Gear up for wildlife photography
A photography hobbyist who takes stunning wildlife photographs, IT manager Daryl Yeo spends his free time pursuing his one true passion – wildlife photography. Started since 2006, Daryl has travelled to places as far as Africa for his photography expeditions. We speak with him to find out the perfect equipment and techniques used for taking wildlife shots from predatory cheetahs to majestic eagles. (Report by Isaiah Tan)
Q1: Wildlife photography is very technical. Which cameras and lenses do you use, and why?
Daryl Yeo (D): I usually bring along 2 camera bodies – EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III. For longer reach and particularly for birds, I use the EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens. For bigger mammals or closer subjects, EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens is my choice. I also bring along an EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens and EF14mm f/2.8L II USM lens for wider angle action.
Q2: Which is your favourite wildlife lens and why?
D: My favourite lens is the EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM. It is light enough to handhold, even for a small guy like me, and the AF is exceptionally fast. This lens works well with 1.4x and 2x extenders to provide that further reach, yet maintaining image quality and focusing speed.
Q3: What other essential equipment do you use?
D: In wildlife photography no lens is long enough. I often use a 1.4x extender, and occasionally a 2x extender.
A remote switch is necessary for shots in low light which require mirror lock-up. An angle finder helps me shoot from low angles. A pair of binoculars is helpful in spotting animals, especially birds.
Q4: How do you plan for shooting wildlife at night?
D: I am not a fan of shooting at night. Many nocturnal creatures depend on their excellent eyesight. To capture their images at night, we require either powerful floodlights or torches, flashes or even both. These lights could interrupt with the animals’ hunting, or even worse blind them permanently.
Q5: Do you camouflage yourself and your equipment? Do you normally shoot alone, in a group or with a guide?
D: I don’t need to camouflage myself unless I’m shooting a particular species of birds. However, to remain inconspicuous, my attire is always as dull as possible – grey, green, brown etc. I try to make the animals more comfortable with my presence, so I can get closer. When I travel, I prefer to shoot in a small group with a local guide.
Q6: How much have you invested in your equipment so far? Are you planning on purchasing any new ones?
D: It has been a gradual progression of my equipment investment. I started out in 2007 with EOS 30D, then EOS 7D, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS-1D Mark IV and eventually EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X. For lenses I started out with f/4 lenses, and gradually upgraded. I also rent lenses instead of buying, since I figure out I may not use some lenses often enough.
Since 2012, Daryl Yeo has won several medals from international photography competitions. He was awarded Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS) from the UK in 2014. Apart from that, he was also awarded the Fellowship from various photography associations such as the Photographic Society of Singapore, Photographic Society of Malaysia, and Singapore Colour Photographic Society. Besides wildlife, Daryl also enjoys travel, dance and sports photography. He was part of the official photography team in Chingay 2012 and 2014, and had also volunteered in the National Day Parade 2014 as a photographer.
A professional videographer with a love for photography, Isaiah runs a video production company, a wedding video/photo business, as well as a small bar in Singapore. He enjoys experimenting with different photographic techniques and always wants to learn and discover more of the world around him.