Wildlife Photography - Empathy For The Subject

I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and insights on how to prepare for wildlife photography in a hide.  I go to Attenborough Nature reserve and use the hides there now and then.  It's an idyllic spot where I can tune out the stresses and strains of daily life and just enjoy the tranquility and stillness of nature that gives me a sense of peace deep within.

My biggest asset, apart from the equipment I take with me is my empathy and limited awareness of the natural world ... and my ability to be quiet.

A hide is like a sound box.  If I talk loudly, the sound echoes out and animals that I would dearly love to see and photograph won't give me much of an opportunity.  If I alter my mindset and remind myself that I am the visitor and that this is the home of the wildlife I want to watch, it gives a sense of balance back to the scenario; after all, as humans, we have decimated so much of this country's, and the Earth's, wildlife habitat - which in turn has led to dramatic reduction in the populations of many species across the planet.  So I remind myself that this is their home and I am the visitor and must therefore mind my manners; I know that I wouldn't tolerate loud or thoughtless behaviour in my home, so why should they?

I often hear people complain, in loud discussions, that certain species don't seem to land and spend the time that they used to hunting in certain areas.  Yesterday I found myself counselling that we'd see more if people were quiet in the way they talk.  There should never be any loud talking in a hide - if at all.  I've spent time in hides across the UK and other parts of the world ... if you made loud noises in there, you would probably come to some harm as the photographers concerned would have spent a lot of time, effort and money for the opportunity.  I have found that local people that are frequent visitors to free hides sometimes take them for granted and forget about the need for silence.

Some species grow up with us watching them and become accustomed to us.  The clickety clack of our shutters doesn't concern them, loud voices and jerky reactions do.

I was watching a juvenile male at Attenborough yesterday who seemed skittish, to say the least.  He alighted on a perch a couple of times but wouldn't hang around and hunt.  Once we kept quiet and entered the peace of the scenario, we were graced with his company for just over an hour.

I felt like I'd been reconnected and felt a sense of peace and happiness deep down.

Seeing a lovely bird like a Kingfisher is a privilege - but I want to see more than a quick touch down on a perch.  I want to study how it hunts, where it lands, how it flies ... where it's going to stun it's prey.  Then I get an idea of its patterns and I can start trying to get the shots that are different ... and I get to witness the different aspects of its character and behaviour ... that's wildlife photography - it's more than just getting a good shot.  It also gives you ideas of what to try for next time to keep things interesting.

You can see the full set of images from yesterday on: https://www.facebook.com/Wolf.Photographer/

Silence is golden.

Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu

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