Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lucky Break

The Chincoteague Challenge Photo Workshop just ended and what a wonderful workshop it was. All participants stepped up to the challenge and produced some fantastic images. It was a fun and easy-going group, and we had a great time in spite of the unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds.

I stayed for an extra day in order to get some more shooting in before heading home. It was a bright sunny day, and this bittern, who had been completely camouflaged by the grasses before he stepped out into the water, became a very obliging subject. What a stroke of luck that he happened to come out to fish just as I drove by. And it was also lucky that the winds died down, leaving the water smooth as glass.

I took many shots and chose this one as the best of the day. Why? Several reasons. I like his stretched out body position, an indication that he was hunting for fish in the water.  I also like his raised foot and the water dripping off it. I used rapid burst and took many shots of his feet in different positions. Setting your shutter for rapid burst when shooting wildlife helps to improve your chances of capturing that perfect position.

Reminder: when shooting rapid burst, don't shoot more than 3 or 4 images in a row. Your camera will function more efficiently if you do not over-tax it by taking too many shots at a time. If you take too many, your camera will need time to process all the images shot in that burst, and it will not allow you to shoot again until it has processed them all. That might cause you to miss a good shot while you are waiting for your camera to catch up. So take it easy on the shutter button and only take a few shots at a time.

The other thing that ties this image together is the clear reflection in the water. It is a perfect mirror image of the bird and the grasses.

The frontal light on the entire scene made it an easy exposure. The camera's meter read the scene perfectly and provided a good exposure for both the highlights and the shadows.

This is a simple shot that did not require great thought. It did require patience - the patience to watch, to wait, and to be ready when the action became interesting. 

Shutter Speed 1/1600 sec.  Aperture f/8.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 200-400mm with external 2X extender for an effective focal length of 800mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope."  -- Alexandre Dumas 

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