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How To Stop Wire Fences Ruining Your Wildlife Shots

Learn how to capture shots of wildlife that look as though there wasn't a wire mesh fence between you and it.

| Animals / Wildlife

How To Stop Wire Fences Ruining Your Wildlife Shots: Black Vulture


Zoos and wildlife parks are great places to get up close with wildlife, but the fences and glass keeping us and the animals safe can cause a few problems for photographers.


Height Is An Issue

Fences often rise above eye level and the tops aren't in easy reach (for good reason) so you can't hold your camera up above it to take your shots. As a result, we often have to take photos with the cage in front of us but this doesn't mean the fence has to appear and as a result spoiling the shot.

Sometimes it's easy to capture fence-free shots as the gaps in the mesh are just big enough for a lens to be poked through, however, when it's not, you'll have to use a few other tricks to capture your wildlife shot. 


Close With Wide Apertures

One way is to get as close to the fence as possible and select a wider aperture. Then, line up your lens so it's over a gap or if they're too small, try and wait so the face of the animal you're photographing is in a gap. Once the animal has put some distance between them and the fence, take your shot. The fence will, hopefully, be thrown our of focus, thanks to the reduced depth-of-field, so you won't even notice it while your subject will be sharp. 

You may find that Auto Focus tries to focus on the fence rather than your subject so switch to manual focus to ensure your subject is sharp. 


Longer Lenses

If you are using a lens that doesn't have a particularly wide aperture then don't worry; you'll still be able to capture a mesh-free shot with a longer focal range. If you can't shoot through or throw the fence out of focus you can often clone it out later using an image editing program. 


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whakapu Avatar
7 Aug 2017 12:16AM
If there is a wire fence between you and the wildlife it is, by definition, not wildlife. It's wiredlife.
annettep38 Avatar
annettep38 12 221 43 Luxembourg
12 Aug 2019 11:10PM
I wonder why you would take the most common zopilote against a fence.. Heck just stop by the roadside if there is a foul smell and there they are
emmaK22 Avatar
emmaK22 Plus
12 166 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2019 8:12AM
Hi Annette,

They may be common where you're based, but here in the UK you'd be very shocked if you saw a wild one! They're not found wild here Smile
WereBo Avatar
WereBo 7 42 United Kingdom
18 Sep 2019 12:38AM
You might find you can't always de-focus the wire netting, so if you can't lose it then use it..... Wink


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