You’ve probably seen Jonathan Alonzo or Merlin Tuttles’ work if you have ever seen a head-and shoulder portrait of a bat.
Since 1982, Tuttle has been taking photos of bats for over a decade. He’s been known to spend long hours awake at night, both at home and abroad, in order to capture the essence and personality of bats.
Alonzo found himself lying still in Bracken Cave, fully aware of the fact that he shares this space with many hungry snakes who come looking for fallen bats to eat. He waits patiently, glued to the ground.
We asked them to share their knowledge on how they get amazing shots of one the most difficult subjects in wildlife bats photography.
Which Camera is the Best?
Tuttle: A presenter at a bat meeting had really nail foils nice documentation of his work. Usually you’re either doing great bats photography or great research. But not always both. I asked him how he managed to do such a great job. He smiled and pulled out his Pentax point-and shooter, which he always has in his pocket. My next newsletter features pictures taken with a cell phone in very low light conditions. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with basic cameras.
Alonzo: I recommend that you put your money in your lenses. Bats photography are difficult to photograph in low light conditions, so I would recommend that you put your money into the camera body. The newer models have better sensors and can handle low-light situations.
Is it the Hardest thing About Bats Photography
Alonzo: I like the combination of fast motion and low light. I advise anyone, whether new or experienced, to get back to basics and understand shutter speed, ISO [film speed], as well as f-stops, and how they interact. You can be more artistic with blurring to show motion. It is possible to make many technical errors and still produce a beautiful image that clearly illustrates the situation.
Tuttle: Try to get a relaxed expression that shows the bats are interested in you. Photographers who attempt to photograph bats in their natural environment are often afraid that the bats might fly away. They’ll rush to snap a photo and end up with a picture that is a loud, snarling bat. I set up my camera so that I could see bats roosting nearby. I then waited and used the remote control to take photos without getting close enough to scare them.