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September 2017 Issue
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Coastal wildlife

Yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho, Otago Coastline. Photo: Richard Young
Tips for capturing our amazing coastal wildlife

Find some wildlife

Knowing where to find your subject always helps; whether it’s seals on a rocky shoreline, penguins walking up a sandy beach to their nest in the forest, or some of the many birds that migrate along our coastline. Time of the day and year also dictate which species you will find.

Know your subject

The key to great wildlife photography is capturing fleeting moments of natural behaviour. It pays to observe your subject, getting to know its behavioural patterns so you can predict what it will do next. Keep your distance so you don’t alter that behaviour – getting too close will stress animals and see them running away.

Capture their environment

A close-up shot could just as well be taken at a zoo, so try to show the animal within its natural environment and the landscape where it lives. Make sure you also take the time to just sit there and enjoy the privilege of observing an animal in its natural environment.

Get your settings right

Use a fast shutter speed to capture any movement – this is also important when using long lenses as any vibration in the camera will be magnified. The focal point of your image should be the eyes – they need to be sharp and in focus. To achieve this, set your camera to single point focus and ensure the focal point is on the eyes.

Camera settings:  300mm lens, ISO 800, f6.3, 1/250 second