Wildlife photography can be an expensive hobby

This week, I’m giving advice on how to become a wildlife photographer – or reasons you might want to do something different with your life. Today’s installment deals with the nuts and bolts of it. The expensive nuts and bolts.

This week’s installments of The Great Outdoors are all about becoming a wildlife photographer. One of the first things a person will need, obviously, is a camera and other gear.

The good news is that digital cameras are much less expensive than they were only a few years ago, and even though the price has come down, the quality has improved. That being said, though, you can’t expect to get great images with department store cameras and lenses. You’re going to need to step up the price bracket a little bit.

Canon and Nikon both make very good mid-grade professional camera bodies in the $1,500 price range. A Canon 6D or a Nikon 750 is a good entry-level pro camera. But then you’ll need lenses, too. Again, you’re going to want to go with good quality, and you’ll want to get lenses that have as low an f-stop as you can get. If you don’t know what an f-stop is, you’ll also want to take a photography class, or at least spend quite a bit of time watching YouTube videos about photography.

You’ll need long lenses for wildlife. A good zoom that goes up to 200mm, another that goes out to 400mm, and maybe a teleconverter that will double your zoom power would be a good start to a wildlife photography bag. Then you’ll need a good tripod to keep the camera steady when you’re at your maximum zoom, and a ground blind to keep you hidden. And don’t forget extra batteries, media cards, and a remote shutter release. All told, your beginner kit will run from about $6,000 to $12,000. Still want to be a photographer? I’ll give you a few more things to think about tomorrow.