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Meerkat family

Meerkats of the Kalahari - by kind permission of Burrard-Lucas.com

Photographing mammals is an arduous and time-consuming activity. We are surrounded with amazing images of wild animals in magazines, book and on television. However this published material is the product of huge team efforts and considerable expense. Also remember that lying behind the many exceptional images there are piles of less successful work.

Mammals can be very photogenic subjects. They have no inhibitions when in front of a camera provided the photographer does not make them feel threatened in any way. However, they are also unpredictable to some extent.

First considerations include the safety of the photographer and the protection of the interests of the animals. If your presence is putting your safety at risk, or causing significant disturbance to the subjects, it is probably time to leave and think again. Also, make an effort to learn something about the subjects so that they can be approached in the best way and at the ideal time.

Try to capture action, family relationships, daily activities, and interactions between the subjects and other creatures. The lives of animals are filled with excitement and problems just like our own. If it is possible to get close enough, try to capture intimate facial expressions as the animals care for their young, gather food and protect their homes.

Always remember that some animals are potentially dangerous. It is not just lions that can kill you - horses can kick, bulls may charge and dogs may bite. When on an organized safari, take heed of the advice offered by experienced game wardens and guides.

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