Whether you're out hiking in the backcountry or sightseeing from your car, a chance encounter with wildlife is a treasured moment. To get great wildlife shots requires a telephoto lens and lots of patience.
Because your subject is a wild animal, it's imperative that you know how to view and photograph wildlife sensitively, responsibly, and with low impact.
- View and photograph from an established observation area or the trail when hiking. If an animal approaches, back away to maintain a safe distance.
- Use binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto lenses to view and photograph wild animals to avoid stressing them.
- Remain alert to potential danger while viewing or taking pictures.
- Avoid direct eye contact with bears, even through a lens, because it may be interpreted as a challenge or threat.
- Avoid blocking the view of wildlife to other visitors.
- Stay away from newborn or young animals, nests, and dens.
- Never sneak up on or otherwise surprise a wild animal, especially a bear.
- Never surround, crowd, chase, or follow an animal; it may respond by charging.
- Never try to get an animal to move to a different location.
- Don't make sudden loud noises around wild animals.
- Watch other people in the area—are they putting you in danger?
- Always carry bear pepper spray, but remember it is not a substitute for proper precautions when photographing wild animals, bears in particular. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) recommends its use only as a deterrent in a confrontation with an aggressive or attacking bear.