It can be quite challenging to take wildlife images under bad light conditions, but there are few tricks that will help you to get nice results when the light is low.
Let me give you some advice in this article to help you to handle low light conditions photographically.
Protect your camera during rain
If you don’t protect your camera during rain, it could damage the electronics of your camera, therefore I would strongly recommend protecting your camera with a waterproof rain cover.
There are tons of camera rain covers that can be purchased online and they are quite cheap, as they cost around $10-$20. When you invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a camera, the smallest water drop may cause damage. So spend another $20 to be on the safe side when taking images under rainy weather conditions.
Camera Body: Canon 7D, Lens: Sigma 120-300 mm, Shutter Speed: 1/500, Aperture: f 2.8, Focal Length: 300 mm, ISO: 400
Turn on the Image Stabilizer
Not every lens has an inbuilt image stabilizer, but if your lens features this extra and you are shooting under very bad light conditions, you should definitely turn it on, because the chances are much higher to get shake-free images while the image stabilizer is activated.
If you use a tripod, it’s not necessary to activate the image stabilizer, as your camera is already stabilized when it’s mounted on a tripod, so the image stabilizer should be mainly used if you shoot with your camera handheld.
Use a fast aperture Lens
Fast aperture lenses are the perfect solution for taking wildlife images under bad light conditions because they will let in more light and therefore you will be able to use a much faster shutter speed.
Here are my personal top low-light lenses for wildlife photography:
– Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 Sports DG APO OS HSM
– Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II
– Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM II
– Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM II
Camera Body: Canon 7D, Lens: Sigma 120-300 mm, Shutter Speed: 1/8000, Aperture: f 2.8, Focal Length: 300 mm, ISO: 800
Use a Tripod
A tripod is just a must when shooting under low light conditions, as it is almost impossible to get a sharp image when you take an image at slow shutter speed without a tripod. A tripod will avoid camera shake and when your camera shutter speed is low, even the slightest bit of camera movement will result in a blurred picture. There are some really great tripods under $100 which are really steady.
Here are my personal top 3 tripods for low-light wildlife photography:
– ZOMEi Z818 Aluminium Alloy Travel Tripod
– BONFOTO B690A Lightweight Aluminum Tripod
– Manfrotto MT190XPRO4 4 Section Aluminum Tripod
Camera Body: Canon 550D, Lens: Canon 100-400 mm, Shutter Speed: 1/500, Aperture: f 5.6, Focal Length: 400 mm, ISO: 1600
Increase the ISO value
Increasing the ISO value would be the emergency solution because increasing your ISO value will automatically cause digital noise and grain in your images. Modern cameras can are able to provide a good image quality up to ISO 3200, but I would suggest setting your ISO number not higher than 1600 if you don’t want to have a noisy background. If you don’t have the option to decrease your ISO there is always the possibility to remove the ISO noise afterward, within few steps you are able to remove the noise in Photoshop.
Camera Body: Canon 60D, Lens: Canon 100-400 mm, Shutter Speed: 1/500, Aperture: f 5.6, Focal Length: 320 mm, ISO: 3200
As always, I really hope you have found the tips and ideas in this article useful!
Thanks for reading & see you next time!