Stalking the Great Blue…
Sports and wildlife are arguably some of the most difficult types of photography to master. Both have to be technically perfect, but there are so many elements out of the photographer’s control. It is admittedly frustrating at times, but ultimately, when that single image pans out, it is very rewarding. Wildlife photography has an additional element that makes it a challenge over sports, in my view. That challenge is time and PATIENCE. At least when I am shooting a soccer game, for instance, there is plenty to keep my attention in between firing off a couple hundred or more frames. And I get to yell and cheer and even chit-chat with my fellow fans, all while composing, shooting, and adjusting technical settings.
But with wildlife photography, it’s a whole different matter. First of all… there is a HUGE chance you’ll never even get your shot. There are a couple of key elements to good wildlife shots, and one of them is having your subject pose in a particularly unique, pleasing, and artistic, manner. However, in my experience, animals just don’t seem to be worried about that. Just when you are about to settle into that “ah-ha” shot, they’ll turn their back to you. It’s almost as if they aren’t looking to become America’s Next Top Model! Second, is exposure–they seem to like shade when you are metered for sun, and sun when you are metered for shade–a challenge that has my fingers continually flying over the back of my camera to readjust and then recompose before they hop, fly, or run away. Finally, animals often seem quite content to sit there and simply do nothing. When you are waiting for that gorgeous flapping of wings, or a beautiful yawn, stretch, or a leap into the air… they often seem quite happy to simply… sit. (And often, turned the wrong direction.) So if patience is a virtue, wildlife photographers must be saints.
All this is to say, I had a great time last weekend stalking the Great Blue Heron on Old Hickory Lake at Bledsoe State Park, and while my time and options were somewhat limited, I was patient enough to bring home a few shots that I am pleased with. Hope you enjoy this one.