Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S lens plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo 1325 tripod, RRS BH-55 head, Sidekick
As I’m sure I’ve written here before I rarely head out with a particular subject or image in mind. Instead, my approach to bird photography (and most other subjects) is to go someplace I expect or hope to find appropriate subjects and then walk around and look for something interesting.
That was the case with this House Finch that encountered on December 21, 2012 at the Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, AZ. A friend was in the area to escape the cold at the Grand Canyon where he works and I introduced him to VOP so we could work with the ducks on the main pond. With my arthritis I can only sit in one place for a limited amount of time, so after a while of ducking around I set off around the pond hoping it might push some of the Redheads and ring-necks in close to my friend’s position.
That’s when I came upon a couple of House Finches in a small garden area just off the sidewalk. I loved the look of the spiny ocotillo branches and immediately stopped, hoping that setting down the tripod wouldn’t flush the finches. I was in luck, at least for a few moments. My camera was already mounted on the tripod, set for the bright light, and in aperture-priority auto exposure mode. All I needed to do was lock focus, fine tune composition, and depress the shutter.
Being ready for a chance encounter greatly increases the odds of getting a good image. I’ve been a photographer for a long time (40+ years) and I know my gear and trust it. That allows me to concentrate on the subject and light without worrying about the mechanics of the gear. Practice and experience pay off when you stumble on something worth shooting, so get out asa much as you can and get comfortable with your camera and other equipment in as many situations as you can.