What does it entail:
listen, spy, spot, getting closer and hope that the animal stays put until the perfect shot is made. That's animalphotography, at least if you don't make use of a shelter. Often you have to guess the safe distance of the animal or sneek closer whilst being out of sight. Sometimes when your lucky the animal appears to be less shy, mainly from inside a car this can often be the case. Still with small animals like (singing)birds, despite making use of a large telezoomlens, you need to come so close to your subject (often upto 2 meters or less) that it becomes a very exciting and sometimes frustrating pasttime.
Animalphotography is somewhat similar to portrait- and sportsphotography: You want the animal to be outstanding against a indistinct background, this all despite the animal's movements. This requires a high shutterspeed combined with a large lensopening, the difficulty with this is that in the right lighting conditions; early in the morning (until 10 o'clock) and towards the evening (from 4 o'clock onwards); these high shutterspeeds are hard to achieve and many a picture fails because of movement, unless you make use of a tripod. Modernday digital camera's however have a solution to this in the form of steadyshot (only helps against your own movements not the animal's) and by displaying a very low level of noise at high iso sensitivity values thus making ever higher shutterspeeds possible. Some DSLR camera's to date have also steadyshot incorporated into them, but in this case it moves the ccd according to the movements of the camera instead of an optical lens element. Panasonic has recently introduced an new type of (dslr) camera with a 4:3 type censor instead of a 3:2 and an electronic viewfinder, so the camera has no mirror and no prism anymore but the lenses can be exchanged and it still more or less resembles a DSLR but is more compact, they are called micro 4/3 camera's and they become more and more compact.
Being as often in nature as possible has provided me with a collection of a total of 161+ local bird species from diverse habitats like: urban environment, the sea, the woods, the heaths, moorlands, grasslands with hedges etc, etc. In The Netherlands a total of aproximately (it varies) 2- to 300 birdspecies can be encountered and from the year 1800 onwards a total of 477 birdspecies have been sighted and with the changing climate and the large number of birdwatchers this number will increase more and more I think, the latest (2015) figure has reached the 500 mark with the Caspian plover being spotted and to date the numbers are increasing with some 2 or 3 species per year. Besides this collection of birds I also have a large collection of insects and amphibians/reptiles. My collection of mammals also begins to take on a more serious form (appart from the cattle grazing in the meadows of which I have a large number of pictures of horses) as does the collection of molluscs. Photographing fish is a bit more tedious, but I also managed to photograph a few of them.
Another aspect of animalphotography is close-up photography of insects and other small animals. Apart from the aforementioned aspects, in close-up photography you also need to take into account that you need a small lensopening to get as much depth of field as possible which results in slow shutterspeeds and thus the same chance of blurred photographs. This makes animalphotography one of the most difficult aspects of photography. The subject is (hard) to find, (always) on the move and is (unpreditable) in its movements. A common pratice with forinstance dandelions and dragonflies is therefore to photograph them very early in the morning when they are completely covered in dewdrops and therefore can't fly off. Close-up photography by the way can be done in two ways. With a DSLR the obvious choice is to buy a close-up lens for instance a 100mm with which you can photograph objects on a 1 on 1 scale from a distance of a meter. If you're not able to change lenses you can make use of a close-up lens which you can screw into the filter thread of your lens. They have one disadvantage, the more they magnify the subject the closer you have to get to the subject. In practice this means that with a 10 times magnification you have to come so close that it isn't practical anymore. Another technique that is sometimes used on close-up photography is putting a lens in retro mode, a 50 mm lens, a telelens or even a close-up lens. The first thing you do is to place a retro adapter on the camera to which the lens is then screwed on in reverse. In this way you can have enormous magnifications with a 50 mm lens alone and depending on the type of lens you can get enlargements of 11 : 1, but you have to come very close to your subjects and have te estimate the distance by moving the camera back and forth and you're a bit stuck as far as the apperture and metering goes, this can't be done automatically by the camera anymore.