facilities, it's a case of peeing in to a bottle. Bowel movements are not reccomended nor are foods that produce wind (gas), as the results can and will be hard on the nose. In some swamps and lakes around the world there are larger permanent hides built by bird watching clubs and local authorities.
Patience. You need lots and lots of this. The ability to spend all day lurking and waiting for that perfect shot is what's needed. Sometimes you may wait weeks or even months to get a perfect shot. It should be noted that you can't listen to a radio as it will scare away the wildlife. Many professional photographers don't even use an Ipod as they just concentrate non stop on following wildlife from the hide.
Of all of the shots shown the first shot is the most difficult to achieve. It's used a slowish shutter second which has left the birds head a blur of motion, yet it was fast enough to nearly freeze the water drops. The rest of the shots are down to timing and being in the right place at the right time, or waiting patiently till something interesting happens.
The snake and bird, I am still not 100% certain that the shot may not be staged or PhotoShopped, I'd need to see a far larger image to be 100% positive.