Posted by: travelrat | August 30, 2020

Wildlife Photography

Taken at the Panda Research Station, Chengdu

I had a lot in common with José-Miguel and Carmen, who I met at Valdelavilla, on one of the Vaughantown Spanish/English programmes. They were air traffic controllers, as was I back in the day, and they both had a keen interest in photography. So, we were sitting on a bench looking over the lawn, when a beautiful red fox sauntered by.

I say again, sauntered !! He just strolled across the grass, even stopping to give us an almost contemptuous once-over before going on his way. We all had cameras to hand, and we should have been furiously clicking at this rare photo op. But, we didn’t; we just sat there gobsmacked, and, by the time anyone thought to take a photo, Mr. Tod was long gone.

Usually, when you’re after wildlife, it’s skittish, and doesn’t present many photo ops. That’s if it appears at all; we went to Ranthambore especially to see tigers, but never saw any. For true wildlife images, you need the patience of Job, a lot of expensive equipment, and the wherewithal to do a lot of travelling. A Ph.D. in zoology would be pretty useful, too.

All is not lost, though, if you don’t have lots of money, or have a job which doesn’t allow the necessary time off. You can get good pictures if you visit a reserve, or even a zoo. Generally, it’s not too difficult to exclude the feed-troughs and such. But, it is important that you say where they were taken. What you must never do is pass off a picture of a captive animal as ‘taken in the wild’

To an expert, though, that’s a deceit that is easily detected. If the animal looks sleek and well-fed, it’s most probable that it’s a captive animal; in the wild, they’re usually a little short of perfect condition.

Except for the hippopotamus: they always look fat and rounded!

Bamburi Rescue Centre, Mombasa

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