Monday, April 18, 2011

The Importance of Being Patient

99% of great wildlife photography is waiting for the right moment.  Yes you can drop in on an amazing location like the Masai Mara and take millions of decent shots, but a truly beautiful stand out image takes foresight and planning.  As I've mentioned before I've waited hours for a lion to turn his head, returned day after day to see if an owl finally moved branches, and waited for hours on end for a panda to walk into an opening.  Sometimes you get the shot in the end, sometimes you don't.  With all the advances in photography equipment the gap between amateur and professional is growing thinner, but patience is still the factor that sets a spectacular photo apart from a good one.  While I long to be back in Africa waiting in the bush for a leopard to walk by, I realize that it is not feasible so I settle for birding in the parks of New York.  I brought out my new 500mm lens last week and played target practice with the spring warblers and a few other birds that I found.  There was one beautiful White Egret that I spotted flying to a nearby pond while I was photographing ducks by the Audubon Center.  I walked over to the pond and saw the bird hidden by the leaves.  The birders were very excited and snapped their pictures and waited for about 5 minutes and when they decided it wasn't going to move they left.  I however set my camera up framing it in a beautiful spot with an interesting green and brown backdrop of trees in the trajectory the egret was most likely to fly in when he took off.  I then practiced shooting the warblers while keeping a steady eye on the egret waiting for any sign of motion.  I waited at that spot for 3 hours while the bird didn't budge an inch.  Many people came saw it, snapped and left.  This is the image they got:

By waiting and being prepared these are the two perfectly light, perfectly focused shots I got:



mina said...

Gorgeous photos as usual! I was surprised how enthusiastic we got about "bird watching" when we were in South Africa. These are lovely.

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