Photographing Wildlife

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Article by Dave Malak:

The most important thing in wildlife photography is to have fun. Then capturing creative & artistic presentations that are technically perfect will come natural. Every photographer has a different style and something different that they want to communicate to the world, the hard part is choosing the equipment that fits your style and lets you deliver your message the way you intend.
Let me start out by listing what I use for equipment and why it works for me.
The body I use is a Canon EOS 20D, which gives me what I need to capture what I want to share. It features a rugged magnesium alloy body that has a comfortable feel, 8.2 mega pixel cmos sensor, easy to use layout of controls, 9 auto focus points, 3 auto focus drive modes, and most importantly, to me anyway, 5 frames per second shooting for up to 23 consecutive shots!. This comes in extremely handy not only for flight shots but for getting that perfect pose from a perching bird. Couple that that with AI SERVO Auto focus (Which will continue to auto focus as the subject moves toward and away from you), and you have a deadly flight weapon!
The lens I shoot with most often is a Tamron 200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF). This lens isn't too heavy which is a plus for me because I shoot most of my wildlife pictures hand held (no tri-pod) The length is right for me because most of what I shoot is either real small or a good distance away. The focusing motor is pretty fast and relatively quiet. I can couple this with Tamron pro SP AF Teleconverters (both 1.4x & 2x) With both tele-converters stacked on this lens it gives me a max of 2240mm. The downfall is loosing 3 stops of light and the loss of autofocus as well as the need for a tripod in most situations.
My "general purpose" lens is a Canon 75-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM, this lens works great for birds in flight that are fairly close. I also use it for scenics & mammals.
The lens I use for landscapes is the lens that came with the body. It is a Canon EFs 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 The 18mm end of the lens gives a fairly wide angle that captures more of the world. I have also been known to point this lens at a person or two. This lens can be used for macros as well with a minimum focusing distance just under 11 inches. It's a good rounded lens that earns it's keep in the camera bag.
The lens I use for macro work...bugs, leaves, fungi, etc. is a Tamron SP AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF)28-75mm Macro. Again coupled with 1.4x, 2x or both teleconverters turns this into a max lens of 336mm at 12" on the 20D