Chris Packham's photographic tips

Taking the winning shot requires time, creativity and patience. Chris Packham gives his top tips.


Spring

Lambs and bunnies are ideal subjects but you need to make your photo stand out. Shoot in the rain or point your camera into the sun to add drama. Find out which farms will have lambs and where foxes wander. Spring is a short season so a notebook with locations and ideas will help you make the most of it. With many species giving birth, the parents are out and about looking for food.


Summer

Nectar from flowers will attract insects. Shooting through foliage with an out-of-focus background and foreground can help you to focus on your subject. If you can’t focus in close, take the photo from further away and ‘crop in’. Make animals into silhouettes by taking photos with the light behind them. The garden pond will be a busy place - a tent can be adapted as a hide, or use a frame and cover it with an old groundsheet.


Autumn

Now birds are flocking back to your feeders after spending the summer raising their young. If the background is not very natural hang a plain dark cloth behind your ‘set’. Turn off the flash and put your lens close to the window to reduce reflections. You can get waterproof camera covers for rainy days, or make your own with clingfilm or a plastic bag. Use the flash to illuminate raindrops and throw handfuls of leaves in front of the lens just before you press the button.


Winter

Try to catch garden spiders spinning their webs, just as the first rays of sun hit them. Keep the background in shadow so they stand out. A frost can transform the countryside into a fairytale landscape - a great opportunity to focus on cattle, horses, ponies and sheep. Winter also sees wildfowl arriving at our shores. They make good subjects when they are swirling in huge flocks. Each bird may be small, but together the ‘dots’ join up to make an impressive whole. Crisp, cold and blue early morning skies and rich sunsets make the best backgrounds.

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