Up close and personal A challenge in relation to 'a day in the life of a grass snake'

Up close and personal is one of the challenges in relation to DMD604 and DMD605. The intention of the challenge is to get close to a wild animal and take an image of it, however, this proved to be quite difficult and needed more preparation.

A crow in the distant trees.

With the weather, lack of area knowledge and equipment, I found it difficult to find a wild animal to take an image of. For this specific challenge, I improvised and took close up shots of wildlife that I could get close enough to. This would enable me to still practise macro and close up photography, with wildlife that was either slow moving or not moving at all. There were birds that I had taken photographs of, however, the lens that I had used which was switched between the 18-55mm and the 75-300mm lens, were not capable of capturing a close up shot of these birds.

Black bird about to fly away, shot at 300mm on a cloudy, rainy day.

Practising this challenge enabled me to understand what equipment I needed to suit my needs as a photographer and the list of equipment I needed is as shown: Binoculars, to enable me to spot where the birds are, 70-300mm lens with Image stabilizer as the current 75-300mm lens do not and I shake, therefore, it makes it difficult to take a photograph with these lens without a tripod. Waterproof clothing for days such as the day I had taken these photographs as it was raining, a lens bag for the 75-300mm lens as this would be more convenient to switch between the two lenses rather than carry a camera bag, lens tube extender so that I am able to reach further with the 300mm lens and to eventually upgrade in the future for future projects, a lens that is capable of reaching much further such as 800mm. I am also interested in purchasing grad filters and 10-22mm lens for those wide angle shots.

A birds nest

With it being a dull day when taking these shots, it made the subject dark and the lighting was not very good. In future, I will be checking the weather in advance to know when the best days are to shoot wildlife so that I can get the full colour and effect of the image.

What looks like a hole made by an animal that was not seen.
A close-up of a snail on a tree, photographed at different perspectives and angles, whilst testing aperture and exposure.

The closest subject to a wild animal that I could get to was a snail spotted on a tree, which ended up being one of my favourite shots and I enjoyed testing different angles. Learning from previous challenges, such as the focal point, the aperture and exposure, I managed to get a sharp image and the focus on the main subject (snail). Because I was able to practise my previous mistakes on this snail and on other subjects close-up such as plants, leaves and a black bird, I am more competent in understanding what equipment I need to use in the future and what photographic techniques I need to apply, for the day when I do capture a wild animal shot. Even though I did not get my intended close up of a wild animal, being able to practise on subjects that are still a part of wildlife, improved my skills and understanding entirely. I now understand that I need to plan and prepare for my final shots of a grass snake, and because of my knowledge of equipment and photographic abilities, I will hopefully, not miss an opportunity now that I have a better understanding.

When trying to take photographs of moving animals or insects, I have learned that it is best to take multiple shots at one time to ensure that you capture the image, however, I found when doing this that the image would blur on some occasions. I have learned that I need to change my shutter speed in order for me to capture multiple photographs of a moving animal or insect. As well as this, it is important to set your focal point and exposure before shooting as I have learned from trying to take a photograph of a gull that was in motion in the sky, as this was overly exposed and I did not manage to capture the shot of the gull. This is an error I am aiming to not make in the future for my projects, as this can be highly disappointing when an opportunity as arisen and your equipment is not prepared beforehand.

Below are some more images of close-up wildlife photography that I managed to capture and practise different techniques with.

More close-up practise with focal point, exposure, aperture and shutter speed.
Created By
Nikki White


Nikki White Photography

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