Beach photography: where and when to capture stunning wildlife pictures

Beach photography: where and when to capture stunning wildlife pictures

How to photograph puffins

How to photograph puffins

No coastal wildlife photographer could possibly ignore the colourful spectacle of the puffin colonies located around the UK.

The most popular of these are located at the Farne Islands in Northumberland, Skomer in Wales, and the Shetland Islands and Lunga in Scotland.

There are boat trips to the island locations, and the birds are commonly seen from late May to August. Most locations are controlled by one of the major wildlife charities, so you’ll often be limited to where you can go on the reserves, but even so it’s easy to get close to the animals.

The best technique is to find a location where the puffins will land with their beaks full of food and try to capture them as they approach.

How to photograph gulls and waders

From large colonies of sea birds to solitary birds of prey, there’s a huge variety of bird species to choose from around the coast, and there are also plenty of techniques to try when photographing them.

The traditional approach is to use a long telephoto lens to capture individual birds, but you could also try to include many more animals in a single frame, or there are also options for panning and wide-angle shots.

In popular beach locations gulls will be used to people, so they will be quite happy to come close to you, and this is where you could try using a wide-angle lens to give your shot an unusual perspective.

Large flocks of sea birds offer a range of shooting options. You could try shooting them in flight using a slow shutter speed and panning to create an abstract image.

This is particularly effective at sunrise and sunset when you can use the sky as a backdrop. Another option is to try shooting a flock of wading birds as they scour the shore for food.

Get down low to make the birds appear close together, and use a long lens and a wide aperture to isolate a single bird while throwing the other animals around it out of focus.

PAGE 1: How to photograph seals at the beach
PAGE 2: How to photograph puffins, gulls and waders
PAGE 3: How to photograph whales, dolphins and otters

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