There’s a misconception that for award-winning wildlife photography you have to head out onto a safari somewhere, go exploring jungles on a regular basis, or at least camp out at your local beauty spot for days on end to find good subjects. In fact, this often couldn’t be further from the truth. Numerous internationally respected photographers have made their names in the industry by focussing on the creatures that visit their own backyards or can be spotted from front-room windows.
Even the most unassuming looking outside space has the potential to become the backdrop to a brilliant wildlife moment. Similarly, other photographers feel that without super-telephoto primes and flagship DSLRs that cost thousands, they don’t stand a change of grabbing impressive images of skittish wild subjects, again something that just isn’t the case. One accessory, the camera trigger, can help you to not only discover what’s visiting your garden but also capture it in action using just a kit lens.
Camera triggers remotely activate a camera so that it can be positioned much closer to the areas that animals frequent without spooking them by your presence, and in doing so, mean even wide-angle lenses can often provide enough reach for captivating photos. In fact, with the most advanced trigger models like MIOPS Smart and Mobile Remote, you don’t even have to be within line of sight of your gear for them to automatically take the shot at the perfect moment. In this article we’ll talk you through the benefits of each of these triggers, and how you can incorporate them into a setup for close up wildlife shots…
Let’s take a quick look at two of the best suited MIOPS camera triggers and the functionality they offer that makes them ideal for capturing wildlife images…
Not only can the MIOPS Smart trigger activate your camera’s shutter with the push of a smartphone button from up to 40m away, but it can also automatically trigger the device based on either sound or laser stimuli. This means that once placed into position, it can be set to take a picture every time a creature either breaks a laser beam that’s pointed at it or makes a noise above a selected audio level. Think you may have discovered a through-fare for badgers or foxes nearby? Set up a laser trip-beam across their potential route, and allow your device to capture the perfect image every time anything crosses it. Know a spot of fencing that squirrels love to jump off? Set the Smart to be triggered by sound and select a short delay, and start capturing them mid-leap.
MIOPS Mobile Remote:
The MIOPS Mobile Remote can also be activated manually at distance via a smartphone or sound changes, but it also provides motion and vibration triggering options too. Attach your smartphone to a bird table and the MIOPS app can be fine-tuned to take a shot anytime a bird lands on it or a squirrel runs up it causing vibrations. Alternatively, position your phone to monitor a log that you’ve left some food for wildlife on, and your camera will automatically be triggered as subjects move into the frame for their dinner.
Perhaps there’s a branch in your garden birds like to perch, or a patch of grass that rabbits often frequent, this is often the best spot to begin photographing, as animals are already interacting with it. Once you’ve settled on a location, start to think about the images that you’d like to create. With the ability to position your camera much closer to subjects, you may want to opt to use a wider lens than normal, this can help you produce wildlife photography with a dramatic perspective. Place the camera low with a wide-angle lens to accentuate the scale of an animal, or place it at their eye-level for a more intimate feeling shot. Depending on how skittish your subjects are, you could even set up some branches and logs to hide your equipment within. Assemble a bit of a hide for your device and let the local wildlife get used to its position before placing your equipment within it, this will stop you having to leave your equipment outside for hours before wildlife starts to return to a space. You could also consider leaving feed in the position that you would like your subjects to linger, encouraging them into the perfect part of your frame.
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
With your camera firmly fixed to a tripod to hold it in steady you can begin to choose your camera settings. Begin by pre-focussing your lens in its manual setting to the distance you think a potential subject will be, a bird table perhaps, a branch or top of a log. Then turn your camera to its manual shooting mode and select a medium aperture such as f/5.6. This aperture will allow you to create a wide enough depth-of-field to keep all of a subject in focus, but shallow enough to drop the scene’s background into a distraction-free blur for a clean and stylish look. A shutter speed of 1/500sec should be enough to firmly freeze most garden wildlife sharply in action. As you won’t be controlling the camera’s settings directly, set its ISO level to Auto. The camera will now automatically change the chosen ISO level to ensure a well-exposed image, even if the sun goes behind a cloud or its light gets stronger while you wait for your subject to arrive.
Now that your camera is set up the only other choice then is to select the triggering method you think will get the best results on your remote, and to fine-tune its sensitivity using the MIOPS app (iOS and Android). The application also makes it easy to select how many frames you want to capture on its activation, and the delay between each one, super easy, so that you’re guaranteed to get the perfect image in the bag.
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