The most amazing thing about spending time in the field with your camera in tow is when you encounter a species of wildlife or type of behaviour you never expected. The unusual doesn’t happen everyday, but when it does it’s unforgettable. It’s often the moment that binds you to nature and builds upon your passion for outdoor photography.
For many photographers, those times of discovering something unexpected become the most memorable times and often produce the images that earn attention from publication editors, photo buyers and photo contest judges.
So how do you get that one shot that will dazzle? Well, to tell the truth, luck plays a pretty big role in wildlife photography. If you’re willing to spend a lot of time taking pictures and finding wildlife, eventually the time will come when you witness something completely different. Make your own luck by putting in the effort.
As an example, I wanted to share this photo of a wild Canadian lynx with you this month. The picture was taken near the Lac Le Jeune Resort near Kamloops. Finding an animal to capture on film like this amazing cat was the farthest thought in my mind. I was simply there to birdwatch and take a few pictures of the lake. I ended up enjoying the wild cat for a couple of hours with a few residents of the area. We simply got lucky.
When you’re out with your camera and luck is on your side, you’ll need to take full advantage of the situation by keeping a couple of things in mind. You’ll need to be ready and steady. Make sure you know your camera well enough that you can make adjustments to the settings at a moment’s notice. More often than not, rare wildlife appears briefly and isn’t always co-operative. Can you get the shot before the creature returns to the forest? Or will you be busy searching for an auto-focus switch or even worse, a fresh battery?
If you’re anything like me, you might get over-excited when you see something unusual. You’ll need to calm yourself down and focus on the task at hand. Hopefully, after you get a few images, you can make that phone call to share the news or just enjoy the moment. For the time being however, focus both your camera and yourself to bring home the photograph you desire. There’ll be plenty of time to celebrate and share your work later.
Discovering the unusual is memorable to say the least. This lynx was the third sighting in my life. So, if I was to base the next sighting on my past record, I’ll have a few more grey hairs the next time I see one. I wish you the best of luck in finding your unique or rare shot. I’d love to hear about your adventures and see that ear-to-ear smile!