Friday, November 29, 2013

Get the Establishing Shot...It Might be Your Only One!!

It’s a lesson I learned early…and paranoia can be more helpful than optimism…

I was putting the trash out this morning and heard a bird calling from high up in our eucalyptus tree.  I had to walk around and up closer to the tree before I could see the bird making the sounds…finally, there it was, a hawk.

Naturally, I scurried into the house, grabbed the camera, switched to my Sigma 150-500, and while headed to the door switched to a single focus point so I didn’t have leaves or branches competing for “focus on ME!”…  I had my camera in shutter priority (my favorite mode), but hadn’t got to the point yet of checking what speed I was on.  My priority was, get outside, get the first shot, then adjust.

Slowly and quietly opened the front door.  Crept out under the eaves until I got out into the open (the eaves provided cover from the drizzle).  Got into the clear, saw the hawk in the frame, zoomed to 500, popped off a couple of exposures.  That’s when I noticed the shutter speed was down at 1/125.  I knew I’d need to get that up faster if I wanted to minimize the effects of camera shake, especially at such a long focal length.  Started to make the adjustment, and you guessed it, the hawk flew away.  I have the subsequent shot to show where the hawk went…too far to go after.

When shooting wildlife, and approaching a scene with promise, start getting some shots off early, even if the composition isn’t right, even if you’re not as close as you want…it might be your only chance for a shot.

Comments and feedback always welcome--

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