Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Daily Archives: April 25, 2014

10 common wildlife photography mistakes

From the always entertaining Digital Camera World Magazine

Wildlife photography is one of the most demanding subjects to photograph. The subjects are elusive, and the techniques require precision. But it’s not impossible.

In her latest post our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, takes a look at some of the most common mistakes that photographers make when shooting wildlife photography and gives some advice on how to overcome them.


Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 01 Subject too small in the frame

One of the main problems with photographing wildlife is that the vast majority of species don’t like to be close to humans.

This means that we need to employ some cunning and very long telephoto lenses to make the subject a reasonable size in the image.

Professional wildlife photographers spend a lot of money on their kit, selecting top-end cameras with high continuous shooting rates and impressive pixel counts.

These are matched with high-quality long telephoto lenses with focal lengths of around 300-500mm that enable them to frame a subject tightly from a distance.

Even with this kit, however, the most important assets that a pro wildlife photographer has are an understanding of the subject and the time and patience to wait for the right shot.

Timing is far more important than the ability to fire off a series of shots in super-quick succession.

Camouflage and hides are a great way of getting close to a subject, but you need to know where to set it up. Research your subject to find out where you need to be and at what time.

Discover its habits, where it lives, what it eats, when it has young and whether it has protected status.

You need to know enough about your subject to be able to photograph it without it being aware of your presence.

PAGE 1 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 01 Subject too small in the frame
PAGE 2 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 02 Subject not in focus
PAGE 3 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 03 Subject blurred
PAGE 4 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 04 Poor composition
PAGE 5 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 05 Subject looking the wrong way
PAGE 6 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 06 Feeder in view
PAGE 7 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 07 Depth of field too shallow
PAGE 8 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 08 Birds underexposed
PAGE 9 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 09 Poor lighting
PAGE 10 – Wildlife Photography Mistakes: 10 Subject disturbed

Go here for all the best in tips on wild life photography

Lytro Illum camera lets users refocus blurred photos after shooting

Second version of the ‘light field’ camera looks and feels like a traditional camera, but may make fixed focus a thing of the past

A new camera promises to shoot “living pictures” by capturing the light field of an image, allowing users to refocus their photos after taking them.

Lytro’s Illum camera resembles normal mirror-less cameras like Sony’s NEX cameras, but uses the company’s new 40-megaray light fieldsensor instead of a traditional camera sensor. The light field sensor captures the colour, intensity and direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, rather than simply the colour and intensity of the light hitting a traditional camera’s sensor.

The result is a digital image that can be refocused after the fact using the light field information to accurately recreate the image focused on a single point, viewed in 3D or used to create custom animations potentially including those involved in virtual reality.


“With Lytro Illum, creative pioneers — ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals — will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling,” said Lytro chief executive Jason Rosenthal. “By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography.”

Lytro Illum
Refocus photos on a single point or create 3D images using one lens. Photograph: Lytro

Illum is Lytro’s second attempt to revolutionise the way we take photos using light field technology to allow photographers to refocus their photos after taking them. Its first Lytro camera, released in 2012 based on technology developed by the company’s founder while studying for a PhD at Stanford University, resembled a fat lipstick in shape rather than a traditional camera, which made its adoption more difficult.

The Lytro Illum features an 8x optical zoom lens, with a fast shutter speed and a constant f/2.0 aperture, which ensures a high level of light enters the lens for clear photos.