As a Wildlife and Adventure Sports photographer you cannot always guarantee good conditions. Wildlife and Sports events will not wait for the rain to lighten or the wind to stop howling. Due to the nature of the job you cannot cancel or postpone shoots, thus, you have to make the best of the situation.
Here are a few tips, which will enable you to make the best of unfavorable conditions it is important to protect your equipment and yourself in order to achieve fantastic shots.
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1. Protect your photography gear through preparation
Firstly, make sure you are prepared for the shoot. Begin by researching the area you are going to be shooting in. One of the most important aspects to consider is the weather conditions, not only whether it will rain but also check out the wind, temperature and cloud cover. Check the day before and once again on the morning of the shoot, just in-case the conditions change.
2. Waterproof covers
Waterproof covers are a life-saver for photographers. It is important to ensure your backpack and camera bag remains dry and equally important if shooting in the rain, or salty spray conditions, a particular problem in watersports photography (as the salt also has a habit of corroding cameras). If you do not have a waterproof cover, improvise. A black bin bag will do the job, simply cut a hole for the lens and tie a hairband or elastic band around the end which will enable you to shoot comfortably whilst the lens and camera body remain protected from the elements.
3. Rock bag
A rock bag is a simple contraption which can make all the difference between a crisp, sharp shot and a blurry shot. Many photographers carry a small bag with them into the field which attaches to a hook underneath the tripod; this bag is then filled with rocks or anything that is heavy, weighing down the tripod and acting as a stabiliser in windy conditions.
4. Natural shelter
Whilst out in the field you can make life easier for yourself and your equipment by considering the direction of the wind and rain. Simply position yourself behind a tree, rock or building to ensure your equipment is protected and that you are comfortable, allowing you to concentrate on the job at hand and ultimately achieve great shots.
Essential tools that help protect your photography gear. These two pieces of equipment can protect your camera whilst in bright sunlight. The UV filter will protect your lens from UV rays. However, you have to be aware of the problems. If you are going to invest in a UV filter ensure it is a good quality one (the more expensive option) as a cheaper UV filter will reduce the quality of your photographs. Another option is to make use of your lens flare cap, this will not only protect your lens from UV rays but also from stray bushes and thorns that can damage your lens.
6. Protect your photography gear, but also look after yourself
Regardless of how well you protect your equipment, you need to ensure you look after yourself. If you are cold, wet, thirsty, tired or hungry it will influence your shoot. You will be distracted and therefore lack concentration, which will ultimately affect the quality of your images.
Wildlife and Adventure photography can be challenging. However, with a little preparation and research you can ensure amazing shots, regardless of the conditions.
Blogger Profile - Clare James
Following a passion for adventure sports and wildlife conservation, Clare took up photography to document her travels and soon became addicted to the power of images. She specializes in underwater, adventure and wildlife photography and her work has been exhibited in Cornwall, UK. Clare worked with Africa Media as an instructor in the Wildlife and Adventure Photography program.