Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Egret Duet

The number of egrets at Bombay Hook in Delaware a couple of weeks ago was astonishing. They were everywhere. Their elegance is lovely to watch, and a real treat to photograph. They are delicate, leggy birds, and look especially graceful when just landing or taking off.

In all wildlife photography, taking a lot of shots is imperative. Subtle changes in the position of the head or wings can make or break a shot.

For the greatest chance of success, set your camera to its rapid burst setting. If you have a choice of high or low speeds, always choose the high speed. That means that the shutter will fire in more rapid succession. BUT you do not have to fire off the maximum number of shots your camera is capable of. Each time you hit the shutter button, take only 3 or 4 shots in quick succession, and then stop. That is usually more than enough to capture a wide variety of positions. Give your camera a few seconds to recover and then shoot another burst of 3 or 4. By using this procedure, you will rarely have an issue with your camera's buffer filling.

The buffer is essentially a waiting room where data sits while it is being processed by the memory card and the camera. As information enters the camera (when you hit the shutter button) it stays in the waiting room while the data is being processed and recorded onto the memory card. Once the information has been processed and recorded, the waiting room becomes empty and can then accept more data from the next round of shots.

If the buffer fills with too many images, your camera will not be able to fire again until the waiting room is empty, and that will not happen until all the information from that series of shots has been processed and recorded on the  memory card. Sometimes that wait time means that you miss an important series of shots. By limiting the amount of data that enters the waiting room, the buffer will clear more quickly, and your camera will allow you to fire off more shots with a shorter wait time. 

So be patient. Take your time. It will be well worth it.

Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec.  Aperture f/8.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with built-in 1.4 extender plus external 1.4 extender for an effective focal length of 784mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY QUOTE: "He that can have patience can have what he will."  --Benjamin Franklin

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