2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Shoot Photos Like a Pro: Wildlife

Capture great wildlife photos with patience and know-how regarding their movements and your camera.

by: Steve Howe

(Photo by Ken Archer)
(Photo by Ken Archer)

The secret to catching life-list animals on camera: patience. If you do get lucky, avoid startling the animal: Wear natural colors, avoid shiny items, and approach your quarry slowly, from downwind.

» Find the perfect backdrop first, then wait for a chance to place the animal in it. “If I see a mountain that I want, I’ll move myself to where I can frame the elk looking toward the mountain,” says wildlife photographer Ken Archer.

» Observe your subject until you can begin to predict its movements and behavior.
“The more time you spend with an animal, the better photo you’re going to get,” advises Archer. That way, you’ll be ready when the bull elk raises his head or the bear looks toward you.

» Remember the rule of thirds, and leave active space for the animal to look or move into (like the bull elk above).

» Use a 100-400mm zoom lens with the largest aperture you can. (Archer uses f/5.6 to f/11). This lets you shoot at faster speeds in low light, when many animals are most active.

» To catch an animal in motion, increase your shutter speed and pan along with it as it moves. Use about a 1/1,000 for small, quick mammals. For eagles in flight, Archer shoots at least 1/2,000 and tracks the bird as it passes. Release the shutter and continue panning for a few more seconds.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 Shot Down
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: High_Sierra_Fan
Gear you once poo-pooed but now love?
Posted On: Jul 22, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions