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|Category:||Animals / Wildlife|
Photographing Lambs - It is early March and we're into the lambing season so if the countryside is within easy reach, a photo opportunity in the fields is not to be missed.
Gear NeedsA 70-300mm zoom will be perfect to allow tight framing even when the lambs are some way from the camera. If you're walking some distance from your car a bag which can hold your DSLR with a telephoto lens, such as the Kinray 43GR, is ideal. Plus there will be room for other accessories and a tripod can be clipped to its side.
Techniques To TryIf a public footpath goes past or through a field full of sheep and lambs you can shoot (from the path) without asking permission.
Lambing take place February and March and lambs are put out in the field quite early on, weather permitting. Although, with all the bad weather we have been having, they may not be appearing just yet.
When lambs are a decent size they are full of energy so you may get classic lamb gamboling shots. You may also get a few 'Ahh' pictures but it can be difficult at times as they are timid creatures.
Sheep generally are very wary of people so if you turn up in your car and get out with the camera, don't be surprised if they all scamper away. It pays to wrap up warm so you can stay there a while until they have the confidence to come back closer.
If you do get close enough for frame-filling shots, try using slow shutter speeds for some deliberate blur as the animals race around. The biggest challenge is getting just one or two animals in the frame rather than several which makes for a cluttered composition. That said, if you do get a number of animals look for patterns and go for eye contact too.
Bright sun gives contrast problems so midday is probably best avoided, and if the sun is out the extremes of the day are best. Low sunlight can look lovely especially if the light is warm and coming from behind the subject. In some ways the best light can be when it is quite dull when you get nicely saturated grass and plenty of detail in the animals' coats. Makes exposure easier to get right too.
If you can, crop right in to focus on the lamb, which should be exposed well and sharp. Blurring the background with a wide aperture to give narrow depth-of-field will keep attention focused on the lamb. Grass works well as a background when shooting from standing height but try varying the camera viewpoint. Getting low gives a good viewpoint but you need to keep an eye on the background – fence posts, feeding troughs and other animals can all get in the way.
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