The Continuing Theme of Animals In Their Environment

A Highland Coo pulls a cheeky face to the camera

At 2012’s Wild Photos conference  the theme of animals in their environment continued to dominate – emphasizing the importance of portraying animals in their natural habitat to help capture unique behavior and the animal’s relationship with the natural world. Whilst being very respectful of portrait wildlife photography, there was a strong call to quite literally step back, remove your 5oomm zoom and instead grab your wide angle.

No-one was more impressive at this than Christian Zeigler. His wide angle images from the treetops and forest floors of the world’s rainforests were, quite literally, breathtaking, and encouraged TarajiBlue to  delve into our archive today to unearth some of our our favorite shots of animals in their environment taken with our wide angle lens. Admittedly, few of ours are the incredible wild animals that Christian encountered… but we all have to start somewehere 🙂

(Top) A curious, gentle but slobbering Highland Cow in a neighbouring farm approaches me for a kiss as I lie on the grass in my PJs on a sunny weekend morning. It, in turn, is being visited by it’s ‘personal fly’, ever present (seen here hovering by his left ear).

 tawny eagle (I think?) soars over the Kruger landscape below, near Olifants.

(Above) A Tawny eagle captured with a Canon wide angle at 22mm, from a rare vantage point of a high bridge at Oliphants in Kruger National Park, provided the opportunity for us to photograph this glorious bird in flight whilst also being able to set the context of the incredible African Savannah in which it lives.

(Below) We found ourselves in Cape Town’s Botanical Gardens without a macro lens, but with a fantastic specimen to photograph. We could not resist popping on the (only available) wide angle lens we had with us and seeing how close we dared get to this arachnid beast. I was quite delighted with the result – it captured the colour and size of the mini-beast better than any macro / zoom in would have done.

Golden Orb-Web Spider

(Below ) A black-tipped soldier beetle clambers over a thistle. Taken with a 7D and 22mm lens – a very much non-macro 35mm equivalent! Great fun.

Soldier Beetle Waves Hello

(Below) I’ve seen many better macro photos than this, but I’m not sure any have been taken at 22mm. Ever since Ali bought our first macro lens I have hogged it, leaving Ali with a Canon EF-S 10-22mm (unless the big guns can be bothered to come out). So on this summer’s day Ali decided to face up to the challenge and try some wildlife shots with an ultra-wide-angle lens. It’s mounted to a Canon 7D, so at its most zoomed it’s a 35mm equivalent.

He tried a range of insect subjects at the fantastic Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which has recently opened a huge woodland area, and this wasp was one of the better attempts. He wishes he had a shot of the set up, but basically the blurred white flowers on the mid-left are just about touching the front element of the lens, so the wasp is about 10cm beyond the lens. Unlike some of his other attempts, this isn’t hugely cropped – it’s 4045×2694 compared to the full resolution of 5184×3456, which is about a 60% crop. That works at around 10 megapixels, which is the same resolution as I get using my macro and 40D (and in the years before my 7D)!

Obviously you don’t get the fine detail on the wasp’s eyes as you might with a macro, but what you do get is a better sense of the scene, and you certainly feel closer to the insect when you really are close to it, with other wasps buzzing around you. It goes to prove the old maxim that the best lens is the one you’ve got with you – there’s always another angle to explore.

Wide Angle Wasp

Finally, my last image is called “In the Hen House”. Taken at 18mm through a hole into the hen coop it offers a more natural perspective on viewing these animals in their immediate environment .. Plus I found it much more hygienic than getting in the coop with them!

In The Hen House

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