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Categorized | Articles, John E. Marriott

Wild Side — How to Look Like a Fool at the Gas Station, but Get Great Shots in the Woods (preview)

©John E. Marriott Red-necked grebe with newborn chicks on a nest

©John E. Marriott
Red-necked grebe with newborn chicks on a nest

The first signs of spring herald an exciting time for wildlife photographers across the country. With every new leaf and sprig of green grass, we get closer and closer to the season’s inaugural appearance of the first adorable baby animal. Before long we’re out scouring the landscape from dawn to dusk hoping to score the next great shot of a baby coyote, a tiny fox pup or a cute little duckling as spring settles into summer. But it’s not all sunshine and roses for eager wildlife photographers at this time of year. In fact, this can be one of the most difficult times to turn your vision (whether it’s photographing that local badger den’s new babies or the neighbour’s owl nest full of fluffy owlets) into a reality, because the parents of all those baby animals are constantly on high alert watching for sneaky photographers trying to get too close to their young. As a result, wildlife photography of baby animals often fails to satisfy either the photographer or the subject if it’s not done properly. Nests get disturbed, dens get abandoned, animals get edgy and photographers get skunked. So I have a hard and fast rule that I stick to each spring and summer as babies emerge and join their parents on the landscape: I only photograph dens or nests if I’m sure I can do it without disturbing the occupants. To help accomplish this goal and increase my chances of getting shots while still arriving and departing without stressing the wildlife, there are a number of techniques and tricks that I employ …

To read more of John E. Marriott’s column and other great how-to articles please pick up the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of OPC today, or subscribe!

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