When we think about Wildlife Photography, the first thing we think about are huge sports cameras with incredibly big, expensive and heavy lenses.

Stock image by @Chuttersnap

Let’s face it, this image isn’t completely false, and although you don’t strictly need expensive camera gear to take great wildlife shots, it will definitely make a difference when you will want to take your shots to another level.

To be honest, wildlife and sports photography are one of the most expensive types of photography you can have. But is there any way around it?
Is there any way you can have some awesome wildlife photographs with very affordable camera gear?

Stock image by @moinundmeer

The short answer is “it depends”. (I can already see your disappointed face as you where expecting a binary answer).

If you have ever worked as your own boss, you will understand that “time is money” better than others. In that case, being a wildlife photographer is expensive. As you will have to put plenty of time and effort to be able to get great wildlife shots with some basic camera gear.

In facts, to be a great wildlife photographer, you don’t need only camera gear. Some items will be much more valuable. Books!

You can have the very best 600mm f4 lens, with the very best Canon 1DXMkIII or Nikon D5, but if you do not know how to camouflage, or if you don’t know how to find the animal you are looking for, your photos will still be amateur.

That is why a good Wildlife Photographer has to be both a real Hunter and Ninja.
The good wildlife photographer is an expert in the arts of camouflage and tracking, and to learn those skills, you can start by reading books.

That’s where choosing your Wildlife Photography Gear becomes important.
Depending on the animal you are looking for or place you are heading two you will sometimes have to adapt your gear, but most of the time, it will always stay composed this way:

-Identification guide

-Cover scents
-Trail Camera

In the list above, I did a split, the first half is mandatory, the second is not.

The Identification Guide, is THE tool that will make you a wildlife expert. If it is well designed, it will display information on the animals behaviour depending on the seasons, a picture of the animal itself, it’s nest/ den, it’s poops and trails, as well as how to make sure those tracks are the right ones. Along with the binoculars, they are the tools that will help you spot wildlife.

Now that you are a wildlife expert, you know how to find wildlife, let’s get closer to it. You will use your knowledge on the animal to adapt your camouflage depending on the environment it stays into, and on how well it’s eyesight is. Caution, If the eyesight isn’t very good, don’t forget that it usually means better smell, in this case you will have to mind for the winds direction (have it in your face at all times) and take some cover scents.

Now that you have everything it takes to get close to wildlife, don’t forget to use trail cameras if you have some and make sure you don’t stay in your hideout for too long as you could surprise the animal and stress it.

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