How to do Wildlife Photography in Sri Lanka

Home to some of Asia’s most popular wildlife parks and sanctuaries Sri Lanka is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true. Wildlife photographers will find the verdant and at times mountainous regions of the country’s national parks ideal for photographing various species in their natural habitats. Here are some tips on not only how to engage in wildlife photography in the island but also how to make the shots some of your best work.

1. Secure Good Camera Equipment
The first step in taking up wildlife photography on your Sri Lankan vacation is acquiring a good camera suitable for the task at hand. Note that there are special camera features that are advantageous for outdoor photography and using different lighting conditions so read up on the latest camera equipment available for budding wildlife photographers and get your hands on a reliable camera and a telephoto lens. Remember to start using the camera and the lenses long before you depart for your national park tour or safari in Sri Lanka to get used to the various settings and operational basics of the equipment. Take your camera to outdoor locations and practice shooting subjects in the distance to get a feel for the activity and make sure you pack your camera safely when transporting the gear to Sri Lanka.

2. Select Shooting Locations
Although there are Sri Lanka Tailor-Made packages and countless similar organized tours for aspiring wildlife photographers, it is entirely possible to find worthy shooting locations in the country’s top national parks by yourself. Those who are in the island for a limited time, however, might want to sign up for a wildlife tour with a local operator as one won’t have as much time on one’s hands to discover interesting wildlife species and locations on a short trip. As a beginner, ensure the location you selected are accessible at various times of the day and are popular gathering spots for the wildlife species you wish to photograph, whether it’s the deer population or a specific bird species endemic to the island. You want to select a subject that is vibrant to start off with as this will create an interesting contrast with the background.

3. Time Your Shoot
Selecting the right time to shoot your subject is the next order of business as missing the “golden hour” in the morning and then the afternoon is not an option for those in search of the perfect wildlife shot. Try and head to the area at first light in the misty hours of the morning or catch the last hour of sunlight in the afternoon to make the most of the natural light available. Both these times of the day produce magical results even if your skills aren’t too prolific.

4. Check the Weather
It is crucial to check the local weather forecast or take a look outside your hotel window before embarking on a wildlife photography excursion in Sri Lanka. Nothing can hamper the efforts of a novice photographer than inclement weather conditions so ensure the environment is conducive to a lengthy shoot before you head out. Overcast weather, however, is ideal for shooting certain types of wildlife including creatures with antlers although capturing birds in flight or any element of nature against an overcast sky can have disastrous results.

5. Practice Patience
Experienced and professional wildlife photographers and photojournalists concur that wildlife photography is all about waiting and patience as the right moment and the perfect shot are elusive elements that one must have the persistence to capture. Unlike holiday photographs or event photography wildlife photography demands immense patience as one’s subject is not at one’s disposal or control.

6. How to Photograph Animals Unawares
When photographing animals, large or small, remember to keep your distance and make as little noise as possible in setting up the shot and capturing the moment. Animals are easily startled and have a better sense of sight and hearing than humans so stay a step ahead of your subject by maintaining silence when approaching closer or trying to snap a picture.