Nature Photography on the Road [IP40]

In this week's episode Jim discusses some of the tips he learned while photographing wildlife and landscapes in Canada, as well as listener questions.

[1:00] Ten Tips for Nature Photography on the Road

Tip #1: Put your camera on the ground in the passenger seat with a long lens attached to it while driving

This tip really helps me to capture those sudden images that come up while you travel.  If you see an eagle or other wildlife while you're driving, you can pull over and be ready for the shot at a moment's notice.  Also, this will help you to prevent the camera from falling, which can happen if you brake hard and the camera is on the passenger seat.

Tip #2: Call your credit card company and cell phone provider before traveling

I had my credit card shut down when my credit card company saw sudden charges in a new country and thought my card was stolen.  Prevent this problem by calling ahead.

Tip #3: Grab the “gimme” shots early on in your trip

One thing that really helped me was to hit the classic “post card” photos of Banff on day 1.  This helped me to get some early wins and freed up the rest of my trip to find lesser-photographed locations.

Tip #4: Sleep in your car to be on location at sunrise

I laid the seats flat in my car so I could shoot until dark at sunset and then stay at the same location early the next morning.  If I had gone to a hotel, I would have had to drive an hour each way and would have had less sleep because I would have to wake up early to shoot.

Lots more tips are available on the episode!  Listen to the audio file to hear all of what Jim had to teach about his trip, as well as his answers to listener questions.

How to Subscribe to the Podcast on Your Phone or MP3 Player (free!)

For iPhone/iPad/iPod listeners – Click here to subscribe via iTunes with one click!

For Android listeners – Download the Beyond Pod app (free!) and search for “Improve Photography.”  You'll be listening to the show in less than a minute.

For podcast enthusiasts – If you already listen to podcasts and have a podcatcher that you prefer, the feed you'll need to add is https://improvephotography.com/feed/podcast

The free audio download of this episode is available on ImprovePhotography.com.  If you're reading via RSS or email, please click the title of the article to listen to the show on the site.

15 thoughts on “Nature Photography on the Road [IP40]”

  1. Mr. LaGaspa McDougle

    Alright!! I just had to write in on your answer to Rick from Kentucky (approx 48min into playback). He asked about resizing (upsizing) his image for printing. Jim, you had admitted having used Genuine Fractals “…which is the most popular…” and suggested that it would be better to use Photoshop. By this admission you’ve said a lot!!! You haven’t used such software in a while. Genuine Fractals is NO MORE!!! OnOne bought them in 2005, changed it’s name to Perfect Resize and drastically improved it’s functions in 2010. Yes, back in the day Genuine Fractals was the only choice and it was complicated to use. PS was worse, as you said, clunky at best. One had to constantly resample, figure out whether to use bicubic or bilinear….whew! Then along came PXL SmartScale and Alien Skin’s Blowup. They both changed the game and playing field. Just drop in a file and move the slider…THAT’S IT! Even back then you could enlarge up to (they claimed) 1600%. I tried it with great success. Fast forward to 2013 and it’s Alien Skin’s Blowup and OnOne’s Perfect resize and they’ve only gotten better.

    So, Rick from Kentucky, there are other choices and they work very well. I’ve used them and others around me have also. They just work.

  2. Mr. LaGaspa McDougle

    As many questions, based upon this episode, have come in concerning lens choices, please allow me to offer a suggestion. There are, at least in the U.S., 3 major lens rental companies that offer you a chance to rent a lens, and other equipment, for a fraction. I’ve signed up for 2 of them but my personal choice, if I don’t get in trouble for naming companies, is Lens Rentals. They offer relatively unbiased reviews, especially DX/Crop Sensor vs Full Frame, on their equipment but the clincher for me is their Shipping Club program. For a small annual fee, they’ll Fed Ex your rental FOR FREE AND 50% OFF OVERNIGHT!! Typically to rent a lens it’s $25!! Imagine the savings.

    One more thing to remember when putting that 70-200mm f2.8 or 24-70mm 2.8 on a Crop/DX camera….it won’t have the same performance as it would with a full frame. Depth of field/bokeh will be shallower and the sensors magnification factor will impact the lenses practicality. You’ll have to step further backward to get that shot compared to a lens more adept to your crop/DX body.

  3. Love those tips Jim!
    I always find, that when I go on a wildlife photography trip, it helps to have two cameras, one a DSLR with a tele lens attached, and another decent point and shoot one.
    They help capture all the “gimme” photos you were talking about without letting go of the chance to capture that animal or bird that doesn’t wait around for you to change lenses!

  4. Great nature photography tips but I wanted to comment on the lens advice given to the person with a T2i who was asking about the 24-105/4 vs. the 24-70/2.8. In general most people are going to be disappointed with the wide end being 24mm on a crop body (=38mm FF equivalent). That just isn’t wide enough for most walk around activities so going with that option means having something wider to fill in the gap.

    There are a variety of outstanding crop lenses that are wider and give flexibility – Canon’s 17-55/2.8 and 15-85 for instance – that people should check out when looking to upgrade their kit zoom.

    I’d also like to second the suggestion to try out rental places too. In addition to mailorder you might find a good deal locally for rental and avoid shipping. If you are looking at spending 1k+ for a lens doing some hands on evaluation is a good idea.

  5. Just found the ultimate vehicle for the landscape photographer. Check this out! Earthcruiser.com.au I’m going to need this, I can’t sleep in my Miata. 🙂

  6. That is a very interesting type of photography, maybe many think is easy since you do not have to plan at all. But if you are a professional you play with the values of speed, aperture, and iso in a way and amateur find difficult. A professional improves fast according to the situation and get what he really wants.

  7. Fantastic podcast with some great tips for wildlife and landscapes photography. Yep we should carry
    out this tip when we will be desperate about nature photography on the road. Thanks Jim for sharing
    your practical experiences here. Specially I salute you for your 1st and 4th number tips. It is true that
    we have to get ready for capturing sudden photographs. Though we don’t know when will be coming
    that great opportunity.

  8. Jim,
    May I add one thing to Tip 1 in IP40? I use a small pet bed that fits in that passenger floor space. It has padded sides, bottom and has enough space for the camera and another lens. I find that it adds some added protection and cost less than US $10.

    Great Podcasts !

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top