What it takes to get the shot: Wildlife and canine photography (part one of two)

Photographing animals, whether wild or domestic requires patience and an understanding of animal behavior so that you can predict how they will react and anticipate their movement to get the desired image. For example, when photographing dogs, it is expected that their tongues will be hanging out of their mouths, whether out of nervousness or the fact that they are hot. The only way to get that tongue back in their mouth is to cause a distraction, whether using sound or sight. It is a scientific fact that dogs can not focus in on something AND have their tongues hanging out. They close their mouths as they size up the situation in preparation for action. Knowing this, I have learned to make strange noises and carry toys that make unique sounds to get the dog to react how I want it to, i.e. tongue in, head cocked and ears up. Just remember, the more you know your subject, the better your photographs will be!

Besides having patience, knowledge of your camera settings, and basic understanding of animal behavior, it is imperative that you have the right gear to get the type of shots you envision. I am strictly a Canon girl! Not that I have anything against other camera brands, such as Nikon, Canon is what I have always used in my career as a photographer. Below I have listed cameras and lenses I have in my bag when I am photographing wildlife and animals in general.

This is my absolute favorite camera and there is good reason: It is blazingly fast with continuous shooting up to 14 fps and up to 16 fps in Live View Mode and has a 61-point AF system. This camera facilitates speedy operation with a mirror mechanism designed for highly precise performance, CMOS sensor that enables fast image capture and many more advanced features.

This is the lens I use 99.9 % of the time! It is very versatile and I use it primarily for wildlife and animal related photography and portraits. The Canon EF 200mm f/2.0L IS USM Autofocus Lens is an ultra-fast telephoto, is an honored member of Canon’s legendary L-series lenses, has optics designed for optimum image quality.  The speed of this lens is perfect for action shots both in wildlife, nature and in sports photography. The only downfall is the weight of the lens (5.56 lbs), which does not seem like a lot but it takes it’s toll after a day of shooting. Would I stop using this lens due to the weight? HELL NO!

All of the images pictured were photographed using the Canon products mentioned above. Stay tuned for part two for my photography tips and products I use for my wildlife/canine photography……