Understanding Electronics Inside and Out

Nature Photographers, Here Are 4 Top Tips for Getting a Longer Life from Your Camera Batteries

by Christina Porter

If you're a nature photographer, you probably spend a lot of time out with your camera waiting patiently for that perfect shot. Finally, that animal you've been stalking comes into shot just when your camera batteries die. You dive into your bag looking for the spares you've brought along, but the time it takes to change them is too long, and the animal has gone. There are small things you can do to prolong the life of your batteries, so you don't have to miss those much-desired shots. Read on to find out how.

Don't Forget to Turn on the Power Saving Mode

It's the simplest way to save battery life and is designed for that purpose, but many people forget to turn the power saving mode on. Don't be one of them. Go to your camera now and activate this to give you that extra time when you're in the field and need it. It will shut down your camera when it's inactive for a set period of time. Check your camera's handbook to locate your setting.

Stop Using the LCD Screen All the Time

Using the LCD screen is a great drain on your battery life -- use the viewfinder instead. Most cameras have a control dial so that you can select shooting modes without having to use the LCD screen to navigate through menus. It's tempting to preview every shot you take, but do you really need to? You've taken the photo you wanted; looking at it before you get home won't change whether it's good or bad. Avoid previewing your shots when you're out and about, at least until you've finished shooting. If you really must use the LCD, at least reduce the brightness levels to lessen the power it uses.

Avoid Overusing the Shutter Button to Focus

Every time you half-press the shutter button to focus on a shot, the lens resets and focuses using battery power. Using it occasionally will have a negligible effect on your battery life, but continual use will make a difference to the lifespan of the battery. It may only prolong your battery life for one extra shot, but that shot could be the one you've patiently waited for.

Turn off Features That You Don't Need to Use

Your camera may be packed with great extra features that you're unlikely to need or use. Turn these off, as some of them may be performing actions that are using battery power. For example, the image stabilisation can be a useful tool, but is not always necessary. If you're using a tripod to take your photos, turn off this feature and save power.