From the hills of Nagano to the snow-capped mountains of Hokkaido, NatGeo Grand Prize winner Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan embarked on a trip to Japan to photograph some exciting wildlife in the recent winter. Relive his experience through his full-frame shots and pick up some techniques you could use to compose award-winning shots in your next wildlife adventure!

Create Unique and Interesting Perspectives of Wildlife

Armed with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, I was on a boat during sunrise and decided to shoot against the sun light to create this shot. Traditional photography says shoot with the sun behind you, but isn’t it fun to break the rules to create something new?

Juvenile stellar eagle taking off
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/5.6 | ISO 2000 | 1/2500s

Be Patient

Wildlife photography is all about patience, especially when you are on foot and not in a safari vehicle. Hang around for sometime and allow the animals to get comfortable before you start shooting if you want to create unique images that tell a story. The more time you spend in the wild, the better it gets. Anticipation is key to for action images.

Red foxes in a play fight
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/5.0 | ISO1600 | 1/160s

Take Advantage of the Natural Elements in the Surrounding

Tell a story with the weather elements such as the sun, dust or snow. A composition of a wild animal in its habitat is a lot more interesting than just animal portraits. Every habitat is unique, so use your wide or smaller lenses whenever possible.

Snowscape
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM | f/20 | ISO 100 | 1/15s

Fill the Frame

This allows you to create interesting portraits by capturing full details of your subject.

Japanese Macaques hanging out
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/8 | ISO 2000 | 1/500s

Make Eye Contact

Eye contact can make or break an animal portrait. Most animals are not comfortable with eye contact, so patience is key!

Japanese Macaques in a daze
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/7.1 | ISO2000 | 1/500s

Curious Red Fox
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/13 | ISO1250 | 1/160s

Research, Plan and Study

Research and know your subject well before you travel to a location so you know what to expect and what to look for.

Red-crowned crane singing
Canon EOS 5D Mark IVCanon EF600mm f/4L IS II USM | f/7 | ISO 1500 | 1/160s

Try Shooting Wildlife with Wide Angle Lenses

Wide angle lenses help to bring out the “wow” factor to your images – wide angle, wider perspective.

Sika deers at sunset
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV |EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM | f/11 | ISO 1000 | 1/15s

 Experiment With Different Exposures

Sometimes underexposing results in capturing the beautiful sunrise across the drift ice.

Stellarmourn at sunrise
Canon EOS 5DS R | Canon EF600mm f/4L IS II USM | f/8 | ISO 800 | 1/1000s

Don’t forget to connect with Jayaprakash and check out his amazing works at https://www.facebook.com/JayaprakashBojanPhotography/ and https://www.instagram.com/jayaprakash_bojan/!