Friday, February 21, 2020

Adding Life To Your Images

Life. That is what wildLIFE photography is all about. Whether the image shows an animal or a bird, we want the image to feel alive with the vibrance of life. One way to show that is by using a slow shutter speed and panning the camera to show motion in the subject.

This Sandhill Crane was captured during the winter migration at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. That is the time of year when thousands of cranes spend a few winter months there, generally from mid-November through January. That is the best time of year for the greatest opportunities to hone your bird photography skills. And just to enjoy the huge numbers of migrating Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes that winter-over at this location.

This shot was made in the morning, when the cranes leave the ponds where they spent the night and fly to nearby fields to feed. There is wave after wave of birds flying by, so you get many chances to try different approaches.

To get this type of shot, all you need is a tripod, a slow shutter speed, and be able to pan smoothly to follow the bird as it wings past. I'm always asked what is the best shutter speed to use, and the answer is "it depends." It depends on how fast the bird is flying. I have found that shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 second to 1/2 second work best in most situations. The slower the shutter speed, the more motion shows in the image.

So when you are trying to achieve a more artistic representation of a bird in flight, compared to an image where the bird is tack sharp, it is advisable to try different shutter speeds to see what works best for the look you want to achieve.

And remember that regardless of which shutter speed you use, be sure to keep your camera focused on the bird's head, and try to pace the camera's panning motion with the forward movement of the bird. Doing that helps assure that the head is sharp while the wings show motion, and the background becomes a smooth sweep of tones.

Plus, always be prepared for a lot of images that do not work. Take many images so that you increase the chances of getting ones where all the elements come together to give you the images you seek.

I'll be returning to Bosque del Apache December 1 - 5. 
Only 4 spaces left. 
See complete details HERE   
I hope you can join me!

1/15 sec at f/36, ISO 100. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens set at 400mm on Canon 40D camera body (yes, this is a shot from several years ago!). Gitzo tripod with ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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