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Top 10 Essential Photography Gear For Wildlife Photography

Top 10 Essential Photography Gear For Wildlife Photography - Tesni Ward gives her guide to the essential photography gear needed for shooting wildlife, along with some hints and tips.

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Animals / Wildlife


Tesni Ward on Location
 
Wildlife photography is hard enough to master without having the right equipment with you, and I’m regularly asked what I would recommend when out on workshops. Remembering how overwhelmed I was when I started out, I’ve decided to compile my top recommended pieces of kit to help you start out. 
 

Suitable Camera

Which camera you go for is very much down to personal preference, however there are certain things to look out for when choosing your first camera. Good high ISO performance is always beneficial as wildlife is often photographed in challenging conditions. A fast burst mode will also help with action shots.

The biggest question is always whether to go for a crop sensor or full frame. Personally, I go for crop as it gives you that extra reach that is often needed in wildlife photography. 
 

Telephoto Lens

Although getting up close and personal with wildlife is a truly rewarding experience, sometimes it isn’t possible to get close enough using a standard lens. Having a flexible telephoto lens (200mm +), such as the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, will give you the ability to get closer to wildlife whilst still respecting their space.
 

Teleconverter

I never leave the house without my teleconverter attached to the lens. The additional reach a teleconverter can give is invaluable, but ensure you get a good quality one as they can severely impact image quality. 
 
Tesni Ward
Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/500sec, f/8, 500mm, ISO640

Wide-Angle Lens

Sometimes you can be fortunate enough that you can get close to wildlife, sometimes even close enough to use a wide-angle lens. These styles of shot allow you to show the environment that the wildlife lives in. If you’re struggling to get close enough, using a remote shutter and leaving your camera in a suspected hot spot can also yield surprising results. 
 

Bean Bag

Photographing wildlife from a low angle can give a great perspective, but many tripods can’t go low enough or are too cumbersome to carry. A bean bag is an affordable way to add support, and is easy to carry with you. 
 

Tripod

Having a sturdy tripod & gimbal head can significantly impact your ability to capture great shots. Whether it’s shooting in low light so needing that additional stabilisation, they definitely help, but it can also be perfect for keeping your camera primed and ready in a particular direction in the hope that something may occur. 
 
Tesni Ward
Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/500sec, f/7.1, 500mm, ISO160

Clothing

It may seem obvious, but having appropriate clothing is imperative to being successful as a wildlife photographer. Blending into the environment is important, but being physically comfortable in many hours it can take to catch a glimpse of your subject is vital. Warm, waterproof clothes will help you outlast the conditions and get the shot!
 

Rain Cover

There’s nothing worse than being caught out in a rainstorm with nothing to cover your equipment. Rain can be an awesome opportunity for unique images, but that’s not possible if you need to put your equipment away!
 

Sturdy Bag

Having a camera bag that can tolerate the various conditions you may face is imperative to protect your camera, lenses and accessories. Your bag can also double up as a support for your camera if you don’t have a tripod or bean bag on you. 
 
Tesni Ward

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 1/30sec, f/18, 700mm, ISO640

Memory Cards & Batteries

It’s not uncommon for you to get a bit trigger happy when the action does finally start. Having fully charged batteries and formatted memory cards will ensure you don’t run out of space or battery when things do start! 
 
 
Tesni Ward is a nature and wildlife photographer in the Peak District, specialising in worldwide wildlife and landscape photography. Tesni runs photography workshops throughout the year and is also an active member of ePHOTOzine.
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