Thailand is home to a plethora of incredible species, and on islands like Phuket and Koh Samui, visitors can get close to a range of wonderful creatures for a true “Island Safari” experience.
Home to scores of national parks – both on land and in the ocean –Thailand is home to an incredible array of amazing wildlife, from the iconic elephant to an amazing flock of tropical birds.
Whether you’re out trekking in one of the Kingdom’s national parks or simply strolling through a local nature reserve with your family, it’s always worth having your camera handy to capture images of some of the country’s weird and wonderful creatures.
Capturing excellent shots of animals whose behaviour is unpredictable and are constantly moving around can create a special set of challenges.
Below are some tips on how to take images that will impress friends and family back home.
Capture Perfect Moments
It makes sense to start with a general tip that applies to pretty much all animal photography, whether you’re capturing images of tiny butterflies to majestic elephants. It helps to know a little bit about your subject and its routines, as this will always help you to capture the most magical moments. For example, if you’re exploring one of Thailand’s elephant sanctuaries, snapping an image of these stunning creates as they head down to the water for their daily bath and shower will offer an unforgettable memory – and images packed with action. Staying patient is also key – sit, watch and wait for the best moments to occur.
Thailand’s Most Iconic Creature
Although widely celebrated as Thailand’s national animal, it can sometimes be a challenge to snap an unusual, striking shot of an elephant that truly does the creature justice. In order to break away from the norm and set up an image that adds real spark to your holiday album, go for a close up of the animal’s unique features rather than a wide pan shot. Focus on unique details, such as the trunk, ears, eyes or feet. The various textures of the elephant’s skin will add interest to your photograph, and the shadow and contrast created by the skin’s surface will make for an interesting image.
Thailand’s tropical islands are some of the best places to look out for stunning tropical bird life, and a morning spent in the garden of your private villa could be blessed with sightings of olive backed sunbirds, Indian rollers and hoopoe. Getting the right light is essential for all photography, and this tends to occur in the early morning or at sunset – just the times of day these wonderful winged creatures are likely to be at their busiest. The right light will not only bring out the fabulous colours of the bird’s plumage, but it will also prevent harsh shadows from minimising the effect of the feathered texture.
Under the Sea
If you’re out on a diving excursion, it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to capture some images of Thailand’s superb marine kingdom under the sea. Whether you’re shooting fish or a turtle, try to get as close to your subject as possible as too much water will reduce the colour, contrast and sharpness of the image. For the best composition, aim to shoot from an upwards angle and don’t try too hard to centre your subject within the frame. An off-centre shot will help bring movement to the image, emphasising the dynamic appearance of the subject.
Never Smile at a Crocodile
Crocodiles are some of Thailand’s more impressive creatures, and while they once roamed wild in the Kingdom, nowadays you’re much more likely to encounter them in a zoo or nature reserve. The first rule is to try not to capture the cage in the foreground or background of the image. If you are shooting from the other side of a glass wall, come as close to the partition as possible and open your camera’s aperture as wide as possible to minimise the effect of any dirt or glare on the glass.