Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 2, 2009

Be Prepared to “be lucky”

Filed under: behavior, Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, style, technique — richditch @ 7:38 pm
American Avocet display

American Avocet display

Since yesterday’s post about the display behavior of the Pied-billed Grebe drew in a lot of viewers I thought I’d follow up with another behavior image. This American Avocet display is part of the mating ritual of the species in which the head is lowered towards the water’s surface while the wings are extended straight up above the back.

Those of us who photograph birds at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ (and there seem to b more of us every time I visit, have become familiar with the actions of these birds that nest there. So when these brief displays begin we do what we can to be ready to capture the action. In this case that means rotating the camera to vertical, perhaps switching to a less powerful converter or shorter lens, deciding how much exposure compensation to dial in (or setting an exposure manually), and then squinting through the viewfinder waiting for the action and hoping that everything will fit, the exposure will be correct, the camera will be level, and focus will lock on the eye. I even managed three good frames in the process showing slightly different head and wing positions!

My luck in this case was having all those parameters come together for this image and having the avocet just fit in the frame.

D200, 30/2.8 with TC20E 2x converter, ISO 200, 1/1250th at f/8, -2/3rd ev compensation on matrix meter, 03/09/07.

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