There are few things better in life than getting outdoors and experiencing the natural world. It’s even better when you have a camera with you, and can capture moments in time to share with others. It is no surprise that wildlife photography is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of photography to date.

The following points should be adhered to whenever you are photographing or watching wildlife.

Do not disturb

When moving around an area, it is important to be quiet and discrete. This will increase your chances of actually seeing anything. It is not just the animals that you can disturb, but showing respect to your peers is also important.

Respect the Law

There are laws in place to protect wildlife, and they should always be obeyed. They apply to everyone, however careful you think you may be. Anyone who would even consider illegally approaching the nest of a protected bird, for example, is very unlikely to be able to spot the signs of distress that they are causing. The laws are there for a reason, and to ignore them can cause great damage to a species.

Be careful with tape lures

Similarly to the above point, the use of tape lures (recorded bird song and calls being played to attract birds) can disrupt the natural behaviour of birds.

Do not use live bait

Live bait is a big no, no. Whilst animals kill other animals naturally, it is not our place to sacrifice one for an image. An ethical image is far more rewarding than an unethical one.

Look out for signs of distress

If you are photographing an animal, and it appears to be distressed, don’t continue to do so. A perfect example of this is when you spot a bird in a tree, and move closer to capture some images. If it begins to fly around you calling, it is likely you are near a nest and causing distress to the bird.

Instead, maybe you could position a pop-up hide at a distance from the nest. Leave it there for them to get used to, and quietly sneak into it after a week or so. You are then most likely to be able to photograph at your leisure with undisturbed birds.

Use common sense

If you have an idea on how to capture an image and you’re asking yourself questions about whether or not it is ethical, then it most likely isn’t. Putting wildlife first is of the utmost importance. An image is not worth the disturbance, or even life, of an animal.

“Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

– Unknown


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