Do you want to get into wildlife photography but not sure where to start? There’s nothing better than wildlife watching and wildlife photography at one of the best national parks in the US. You can make the most of the experience with the best camera for wildlife photography and wildlife photography tips from the experts.
How to do wildlife photography:
There are certain things you need to do your best wildlife photography. So here’s our best wildlife photography tips:
Get the Best Camera For Wildlife Photography You Can Buy:
The best camera for wildlife photography is possibly the Nikon D5, but if you are a beginner, you’d be better off going for an option for wildlife photography on a budget, simply because the high-end cameras will have too much tech that you don’t know how to use to be worth the price.
Be an Ethical Wildlife Photographer:
Baiting animals and putting animals in uncomfortable and dangerous situations just to get a photo is never okay. Likewise leaving garbage in National Parks (or anywhere) is a big no-no.
Apart from all of your wildlife photography equipment, you will also need a first-aid kit and a basic understanding of how to behave around wild animals. If you do have an encounter with a wild animal, you’ll need to let a ranger know.
Be Ready to Disguise Yourself:
This is one of the most important wildlife photography tips because if you forget it, you might not photograph anything. Birds have great eyesight, which means you may need to hide yourself and your camera under a Bird hide or a Ghillie suit. The same applies with mammals and smell; if you go downwind of an animal, it might smell you and run away.
Where is the Best Wildlife Photography?
Untamed Photographer has some of the best wildlife photography on the internet, and 100% of the profit of the prints they sell go to conservation organizations. Many of their photographers, like Filipe DeAndrade, Melissa Groo or Arati Kumar-Rao are internationally renowned, both for their skill as photographers and their passion for conservation. It’s a great place to go for wildlife photography tips from the experts.
How Can I Get Wildlife Photography Jobs?
Getting wildlife photography jobs is difficult but not impossible. There is a lot of competition, but it’s not impossible if you know your stuff and advertise yourself well. For some inspiration, take a look at how the photographers at Untamed Photographer got into wildlife photography and landed their wildlife photography jobs.
Best National Parks in the USA for Wildlife Photography:
With 59 national parks in the US, it can be hard to decide which are the best national parks for wildlife photography and wildlife watching. Therefore, we have selected our 15 best national parks based on where you will get the best wildlife photography experience:
- Yellowstone National Park
- Zion National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Acadia National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Arches National Park
- Big Bend National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Redwood National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Glacier Bay National Park
1. Yellowstone National Park:
Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the US (having been founded in 1872) and is so famous that almost everyone, whether American or foreign, knows about it. It is one of the best national parks in the US because you can see pretty much anything there. Yellowstone National Park wildlife has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in seeing the 60 megafauna mammal species, or one of the many bird species.
2. Zion National Park:
Zion National Park in Utah has diverse environments from desert and canyons to conifer forest which make it a great place for wildlife watching and wildlife photography. Zion National Park Wildlife includes 19 species of bat, large mammals such as bighorn sheep, cougars, and coyotes, as well as birds like the rare Californian Condor and the Golden Eagle.
3. Sequoia National Park:
As its name suggests, Sequoia National Park is home to a great Sequoia forest, including the largest tree in the world by volume. Sequoia National Park wildlife is also very interesting for wildlife photography: the park has black bears, pika, mule deer and plenty of birds and reptiles.
4. Glacier National Park:
Glacier National Park forms the International Peace Park with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park which is just over the border. This park is one of the best national parks to photograph grizzlies in the contiguous United States (see Among Asters by April Bencze or King of the Khutzeymateen by Colleen Gara for inspiration). Glacier National Park is also a good place for wildlife photography of large mammals like lynx, wolves, and mountain lions. (To see how to take your best wildlife photography of wolves, have a look at April Bencze’s Isle of the Wolf and The Dawn Howl.)
5. Rocky Mountain National Park:
Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the best national parks in the US, is the place to go to see elk, as it is where they go during fall for mating season. It is also a great place for wildlife photography of moose and bighorn sheep, and very accessible as it is only a 1.5 hours' drive from Denver.
6. Acadia National Park:
Acadia National Park is located on an archipelago in Maine, which makes it one of the best national parks for photographing and wildlife watching marine mammals like seals and porpoises. It’s also possibly the very best national park in the US to photograph birds (with over 338 bird species). You can also photograph red foxes and long tailed weasels there.
7. Grand Teton National Park:
Next to Yellowstone National Park is Grand Teton National Park, which contains a wide variety of animals, just like it’s more famous cousin. At the Grand Teton National Park, wildlife includes black bears, rodents like beavers and marmots, as well as 300 bird species.
8. Yosemite National Park:
The famous Yosemite National Park is one of the best national parks for wildlife photography, with black bears, the Sierra Nevada red fox and the rare, but adorable pacific fisher to be seen among the Yosemite wildlife.
9. Arches National Park:
Arches National Park has an interesting geographic landscape (hence the name). The desert Arches National Park is a great place for wildlife photography or wildlife viewing of reptiles and snakes as well as mountain lions and bobcats. To learn more about photographing bobcats, check out this print, “Bobcat Love”, by Melissa Groo.
10. Big Bend National Park:
Big Bend National Park in Texas near the Mexican border is one of the best national parks in the US because of its unique desert landscape and rare wildlife. In Big Bend National Park, wildlife includes the roadrunner, ringtail, bobcats, and black bears. Big Bend National Park borders the Rio Grande (and the area has been the topic of a documentary “The River and the Wall” by Untamed Photographer’s Filipe DeAndrade).
11. Olympic National Park:
Olympic National Park is conveniently located right next to Seattle, but that is not what makes it one of the best national parks to visit. At Olympic National Park, wildlife photography opportunities include the Olympic Torrent Salamander, the Olympic Snow Mole, and the Olympic Marmot, which are only found in the national park, as well as the foot-long banana slug. The park also has the largest roosevelt elk herd in the Pacific Northwest.
12. Redwood National Park:
Redwood National Park is home to redwoods over a thousand years old and also hosts large herds of Roosevelt Elks. It is a great place for wildlife viewing and photography of 40 species of mammals including black bears and the endangered Steller’s Sea Lion.
13. Shenandoah National Park:
Situated close to Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park is one of the best national parks in the US because of its black bear population (you’re almost certain to spot one, so have a look at how Colleen Gara photographs bears). Shenandoah National Park wildlife also includes white-tailed deer, woodchucks, and even rattlesnakes.
14. Joshua Tree National Park:
Joshua Tree National Park is a great opportunity for wildlife watching and wildlife photography, in the backdrop of the Joshua Trees. Joshua Tree has a gorgeous desert habitat, the perfect backdrop for wildlife photography, and Joshua Tree wildlife includes 7 species of rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, coyotes, and the rare desert tortoise.
15. Glacier Bay National Park:
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is the perfect place for wildlife viewing, especially for marine wildlife. In Glacier Bay National Park, you can see and photograph humpback whales, otters, porpoises, as well as the American bald eagle (which April Bencze photographs well in “Pacific Feathers”).
There are a lot of good national parks for wildlife photography, but we hope we’ve given you some of the best. From Yosemite to Big Bend, the best national parks in the US give you lots of opportunities for wildlife photography and wildlife viewing, which, with a few wildlife photography tips, can get you taking the best photos you’ve ever shot.