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Animals on Their Own
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Animals on Their Own

Travel presents opportunities to create memorable photographs of both domestic and wild animals. Getting good pictures of domestic animals is relatively easy; getting good shots of wildlife is one of the toughest photo challenges you'll face.

It can be comforting to encounter the familiar faces of cats and dogs and farm animals in foreign lands, and since you already know something about their behavior, getting good shots is fairly easy. The key to making really interesting shots is to show the animals in the context of their locales: cats in Rome napping at the feet of an ancient statue, dogs guarding sheep on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, or a horse grazing on the lawn of a chateau in the Loire Valley.

The most obvious obstacle in photographing wild animals is getting close enough to take recognizable and dramatic pictures. Long lenses, especially those in the 300mm to 600mm range (if you're using a DSLR), or if you're using the longest zoom setting of a 10X or 12X advanced-zoom camera, will certainly help. But merely owning one of these toys will not guarantee exciting photos. You also need patience, planning, and a deep knowledge of the habits of the animals you're photographing.

If you're photographing on a photographic safari or as a part of a wildlife-photo workshop or tour, your guide can help, but you still need to prepare: study DVDs, read books, and talk to friends who have made similar trips.

In popular wildlife sanctuaries and parks such as Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, animals like bison are abundant and accustomed to human visitors; in others, shooting platforms may be set up to let photographers get close to animals. Whatever the situation, be prepared to shoot quickly and remember to bring lots of memory cards with you! There's nothing more frustrating than to come within shooting distance of an animal and lose the photo because you've run out of memory. Don't let it happen to you.

Next: "Panoramas"

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