University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Nature Photography

LEVEL I - Introductory Level


DEPARTMENT Centre for the Liberal Arts and Sciences

DESCRIPTION Photography is a very subjective topic in many respects. In nature photography, where authenticity is very important, only minimal digital tampering should take place for it to retain its value as a nature shot. The trick is therefore to try and ensure that the picture is as correct as possible from the very start. This is so important so as to minimize the amount of fixing needed later on, even if there is now a multitude of software that makes such adjustments possible in the digital age.

The intention of this basic Unit in nature photography is not only to go into the technical details of how to take a photograph, or of how the equipment works but to present a simple introduction to those that are new to photography and to highlight the possibilities that exist on these islands that allow those interested in nature photography to participate in this rewarding activity.

This Unit will give a brief introduction on the history of photography in Malta and it will later focus on different aspects of nature photography. This will be presented with topics related to (i) Maltese habitats and the opportunities these present to the photographer; (ii) Nature photography in different habitats such as tropical rain forests, savannas and grasslands; (iii) basic information on the technical aspects such as camera bodies, lenses and other equipment used in the field; (iv) hints and tricks on how to take better nature photographs; (v) ethics in photography with special reference to environmental respect; (vi) the different techniques used in nature photography i.e. macro-photography and telephotography.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- Grasp the essential principles of nature photography;
- Understand the methods and techniques used in nature photography;
- Learn how to use the relevant equipment;
- Learn what organisms are to be found in the different habitats discussed;
- Learn various tricks that need to be used in the field so as to allow the photographer to approach the subject.

2. Skills:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- Proficiently use the equipment used in nature photography;
- Identify the challenges faced by the photographer when taking relevant photographs of nature/wildlife.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Bonett, G. (2011) The natural history of the Maltese Islands as seen through a photographer's lens. 383 pp.
- Bonett, G. & Attard, J. (2005) The Maltese Countryside. A pictorial guide to the flora/fauna of the Maltese Islands. Vol 1 & 2. 432 pp; 392 pp.
- Prepared handouts by the lecturers.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Fieldwork and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Oral Examination (15 Minutes) Yes 20%
Assignment Yes 80%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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