One of the most effective ways of adding atmosphere to your wildlife images is to shoot ‘into’ the light. Backlighting your subject will infuse your images with an extra sense of beauty and drama. For these magical qualities to be apparent, the sun must be near to the horizon, so only attempt this at sunrise or sunset when contrast levels are low.
Exposure can be tricky to calculate in these situations, so expose for the brightest areas of the image and check your histogram regularly to ensure you are not losing important highlight detail. If needed, use your exposure compensation dial to establish the best possible exposure in-camera.
One of the most desired effects of backlighting is when a halo of light appears around the edge of your subject, this is known as rim-lighting and can be an effective way of accentuating shape and form. This can appear even more apparent when shooting against a dark background, so try to shoot towards areas of shadow. As with most outdoor photography, soft, warm light works best so it pays to arrive at your location as early as possible!