How to Photograph Rainforest Wildlife | Wildlife Photography Tips


– Hi, it’s Sam Rowley here for Nature TTL and I’m here today to show you how to photograph
wildlife in a rainforest. (light uplifting music) A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity
to work as a photographer for a peaceful eco-lodge in the heart of Madagascar’s rainforest. This environment is famously incredibly difficult to photograph in and I learned most of what
I now know the hard way. Now unfortunately I won’t be flying back to Madagascar anytime soon, so I’m here in London’s very own jungle to show you guys how to best deal with whatever it throws at you. Photographing in the
rainforest has undoubtedly been the most exciting habitat,
that I’ve ever shot in, but part of this excitement
is the challenge. As soon as you arrive,
all of your knowledge and skills are pushed
to the absolute edge, you’ve come from a part of the world with a nice, manageable climate, you know your local animals
like the back of your hand and swatting an annoying fly
is enough to ruin anyone’s day, now, think of daily, tropical downpours, hundreds of new birds to learn and every insect now
being your worst enemy. Welcome to the rainforest of Kew Gardens. (mellow jazz music) The first thing you will
notice is the lens fog, as much as you try and wipe, it won’t go, until it does, your lens has acclimatised, you don’t want your first
shot to be all steamed up, when you first get up in the morning, leave your lenses outside to
give them some time to adjust and at the start of the shoot, always leave the lens caps off. These high humidity levels
can also spell disaster for the functionality of your kit. I’ve heard horror stories
of gardens of fungi setting up shop inside of people’s lenses, to be on the safe side,
there are a few things you can do to help prevent
this from happening, firstly you can change
your lenses at night, when it’s less humid, overnight, keep your
kit inside a sealed case with bags of silica gel
and make absolutely sure, that none of your kit
is exposed to any rain, you can use plastic bags for
protection up to a point, but pack them away before
the downpour really begins. The rainforest is such a beautiful place to have the pleasure of
working in most of the time, but occasionally this has to
be taken with a pinch of salt. Darkness is your second
enemy in the rainforest. In England, soft, diffused, overcast light is perfect for photography, however in the rainforest,
far below the dense canopy, the light is extremely different, there’s not even enough light down here for most plants to grow, so photography isn’t the easiest of tasks. Now, imagine coming across
that special, exotic bird you’ve only dreamed of seeing in the wild, sitting right in front of you in this dark, horrible undergrowth, our first port of call is camera support, now almost every other
photographer would recommend you use a sturdy tripod as possible, however I use a different technique, this is a small travel tripod, that can only just bear
the weight of my setup, but with a steady hand or
a remote control release, it more than does the job. The reason I love it so much is that you can duck and dodge
through vegetation quickly and get the thing up and
ready in no time at all. Your next step is to think
about camera settings. Thankfully with camera sensor technology improving so much year on year, you can crank up that ISO to give you fast enough shutter speeds
for sharp photographs, but without putting it up too
much to avoid excess noise. Another alternative is
to decrease the F number down as low as you dare to bring the shutter speed back up again. With all of the above in mind, I managed to shoot this
exotic bird of my dreams, the stunning male helmet vanga with my travel tripod, lowest
F number of my lens, F4, ISO 800, giving the bird
a fortieth of a second to stay as still as possible. In an ideal world, I’d also have had time
to set up my flash gun to bring out some truer
colours and those dark shadows. Part of the wonder of the jungle is its sheer abundance of species, but this can also be its biggest downfall for us photographers, you’re going to have a huge, new bird, mammal
and reptile guide to master, but I can’t stress enough that you do, I found it incredibly helpful to know what to expect
with certain animals, for example, my leaf-tailed gecko shots, as I was doing my research before I went, there were a few bits
of crucial information, that I came across, firstly, I knew that they
were too difficult to spot and that I wasn’t going
to find them by myself, I would need a guide, secondly, I would have to take the time to go to a specific area, where I know that they’re much easier to find and finally and to my surprise, they’re much bigger than I expected, leading me to use my wide
lens far more than I expected, I could give you this breakdown for almost every animal
that I’ve photographed. Something that struck me as
soon as I arrived in the jungle was how difficult everything is to see, be the animal high in the canopy,
obscured by dense foliage, a shy species or even be
insanely well camouflaged, you’re going to need some help, there will be some local guides and I highly recommend that you
use them as much as you can, I would have struggled beyond belief to find any of these
perfectly camouflaged animals without a guide. In my photography, I always try to shoot my
subjects at eye level, by seeing the world
from their perspective, you get a much more personal photograph, now in this country, this usually means simply lying down on the ground, but a considerable number of
your subjects in the jungle will be way up there, now sometimes there are pretty
straightforward solutions. (hissing steam) At lots of established
rainforest destinations, there are purpose-built towers, where you can photograph the
canopy wildlife at eye level, but more often than not,
this won’t be an option, so you need to think a
little outside the box. In the part of Madagascar that I was in, there’s a beautiful lemur, the red ruffed, which is found nowhere
else in the country. My guide gave me multiple locations, where I’d likely find them, one of them was perfectly located on top of a very steep hill with the tips of the fruit
trees in the valley below reaching up to the hilltop, it was here that I waited
every evening for four days and eventually got my reward. (gentle piano music) I had the same problem with photographing the indri, Madagascar’s largest lemur, my guide predicted when and where they would come down to the ground to eat some soil to help
with their digestion. With both of these examples, it was all about my improvisation,
when I was out there, but if none of these solutions come about and you’re not an
accomplished tree climber, then I suggest finding a
nice clearing in the forest, so at least you get a
nice, good view upwards, I found that a nice, quiet
riverbank was usually a safe bet. I hope that I haven’t been too negative about the rainforest, I want to reiterate that it’s the most stunning
and enchanting location, that I’d ever been to, a few pesky mosquitoes and
what I talked about today are a very small price to pay. So there you have it,
thanks so much for watching and don’t forget to subscribe to Nature TTL’s YouTube channel for more videos like this every week. (light music)

8 Replies to “How to Photograph Rainforest Wildlife | Wildlife Photography Tips”

  1. I read in the specifications on DxOMark, that the Canon 5D4 is tropicalised. I guess an effective feature, in such situations.

  2. Hey quick question, I'm heading for a group travel road trip to Costa Rica next week and it is raining season. So humidity and lots of rain. I can burrow a Gopro, but I think that isn't making it for campturing beatifull photo's and filming of the nature and animals (close and far)? I would love to make some still images when I'm back home to use for website/pc/tv backgrounds. So I wanna make some high res stuff, but due to the humidity and rain I'm not sure what to do. Any tips on what kind of gear is best to buy? Like would some sort of underwater camera do? Or are there some camera's that can stand agains the humidity and rain?? I just would love to not only capture the hike on the gopro, but capture the beaty of the environment with great single shots and short 4k+ movie clips. PS. I live in the Netherlands, so not all gear is for sale her ;( THX <#

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *