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West Virginia Wildlife
Wildlife Photography
Patrick McMurtry Photo Tips From One Of The Best

June 12, 2013
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Wildlife photography is a very popular past time, but getting a good shot of a bobcat in a tree is a lot tougher than just taking a picture of the tree itself. We got some tips from Steve Shaluta. He's one of the state's leading photographers and we caught up with him at the Wildlife Center..he was more than happy to give us some pointers.

"It's a world of difference. Wildlife photography is a whole different world than landscape photography. You have different lenses, camera speeds, ISO speed needs to be faster. You need to shoot with a lower F-stop, higher shutter speeds because you don't want the camera to shake. You want to be sure the camera is sharp where with landscape it's wide angle lenses." says Shaluta.

And of course, landscapes don't generally move, unless the wind's blowing the trees or grass. Wildlife, well it's tough to get them sitting still. Focus can be tough, but there's one tip Steve offers that can make things a little easier.

"With animals, the most important thing is to get their eyes in focus. If you do, even if it's only their eyes, then it gives the illusion that the whole animal's in focus, but if you have everything on the animals but the eyes, it looks out of focus, and that's important with people, too." says Shaluta.

With auto focus and zoom lenses, it's getting easier to get the fundamentals down, but some things you just can't fix by adjusting the F-stop or shutter speed. Here's another tip from the pro.

"With flash I'm trying to fill in just the shadows. I'm not using totally flash, we're using ambient light that's in the environment at the time and then I'm throwing a little bit of flash in to fill in the dark areas, the shadows. It's called fill flash. It's rare I use a full flash." says Shaluta.

Another advantage you have these days, digital pictures don't cost you anything if you mess up a shot, so take a bunch, then take a bunch more. The more pictures you take, the better the odds of getting something special you can hang on your wall or give to someone else to enjoy.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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