taking an image that pops
One of the ways to really make a wildlife image "pop" is to have your subject as sharp as possible with a nice blurred background.
The blurred background allows the subject to pop and draws the eye to the focal point.
Depending on the lens you are using, the depth of field will change: if you have a f2.8 lens the depth of field will be smaller allowing for greater blurring of the background; if you have a lens that only goes down to f5.6 you will have more depth of field but the principle remains the same.
For this image I used a Nikon D4 and a Nikkor 200-400mm f4 lens. The aperture was set to f4 to ensure the maximum blurring and I had to push the ISO up to 1000 to ensure I had a fast enough shutter speed to handhold the large lens. My shutter speed was at 1/400sec and I used a bean bag to ensure I had even less camera shake.
Expose your balance
Richard de Gouveia