Article updated April 2012.
You don't need to travel far to capture some great wildlife shots. There are plenty of National Parks and reserves run by the RSPB and Wetlands trust but closer to home you'll find council or local wildlife trust reserves. Your local nature reserve may not be huge and absolutely brimming with life but that doesn't matter. Here at ePz towers we have a pond a short drive away that takes no more than fifteen minutes to walk around but that doesn't mean we don't get the opportunity to spot Kingfishers and other great species that make perfect photographic subjects.
|Taken at Brandon nature reserve near Coventry from a hide.
If you're planning on camping out in a bird hide you'll need your trusty telephoto zoom. You may also find a macro lens useful for shots of the fungi, plants and insects you can find in and around reserves. To get shots like the one above you may also need a tripod for that bit of extra support.
Patience and perseverance is the key to a successful shoot in a nature reserve. We found you can go one day and be disappointed but return the next to find the place is brimming with life. Don't get your camera out and start snapping until your heart's content either as you'll just startle the wildlife and they won't return for quite some time. Instead, set your gear up and patiently observe until your subject's used to you.
Nature reserves can be made up of woodland, grassland, ponds, lakes, reedbeds or if you're lucky a mixture of them all so there's plenty to keep you busy.
You'll find wading birds on lakes and smaller creatures such as newts, frogs and dragonflies, who look great shot with a shallow depth of field, around ponds. Ladybirds, butterflies and other interesting insects will be hiding in the long grass and flowers that surround the walk ways of the nature reserve so take a seat at the edge the path and wait for one to land near you – it will be a lot easier than chasing one around and it will give you chance to frame up and focus for a cracking shot. Foliage, particularly when it's blurred, makes a great, uncluttered background, particularly when you're focusing on something so small.