As we progress as wildlife photographers we often stress about composition, light, and other factors when photographing wildlife, and we forget about just capturing the moment. Have a look at the two photographs below.
In this image I managed to capture four Southern White-crowned Shrikes snuggled up together on a branch on a cold winter’s morning. The light was only falling nicely on the bird to the left and the others had some unpleasant shadows. My angle was not great as I was shooting up. There are many distracting branches in the background which doesn’t allow the subject to ‘pop’ or stand out. Even though these factors were against a good shot, I didn’t care. To me just capturing this moment was good enough. You often see Bee-eaters bunched together like this but I haven’t seen any other birds sitting like this before.
Another image where composition is not great, with the lead wild dog pup not having space to run into. Normally one would leave space for their subject to move into, or look into if it’s not moving. I photographed these pups running right next to my vehicle, hence the high angle. I cut off the tail of one of the dogs which shouldn’t have been cut off. There are a lot of distracting or pieces of grass blocking parts of some of the wild dogs, but again all these factors did not matter to me. It was more important to capture this exciting and rare moment, where I had one of Africa’s most endangered animals running past my vehicle. To top it all, I managed to capture eleven puppies (wild dog to the top right is an adult).
So next time you are in the field, remember that photography guidelines or rules are meant to be broken in certain circumstances, and at times it’s better to just capture the moment, which will never be recreated again, and capture a moment which many people have never seen before.
Go on, try something different!