Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read More.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk
Thread started 20 Oct 2017 (Friday) 09:51
Prev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

Stalking vs. Waiting ... tips for a wildlife newbie

 
kmilo
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Oct 20, 2017 09:51 |  #1

I've been into photography for several years and have done many types of photography. These days, with a 7 and 9 year old, it's mostly family photojournalism ... which I love.

Anyway, I'm starting to get an interest of wildlife photography. At the moment, I have an 80D and 70-300 (non-L). My plan is get a 400L by springtime next year, but for now, my gear isn't going to change. For those of you who have been doing this a lot, which do you prefer:

(A) - Hiking through the woods and you find what you find? or ...
(B) - Finding a good place to hide, trying to get to that place before the animals do, and then wait for them to show up?
(C) - Both, depending on your mood

Any insight about what you love and hate about both would be awesome.

I live in the suburbs of the northeast (Albany, NY area). My interests are mostly any wildlife larger than a football:

Owls, Deer, Hawks, Fox, Coyote, Raccoon, Skunk, Fisher, Beaver, Woodchuck, snakes other than Garters, etc


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
MalVeauX's Avatar
Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Post has been last edited 1 month ago by MalVeauX. 3 edits done in total.
Oct 20, 2017 12:01 |  #2

Heya,

Depends on what you want to shoot. Really depends on what is even available to you when you want to shoot wildlife, because a big part of it is getting to know the wildlife (their habits, habitat, breeding season, location, migration, food source, water source, etc). That way you know what you'll even have a chance of seeing, and where, and when. It may also be worth mentioning, do you want your photos to represent the wildlife in their habitat, or do you want chance encounters (like images of birds on power lines or roof tops) and don't care if there's non-wild elements, like human occupation stuff involved. Some don't care. Some do. That's for you to decide.

A) Hiking. I've seen plenty of people with big lenses walking on common pathways in parks or areas and just go for chance encounters. Works ok with areas and species that are tolerant and not easily spooked. There's also hiking off into areas without people, where you're out of place, and easily spotted and spooking everything, which requires you combine hiking and chance with knowing about your target subjects and getting their earlier. So you can combine the two, or do them separately, etc. Depends on what you have access to, and time for. Not sure if hiking 10+ miles into a place to see a specific subject early before it will arrive is feasible in reality for you or not. Mean while, walking park pathways and seeing common subjects can be convenient and take less time, but may also be less rewarding after a while (personally I do not care to ever see a squirrel or gull).

B) Treating this like you're hunting will get you more shots on subjects that are harder to approach, and be able to do it in locations where you're out of place. Walking through the woods mid-day, you'll likely not see much, they hear you coming and smell you, and spook off before you even know it. Mean while, if you hiked out to a location with a hide, or just a good place to hunker down and not stand and be obvious and move around a lot, you may wait a while, but you'll then have opportunities to be closer to subjects that wouldn't let you get close and get them in their environment (especially things like King Fishers or Deer).

C) You can certainly combine the two. Depends on the outcome goals.

In Florida, I can drive around or walk pathways and easily see lots of birds and various wildlife. But, for the kind of shots I want, in the locations I want, a hide works best for me and I simply target the time, location and subject based on what I want, and set up before they're expected to be there. I also kayak waterways for another sneaky way to get close to birds & wildlife. Depends on how much time you have to put into it and what you want out of it.

I get so close these days, I don't even use my 600 hardly anymore. I more commonly shoot my 300 F4L IS more than anything for birds/wildlife, because I get close with hides and/or water way (kayak). I tired quickly of walking trails or common pathways and seeing the same subjects in less attractive locations. Sure, I can go see a hawk, osprey or wood stork in a local park virtually every day, but its an uncovered area, harsh light, everyone else is there, and I hate seeing power lines or power poles or man-made stuff along with them. Those opportunities are fun at first, with a long lens, but it wore off quick when I wanted images that showed the subject in their environment in good light. I had to plan and find those. That's where hides came in and stalking/kayaking.

I live near the west coast of Florida, so I sometimes combine the above, and simply drive the coast and walk to a few short to access areas where I know I'll always have a chance at some birds or local wildlife. Effortless really. I just go during the time of day I know they'll be active (incoming/outgoing tide mostly for many bird species). Near water, I'm always going to see a Heron, Egret, Eagle, Hawk or Osprey usually. I can literally just drive and point a lens out the wind. Or walk on the shoreline and see tons of birds of all varieties. It's not so easy for mammals though, like deer, where I need a blind and I need to be there before the sun comes up (hard to get out of bed sometimes!). Or if I want to see big reptiles like Gators, I know where/when to go and can basically go see one any day of the week. But again, there's a difference between the opportunity shots in bad light or a bad location, and planning ahead and getting the best light (waiting for the weather to be right) and going to locations where the environment is what you want in your shot.

When I don't feel like leaving my house, I have a feeder station that I keep stalked and a blind/hide, so that I can view/image song birds at close range (I can be within a few feet of them). I've even used lighting with it. But there are days I'm lazy and I just step outside, hang in my blind/hide, and the song birds do their thing on my feeders and I image them while they perch above the feeders waiting for their turn to get a bite.

Ex of one of my feeders, for my lazy days:

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3789/33537078041_12d58a76cc_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/T6yh​Tt] (external link)img_a1345_stitch (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Ex of one of my portable blinds, for cooler days for spooky stuff:

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/704/21456687892_28a6a8ed29_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/yG48​LG] (external link)birdingblind_MKIV (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

When you're able to get within a few feet due to a hide/blind, you can get shots with 300mm or less and not have to crop much. Example at just 273mm:

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7649/16688197347_8c23e8e678_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rqFn​Et] (external link)IMG_3849 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Here's 300mm in the rain, purposefully dragging shutter:

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8625/28554463592_f9eae5dd7a_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Kvg6​cN] (external link)IMG_2082 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

And here's 300mm with flash involved (I pre-setup a big 47" softbox near a perch):

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8498/29571287222_8853ba779d_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/M47z​rG] (external link)IMG_3537 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
kmilo
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Oct 20, 2017 12:59 |  #3

Thank you, Martin, for your detailed post. I read quite a bit, and know a lot about what you're saying in a general sense ... which is to say I know what's "likely" to happen in certain situations, but I'm wondering if you have any personal examples.

What's the "best" animal you've been able to photograph while hiking thru the woods? Same question for using a blind, or camouflaging yourself in the woods.
Have you ever gone into the woods looking for owls, and were you successful? (or fox, or deer, etc)

I've seen your backyard bird blind before ... excellent work. I'd like to do something similar.

Thanks again.


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
MalVeauX's Avatar
Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Oct 20, 2017 16:10 |  #4

Heya,

For me, I rarely ever see mammals when I just go hiking in the woods. Mostly see birds and various reptiles (gators, snakes, etc). I can hike and go see bison, wild horses, etc around here, but they're fairly tame. But I cannot just go stomping in the woods mid-day and see deer, fox, etc. That's just not going to happen in my area. The deer are everywhere, but they're not out in the day time. Deer are dusk/dawn basically. And walking up on one is very unlikely, we're noisy despite what we think. I also will not walk up on on a raccoon or something either. I will however, and often do, walk up on opossum and armadillo at night, but I don't care to photograph them with flash at night.

I don't have elk and big elegant mammals to photograph here in Florida. So I focus mostly on what there is, which is birds & gators basically. Our deer are rather small too. There are bears, but I won't be seeing one of those without great effort.

I can walk around and find an owl, hawk, egret, heron, eagle, osprey, etc. I can get close to them sometimes. Sometimes they're spooky. I get right on top of the water birds no problem. But often times, just walking in the woods, coming up on one of these like an owl or hawk will spook them immediately.

With a blind/hide, I've gotten right up close. Basically I would take my blind, or just dress to hide, and go to an area near water and go early, sit down, hang out with a hat and low key colors. The birds just come in to me. Wildlife comes in to me. I'm at the water and food for many. I just have to get there first. Then I can see king fishers and other super spooky types.

For owls, I basically find where they are, then go there before they come out and hang out, I'll get a chance to see one that way up close if I'm there first.

Unfortunately I don't have options for big mammals so easily around Florida. Would love to have elk or large bears. Instead, our deer are small and spooky and only out dusk/dawn (whitetail), there are otter but they are super spooky near our water ways, there are black bears, but they're spooky and very spread out and I just don't put the effort into getting to them, there are bison in payne's prairie, but there are only a few, and they're not something that interest me much.

Most mammals and owls for me require me to get there early and hide or wait it out. Sometimes with a blind.

So I mostly shoot birds and gators/snakes/turtles. I do a lot of macro too because it's just so readily available.

Best is relative, but my favorite animals to chance upon are hawks/osprey/owls, or any large bird hunting/feeding.

+++++++++++++

I will say this, you will get a lot less natural looking, natural in environment, more rare large species of wildlife/birds just walking trails and stomping through some woods.

But its all relative to your local area. Some have parks/reserves that things are wild but tame. Just depends on your local access.

+++++++++++++

Ex of spookies:

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1551/25776490573_2a922a3bbb_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/FgMf​Bg] (external link)IMG_1543 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1460/25774279504_1dbf47b611_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/FgzV​ko] (external link)IMG_2573 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1483/25246112050_f657e0c9d4_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/EsUV​xY] (external link)IMG_1549 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
kmilo
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Oct 20, 2017 17:26 |  #5

great stuff ... thank you


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
Tom Reichner's Avatar
Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Oct 21, 2017 15:16 |  #6

kmilo wrote in post #18476755 (external link)
For those of you who have been doing this a lot, which do you prefer:

(A) - Hiking through the woods and you find what you find? or ...
(B) - Finding a good place to hide, trying to get to that place before the animals do, and then wait for them to show up?
(C) - Both, depending on your mood

Any insight about what you love and hate about both would be awesome.

Wow - what a great question! . And a question to which there is no simple answer, because there are so many factors and variables at work every time one pursues wildlife with a camera.

Stalk, or wait - which will allow one to capture the best images? . The answer varies not only by species, but also by time of year, venue, degree of habituation, your image-making objectives, and more.

As with any pursuit, I guess the first thing to figure out is to determine exactly what kind of photos you want to take. . When you are afield and see one of the subjects you are interested in, you should be thinking about what kinds of photos you want, what they will look like, what behavior they will capture, what type of habitat will be included in the shot, what supporting elements you want to include in the composition, etc.

There are certain types of photos that you will never, ever be able to get by stalking through the woods - you will HAVE to set up in a blind to get them. . And there are other kinds of photos that you will never, ever be able to capture from a fixed position. So in large part the decision - stalking vs. waiting - will be determined by the aesthetic goals that you have for any given species in any given habitat at any given time of the year.

If you have any specific questions about a certain species at a certain time of year, well, I would love to field such questions and to use my own successes and failures to demonstrate how to do it and how not to do it.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

LOG IN TO REPLY
kmilo
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Oct 21, 2017 19:26 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #7

Thank you, Tom. I'll be taking you up on your offer for further insight once I've thought some more about my objectives.


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
Tom ­ Reichner
"I am a little creepy"
Tom Reichner's Avatar
Joined Dec 2008
Omak, in north-central Washington state, USA
Oct 22, 2017 15:43 |  #8

kmilo wrote in post #18477899 (external link)
Thank you, Tom. I'll be taking you up on your offer for further insight once I've thought some more about my objectives.

I've been thinking about you and your question a lot. . I came to realize that the way to come up with your objectives isn't to sit and think about them - it is to get out there in nature and spend time with the critters! . You can't really know what you like most about a species, or what type of behavior is particularly interesting to you, until you get out there and witness these things. . So I think at this stage getting out there and walking about - a.k.a. stalking - may be the best starting point.

Sitting and waiting - in a blind or otherwise - really only works when you have learned a lot about the critters and where they are likely to be. And it also only works when you have a good idea about what kinds of images you want to make, because only then will you know what backgrounds you want behind your subjects (the backgrounds/surroundin​g habitat that best expresses your feelings about the critter).

So I'd say walking about at first, then when you find something that you are really interested in, and want to photograph, then that is when you start to develop a gameplan as to how you can best pursue that particular animal with your camera, and then at that point is when you would figure out what kinds of photos you would be able to capture while in a blind vs. those that you would best capture whilst afoot.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".

LOG IN TO REPLY
kmilo
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Oct 22, 2017 18:07 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #9

great advice, thanks Tom


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
Fishbreath
Member
Fishbreath's Avatar
179 posts
Joined Mar 2012
eastern PA.
Post has been last edited 1 month ago by Fishbreath. 2 edits done in total.
Oct 22, 2017 19:06 |  #10

I live in the southern Poconos, lots of developments and the deer and bear are plentiful. A shot of a nice buck means a lot more to me in the deep woods then in a development. Same thing with the elk in Pa.
Your not far from the Adirondacks and I only get up that way maybe once a year and that's on a motorcycle. I use a amerastep blind too but not during deer season. during the winter and summer I'll leave blind in the woods so animals get use to it. I also use trail cameras to find the trails and whats using the trails. In winter with snow on the ground Tells me what animals are in the area.
Besides being out in the woods is peaceful and no traffic. Oh yes I do find owls too. When you see an animal or owl don't stop and look at it. Walk past it then slowly walk back without making eye contact.

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.

VBA #299
ice shanty #53
retirement isn't all its cracked-up to be,,,, its better

LOG IN TO REPLY
Fishbreath
Member
Fishbreath's Avatar
179 posts
Joined Mar 2012
eastern PA.
Oct 22, 2017 19:14 |  #11

HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.

VBA #299
ice shanty #53
retirement isn't all its cracked-up to be,,,, its better

LOG IN TO REPLY
Phoenixkh
a mere speck
Joined May 2011
Gainesville, Florida
Oct 24, 2017 16:55 |  #12

We are sort of lucky here in Florida. We have nature preserves, state parks, etc. and with the internet, it's pretty easy to find out what each location has for wildlife.

I don't know exactly how I would approach it in other states. I've living in Montana, Wyoming, New York (upstate), PA and Virginia before moving to Florida. Each one of those states would be a bit of a challenge to me to get started, I think. 30 of those years was in PA and we went to lots of state parks, etc. We almost never saw any wildlife. We could have gone to hawk mountain but the birds aren't close by or so I've heard. I wasn't taking wildlife photos back then so that might be it, but we were always on the lookout.

Come to think of it, we did find out about Custer State Forest and saw the American Bison on a trip out west.... anyway, it isn't always easy to figure out where to hike and/or hide when looking for wildlife.

Tom would know far more about this than I do since he does this for a living.


Kim (the male variety) Canon 1D IV | 6Dc | 16-35 f/4 IS | 24-105 f/4 IS |100L IS macro | 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II | 100-400Lii | 50 f/1.8 STM | Canon 1.4X III
RRS tripod and monopod | 580EXII | Cinch 1 & Loop 3 Special Edition

LOG IN TO REPLY
Larry ­ Johnson
Goldmember
Larry Johnson's Avatar
1,177 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Joined Sep 2011
Virginia
Oct 24, 2017 19:31 |  #13

For inspiration and ideas, check out Doug's TV series, Wild Photo Adventures. As Doug says. it's about the outdoor experience. https://vimeopro.com ...hoto-adventures-tv-series (external link)

I prefer going to where the animals are, finding a spot to plop down and shooting 400+ photos, but some of my best and most exciting photos have been short unexpected encounters while sitting and waiting for other species to come in closer or return. An eagle with a bird in it's talons flew over while I was trying to shoot waterfowl. An osprey flew in and landed in a tree close to me while I was sitting, waiting, wishing that an eagle would return with a fish for it's chicks in nearby nest. Trips to photograph target species are fun too. Long trips or just day trips. Moose in Maine from a hired canoe. Puffin and other sea birds off Maine's coast. Waterfowl in Maryland. Cormorants and other birds at the local park 10 minutes from my house. I also find it more enjoyable to photograph with others.


_______________
Ain't Nature Grand!
Shooting 7D2 with Canon 400mm, f/5.6.
60D, canon 18-135 EFS, and 1.4 extender in the bag.
flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
ShadowHillsPhoto
Senior Member
ShadowHillsPhoto's Avatar
Joined Aug 2015
Schoharie, NY
Post has been edited 28 days ago by ShadowHillsPhoto.
Oct 25, 2017 12:53 |  #14

The short answer is I do both, depending on the situation. The long version repeats a lot of what has been already said.

You're close to me though, I work in Albany and live over in Schoharie. I'd be happy to get together and shoot sometime if you're interested. Five Rivers Environmental Ed. Center in Delmar might be a good place to start, lots of different opportunities, wildlife that is used to people, and I shoot down there fairly regularly when I can get free (I've got a 6 year old and almost-two year old at home myself so I know how that goes).




LOG IN TO REPLY
kmilo
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
kmilo's Avatar
164 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Albany, NY
Post has been edited 28 days ago by kmilo.
Oct 25, 2017 13:20 |  #15

ShadowHillsPhoto wrote in post #18480828 (external link)
The short answer is I do both, depending on the situation. The long version repeats a lot of what has been already said.

You're close to me though, I work in Albany and live over in Schoharie. I'd be happy to get together and shoot sometime if you're interested. Five Rivers Environmental Ed. Center in Delmar might be a good place to start, lots of different opportunities, wildlife that is used to people, and I shoot down there fairly regularly when I can get free (I've got a 6 year old and almost-two year old at home myself so I know how that goes).

I'd like that. Logistics are always a challenge, but I'll shoot you a PM once I can look at my calendar at home. Of course, I'm going to feel like the red headed step child if anyone compares our photo gear :) But, I actually am a red headed step child (before shaving my head), so it won't bother me much.


Kris
I can barely afford this hobby. flickr (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

1,398 views & 52 likes for this thread
Stalking vs. Waiting ... tips for a wildlife newbie
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Wildlife Talk


Not a member yet? Click here to register to the forums.
Registered members get all the features: search, following threads, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, settings, view hosted photos, own reviews and more...


AAA

Send feedback to staff    •   Jump to forum...    •   Rules    •   Index    •   New posts    •   RTAT    •   'Best of'    •   Gallery    •   Gear    •   Reviews    •   Polls

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS 1.4version 1.4
made in Finland
by Pekka Saarinen
for photography-on-the.net
Spent 0.00144 for 5 database queries.
PAGE COMPLETED IN 0.11s
Latest registered member is CSBozza
620 guests, 455 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6106, that happened on Jun 09, 2016