Whether you’re a seasoned photography pro, or like me, a novice who has ruined many a photo by leaving your camera’s lens cap on, the Nikon School wildlife photography course at the picturesque Werribee Open Range Zoo gives you all the guidance you need to take wildlife shots that would make David Attenborough proud.
Running for 4.5 hours, the course covers everything from the basics of camera setup and use, through to advanced techniques and strategies to capture the perfect photo. Beginning in a classroom environment, instructor Cormac Hanrahan shares his wealth of experience in a fun, relaxed and informal style, answering questions and running through some of his own photos to break down the elements that create an epic wildlife shot.
Once some of the essentials have been covered off, including adjusting your aperture, shutter speed and exposure to suit different times of day and weather conditions, it’s time to grab your camera and put your newfound skills to the test within the beautiful surrounds of the zoo.
While you can get lucky and get a great shot amongst the hordes of visitors peering into the animal enclosures (the meerkats and monkeys are your best bet), the magic really happens out on the open plains of the safari park.
As someone who has never had the fortune of experiencing a safari before, our close proximity to the animals was completely unexpected and honestly breathtaking. The course students are tasked with directing the open-sided safari vehicle into position to capture the animals with the perfect background, framing and lighting. Giraffes, rhinos and zebras are literally within metres of our cameras, with constant tips and suggestions from Cormac meaning even a beginner can take some incredible shots. (I managed to snap both of the pics in this article)
A particular highlight was a herd of giraffe galloping alongside the vehicle, before eventually stopping and seemingly posing in the perfect spot for their closeup as the sun set over the park. Each course group is also accompanied by a knowledgeable Werribee Zoo staff member, sharing their insight about the animals and the park itself.
The Nikon wildlife photography course is a truly memorable and informative experience, throwing you into the lion’s den (almost) to apply everything you’ve learned while surrounded by some of the world’s most majestic creatures. Whether you love taking snaps as a hobby, or you want to hone your craft as a professional, the course provides both a solid theoretical base and an engaging hands-on learning experience, sure to take your wildlife photography to the next level.
Adam Carlson is a new Melburnian/coffee snob forever on the lookout for good tunes, hidden whisky bars and random dogs to pat. Follow along at @Adam.intheworld
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Werribee South VIC 3030
Enrol in this or other epic Nikon photography courses at the Nikon School website .