At first, it may seem that using a 35mm lens for wildlife photography is pretty counter intuitive. In fact, when I first started wildlife photography I was obsessed with big lenses, like the Canon 400 f 2.8, to get ‘as close as possible’.
The 'aHa!' moment came to me when I started to ask myself ‘what do I want to convey to my audience through my pictures?’
Through my pictures, I want people to feel a connection to Nature. One way to create a connection between your audience and your picture is to inspire the illusion that they are there. To do so, there are two powerful tools you can use:
_ Using a lens that has approximately the same compression of the human eye, and a 35mm lens is one of the closest compressions you can get.
_ We can’t be drawn into a picture if we don’t have an understanding of its context, like the setting of the picture. A long lens has too much compression to show the landscape around your subject, whereas a 35mm is the perfect match.
Dive into the picture!
Now that I have explained why I think there are great advantages to using a 35mm lens, you might be asking yourself, "how can I get close enough to animals in the wild so that my pictures with this smaller lens will turn out right?"
For this, there are several techniques:
-Be as stealthy as possible to get close enough to your subject. Some animals are less afraid than others of humans, especially in areas where they are used to seeing people, like a National Park. This is a good opportunity to get close to your subject without disturbing them or endangering yourself.
-Use a simple Remote Controller by placing your camera where you have a good chance to see animals and then waiting nearby for the right moment to 'click'!
-Using a DSLR Camera Trap. This is an option that can give you incredible images of very elusive animals. However, you should take into account that it usually requires a lot of gear and preparation.
-Use a Remote Controlled Car. This technique has been more and more commonly used over the last 5-10 years. It gives you the opportunity to take shots of animals you don’t want to be too close to.
To conclude my first post, I want to quote Robert Capa, a famous war photographer, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough."