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Wildlife photography is one of my passions. I have been photographing wildlife for over 30 years and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge during this time. In college, I took a lot of science courses including botany, biology, ecology, zoology and natural resource management. This training, along with my work with the national park service helps me a lot in my wildlife photography. The best advice I can give someone to improve their natural history photography is to be a good naturalist. The more you know about your subjects the better photographs you will make.
With digital capture, itís very easy to take hundreds if not thousands of photographs on a shoot and hope a few turn out good. Being shutter-happy is a double-edged sword and is something I try to avoid. Digital cameras allow us to be better photographers on one hand by providing instant feedback and the ability to correct errors on location. On the other hand, many digital photographers employ the shotgun approach to shooting which leads to sloppiness and results in a lot of wasted time downloading, previewing and editing images that fall short on quality and artistic merit. Iím not suggesting you should be overly conservative in the number of photos taken on a particular outing given digital capture is free and you are not paying for film and processing. The point Iím making is slow down, think carefully about what you are doing and ďAnticipate the Right MomentĒ. When you do find a good subject in the right light doing something interesting then by all means shoot quickly and capture as many images as you can.
Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR (my favorite lens).
The Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VR produces images with a degree of sharpness, color and contrast that exceed the expectations of all photographers who use it.
This is one lens I donít have to worry about which aperture setting is the sharpest. Itís sharp all the way from f2.8 to f16 . My choice of aperture is totally dependent on the depth of field I need for creative effects. At F2.8, the 70-200mm VR gives a very pleasing out of focus area or ďbokehĒ (the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field).
The Nikon 70 to 200mm 2.8 AFS ED VR is worth every penny I paid for it. I highly recommend it.
PS. I just recently purchased the Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS lens from B&H Photo and it's just as good as the Nikon version.
I purchase all my equipment by mail order from B&H Photo in NYC. I have been a happy customer of theirs for 25 years. Their customer service and return policy is the best in the industry.