Thursday, April 5, 2012

Black-necked Stilt

1/1600 | f/5.6 | ISO 360 | 700mm
A little bit of patience goes a long way when photographing birds. I'd been out to Newnan's Lake on two but it wasn't until this day that I finally got some good shots of the black-necked stilt. 
When photographing a new species, I've noticed that I follow a trend. At first, I just try to get an image of the bird - doesn't matter if it's out of focus or if the bird is just a speck on the sensor. I just need that one image to add him to the list. Then, I try to better that capture by attempting to get closer and have the bird fill more of the frame. I'm still not looking for better composition per se, just looking to get a better shot for identification purposes. The third image I try to get is a well composed static shot. That's what we have below. Nothing exciting or portfolio worthy, but not bad either.
1/1250 | f/5.6 | ISO 450 | 700mm
But once all of those images are captured, I start to get picky. I no longer press the shutter just to get another identification image, but instead wait until the most opportune time. In this case, I wanted to capture the stilt in flight. Specifically, I wanted a shot of him taking off or landing - two positions where his legs are almost perpendicular to his wings. And that's exactly what I was able to do in the image below. It took me three days to finally get this image, and it was well worth it! 
1/1250 | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 700mm

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