Wildlife Photography: Photo-editing in comfort and style

Photo-editing is an essential and tedious part of any photographer’s workflow. As wildlife photographers, we spent significant amounts of money on cameras, lenses, and other equipment for capturing our images on the front end. We incur an additional cost when we travel to exotic locations to pursue our subjects. The expenditures don’t stop when it comes to post-processing our images with computers, software, and peripherals such as Wacom tablets and Loupdeck panels that make the entire process easier and more efficient. Spending hours in front of a computer editing photos takes concentration and can be mind-numbing. The more comfortable you are while doing it, the less mind-numbing it will be. For a comparatively minimal investment of both money and time, you could soon be editing your photos in both comfort and style.

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Wildlife Photography, learning to keep your photographic ducks in a row.

Keeping your ducks in a row is an old expression for sure but some expressions remain useful and are timeless. Photographing wildlife is complex and involves a process with many individual steps or “ducks” to keep in sequence if you want to achieve the best outcome. Most people who haven’t tried wildlife photography before think you just walk out the front door, take a photo of an animal, and put it online, perhaps because these days with smartphones that’s exactly how most photographs are taken. Those of us who photograph wildlife regularly for business or pleasure know it’s a bit more complicated than that. To produce your average random wildlife photo you could just depend on getting lucky once in a while but to produce good quality wildlife photos consistently, they have to be preceded by a significant amount of study and preparation, as well as a multistep post-processing routine. Photographing Ducks is fun and is a good way to illustrate the multiple steps that are involved. Lets’ take a look at how I like to keep my ducks in a row while photographing ducks.

Mallard drake taking wing.

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Wildlife photography: Photographing Burrowing Owls, getting lost in the eyes of your subject.

I think it was Humphry Bogart who said, “She had the kind of eyes you could get lost in”. I love to photograph owls for a lot of reasons but mostly because of there eyes. They have the kind of eyes you can get lost in. When beginning to photograph wildlife it’s important to understand that an animal’s eyes are the most important part of the composition of a wildlife photo. Because of their large prominent eyes, owls offer a great opportunity to practice this principle. Owls, however, are very reclusive nocturnal creatures for the most part which can make finding them and subsequently photographing them quite difficult. There is one species of owl however that is relatively easy to find and is active during the day. The Burrowing Owl. If you want to practice your wildlife photography and work with a subject that has great eyes, then burrowing owls are just the trick.

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Wildlife photography: I love my 600mm lens, but how do I get it there? Traveling with a super-telephoto lens.

Most wildlife photographers start out using smaller lenses and work their way up to large super telephoto lenses as time goes by. In the beginning, I had a 300mm f4 and like most, lusted after larger lenses but wasn’t sure that wildlife photography was something I would stick with long enough to justify the expense of a larger lens. Once I saved enough and pulled the trigger on a 600mm lens I couldn’t wait to travel and test it out. My first trip with this monster was to Jackson Wyoming and Grand Tetons National Park. I knew it would be the perfect lens for the trip but getting it there on the plane was concerning and would take some thought.

Young Pronghorn Antelope Grand Tetons National Park
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Wildlife photography: The I-20 Wildlife Preserve

If you have ever been to West Texas then you know there really isn’t much to look at. You can literally drive a hundred miles and not change elevation more than 10 feet. For the most part, it’s dry and arid. The average yearly rainfall is about 14 inches and not a lot can grow in those conditions. Every once in a while though you’re lucky and you find an oasis in the desert.

A Canvasback duck at the preserve
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Wildlife photography: Dogs don’t climb trees, do they?

While certain breeds of dogs occasionally climb trees it is certainly an unusual behaviour for most. Dogs primarily prey on animals that live on the ground and therefore have not evolutionarily developed the skills and anatomy to climb trees well.  Cats have strong backs and hind legs with sharp retractable claws which are well suited for tree climbing.  Dogs have weak backs and dull claws. The exception to the rule in the dog family is the Gray Fox.

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