Wildlife photography presents a multitude of challenges. Locating the subject is only the first step towards making a good photograph. Light is always of prime consideration, both quality and angle. So often in our rush to capture the photograph we fail to look beyond the subject to take background into consideration.
This image of a very good Pennsylvania bull illustrates a shot made without consideration of background. It remains a documentary shot in my archives from the 2010 rut but is a shot that will never hang on a wall.
A fog background can make for a beautiful almost mystical image while it obscures an otherwise unattractive or distracting background. The key to making these shots lies in getting close to the subject to minimize the amount of fog between the camera lens and subject.
In this instance the clear blue sky provided an attractive uncluttered background to capture this young bull against. Shooting up hill is a favored tactic of mine.
Here the same bull poses in a hilltop ravine with the colored foliage on the next ridge providing a soft backdrop.
Shooting a bull elk as he bugles from a hilltop required a low camera angle to place an adjacent hillside into the background.
So many factors come into play when photographing wildlife; subject, pose, lighting, and camera settings. All of the attention we pay to each of these important items though will be for naught if we don't look beyond the subject and consider the backdrop as well.