Time Off For Good Behavior

Capture wildlife subjects as they demonstrate good behavior to add impact to your images

Everyone loves to be rewarded. Be it emotionally or monetarily, smiles appear, egos are lifted and a good feeling consumes the body. Recognition is a valued emotion as it lifts the spirit. A feeling of positivity energizes one to show more benevolence, work harder and stay dedicated so the feeling can be relived over and over. Additionally, it encourages one to pass on the feeling, thereby coaxing others to perform positive actions. It’s with this in mind I give everyone time off for good behavior—a reward. I can do this because after you absorb the information in this week’s tip, you’ll strive to capture wildlife subjects that demonstrate good behavior. This, in turn, will bestow you compliments for your images, which in turn will warm your insides. Let’s start a mass movement of altruism and compassion and share the information in this week’s tip. It’s the time-off-for-good-behavior domino effect!

It would be nice if every time we encountered a wildlife subject it would display good behavior and make us smile. Yet all too often the animal is sleeping, looking lethargic, perched in a tree, floating on the water or displaying some sort of other mundane behavior. I encourage you to make a “record” shot of the situation, but once that’s done, refrain from pressing the shutter unless the subject does something exciting. Wait for the bird to fly off, for the lion to let out a huge yawn, for a piercing expression to cross the bear’s face or for the mountain goat to leap from one boulder to the next. An image that lacks subject impact is referred to as static. It’s labeled as such in that nothing physically moves or nothing moves the viewer emotionally. The idea of this week’s tip is to get you to break away from making static images so you can get time off for good behavior.

I consider myself a humble person. I’m not into those who have huge egos or carry an air of arrogance. Ironically, I do love wildlife subjects who portray themselves with these qualities. It perpetuates the survival of the species. Those who dominate rise to the top. This keeps the species strong. It’s those animals that put on great shows for photographers. They display bravado and command respect when they’re around their own.

Look for this during the mating season of the animals you wish to photograph. Research other times of the year when animals tend to display their personalities more. Birthing season is always high on the list as the adults protect the young, the young interact with each other, the mama interacts with the babies and predators try to take advantage of the unprotected. If you live in areas of fall color, be sure to incorporate the warm tones into the background when you capture these behavior images. Snow season is another time that can provide amazing opportunities and photo ops. It’s imperative you do research so you’ll know what times of the year determine when a given species shows “good behavior.”

Patience and persistence are two qualities you must possess if you want to be rewarded with time off for good behavior. Does it require an investment in time and possible boredom? Yes, but you have to earn your time off. Does it mean a late dinner or skipped breakfast? Yes, but you have to earn your time off. I could go on, but you get the idea. Additionally, it’s essential you keep your eye glued to the viewfinder so you don’t miss the opportune moment as it’s usually short-lived. You also have to accept that not every outing will provide great subject behavior the same way the light on a given day may be poor or you might not even encounter a subject. Be on the constant lookout for feeding, interacting with other animals, running, flying, yawning, scratching, wing flapping and more. The more you show persistence, the more you’ll be given time off for good behavior!

To learn more about this subject, join me on one of my photo safaris to Tanzania. Please visit www.russburdenphotography.com to get more information.

Photography is what motivates me to move through life in a positive way. Photography is ͞All About The Light͟ and it’s the first thing I seek out before I press the shutter. Optimally, I pursue great subjects in great light, but if there’s an ordinary subject in great light, I still press the shutter. I love to share the photographic knowledge I’ve accumulated and I hope my enthusiasm is contagious so I can motivate others to feel the same way I do about my photography.