Sunday, July 6, 2014
The Odds Have It
This trio of Avocets was peacefully feeding in a quiet pond on a pristine spring day. They were perfectly spaced, with wonderful reflections. This is the kind of scene you wish for but rarely get. You want everything to be perfect, and indeed it was. In addition, they stayed pretty much in the same spot for quite some time. A photographer's dream.
Several elements combine to make this a successful shot. In addition to the spacing and reflections mentioned, all three birds are facing the same direction with their heads in profile to the camera. At times one or the other turned its head or spent a few minutes preening, making the body positions less than attractive. But patience paid off, and every so often their heads would nicely align and I could get a few shots.
When shooting near quiet water, often insects are in abundance, and that was certainly the case on this day. I hate using insect repellant because of the mess and the smell. But my shooting companion had some Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard, and it seemed to work well for the biting flies. The mosquitoes were not as controlled, but still not bad.
When using any insect repellant, it is recommended that you not get it on your hands. That risks transferring it to your camera, and apparently that can cause damage to the plastic parts on cameras and lenses. Using a pump spray or an aerosol enables you to apply it without touching the repellant. I tried spraying it just on my forearms, and that seemed to be enough to send the little beasties away.
Another helpful component when shooting outdoors when insects are present is to wear a hat. I have a hat with a wide brim. Apparently the bugs did not like my fashion statement, and they stayed farther away when I wore the hat than when I took it off.
Another helpful item is a head net. A truly ugly fashion accessory, nevertheless it helps to keep the bugs out of your eyes and ears. It does tend to frighten small children, and many adults as well, so be forewarned!
Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec. Aperture f/8. ISO 800. Lens: Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with internal 1.4 extender + 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'S QUOTE: "Three essentials to happiness...are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." --Joseph Addison