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Eric Dresser Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photography
Know Your Subject

Take Only Photos
Leave Only Tracks

Finding Wildlife Subjects

I'm often asked, "how do you find the wildlife that you photograph?" I would need to write a book in order to thoroughly explain, but I'll try to keep it short.

At least 95 percent of my wildlife photos are taken within an hours drive of my home. The reason is quite simple; I can spend much more time in the field if I am not driving all over the countryside. Also, I am much more familiar with areas near my home and therefore have a better idea of where to look for certain species.
backlit bugsWildlife comes in many forms and can be found within a short distance of nearly anyone's home, even in your own backyard. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and various song birds lead the list of nature's creatures that can be easily observed and photographed in your yard. It can be as simple as erecting a bird feeder and filling it with sunflower seed during the winter months, or for the more ambitious, an elaborate garden pond surrounded by hummingbird and butterfly-attracting flower beds. Many excellent books which go into depth on the subject of attracting wildlife to our backyards can be purchased from bookstores or feed stores.
While I do enjoy feeding and observing birds in the backyard, my favorite areas for observing wildlife include farmland, beaver ponds, and forests of all sizes. If the land that you would like to explore is not state owned, be sure to ask permission whether or not the land is "POSTED". I have found that most landowners will allow permission to explore their land when asked. Landowners' wishes should always be respected, and they should be fully informed of our intentions. A basic knowledge of local hunting seasons should be gained for obvious safety reasons. Any store that sells hunting licenses will have an annual hunting syllabus with all the seasons listed.
Once in the field we must learn to slow our pace. To this day I must remind myself to slowred squirrel and deer tracks down. As my dad always told me, "with every step you take, a new window of view is opened". By walking slowly and stopping often I find many inconspicuous subjects that would have certainly been overlooked had I hurried through an area . It is easier to distinguish the subtle movements of creatures in the field when we remain stationary. On the other hand, if we are constantly moving wildlife will be much more likely to detect our presence and vanish before we catch a glimpse; their existence demands that. It must be remembered that we are now in the home of nature's creatures and they will detect things which look out of place as easily as we do in our own homes.
hiding hareLearn to look for things which appear out of the ordinary. Tall grass or brush which moves on a calm morning or the flick of a deer tail. That small patch of color may be unsightly litter or it may be a beautiful wildflower. "Seeing" is a matter of being observant and picking out subtle details. It takes more than good eyesight and can only be developed through concentration and experience.
Spending as much time as possible out-of-doors is the best tip that can be offered to those wishing to take a closer look at wildlife. Whether observing or photographing wildlife, luck is the product of persistence. Through experiences gained you will develop favorite strategies of your own for photographing wildlife. You will also become more familiar with your area and will soon learn the travel patterns and favored locations of local wildlife. Move slowly and be observant; taking notice of tracks, droppings, food sources, dens, nests, and wildlife sightings. When combined, these will offer the clues needed to choose a productive area for future ventures.

More Photography Tips Below:
Getting Started / Blinds / Getting Published / Finding Wildlife / Bird Tips / Birds in Flight
Duck Tips / Insect Tips / Mammal Tips / Deer Tips / My Equipment / Used Equipment

Notice! Contents of this web site may not be copied or downloaded for any purpose.
All photos and content Copyright Eric C. Dresser / Eric Dresser Wildlife Photography.

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