Sunday, March 28, 2010

Five best things: Wildlife pictures

There are two secrets to wildlife photography: A long lens and patience.

5. This guy was about five feet long, preening on a rock wall above a river in Costa Rica.

4. People go all gooey over this picture, but I took it from my home office through a window and into our very own long-needle pine tree, so it feels like I was cheating.

3. Two days in Costa Rica is the equivalent of two years in most other places when it comes to spotting exotic wildlife. I haven't any idea what sort of bird this is, but to see a bird with a fish in its mouth from a distance of 30 feet was, to me, an extraordinary experience.

2. So, there's a pattern here -- birds. I have lots of shots of bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain goats, and other land mammals, plus lots of whales. Birds are so much more difficult to shoot that I'm impressed when I get one right. This great blue heron was sitting on a rock in the Salmon River and I waited for him to take off, and I got three keeper shots, including this one.

1. To a lot of people this photo will look routine, but photographers will understand why I love it. This crane was flying directly at me at high speed, so I had to "un-zoom" my 180-500 mm lens as it came toward me while tapping my shutter release to keep it in focus. I had to begin panning when it turned to my right, and that's when I got this shot. It's pretty easy to shoot a stationary animal, but a bird in flight is a whole other matter.

1 comment:

  1. The context given to the pictures makes them all the more amazing!!
    Thanks so much for sharing!