Be Vary, Vary Picky!
Wildlife photography is just like Christmas morning quite often. You find that great subject and just like a kid on Christmas morning you just start wrippin and in the end, you have just the one present. The problem is the leftover pile of paper you have to clean up afterwards. The problem though for the wildlife photographer, all that wrippin really kills the great photo as you dig through all those images you have to delete afterwards! I understand all to well the excitement of seeing that gorgeous subject that you’ve never photographed it before and you just start clicking. I seen that happen with every subject on the plant by excited photographers and that’s just damn cool! That excitement will take you photography a long ways down the road! The problem with it though is it instills really bad photographic habits! Be vary, vary picky. Go into what I call sniper mode, get the one shot!
The top photograph is the first picture I took when we came up to this Spoonbill at Fort DeSoto. It was early morning so one knows that as the day gets older, the light gets harder. So wanting to take advantage of what you think is the best light, you shoot a lot trying to get the shot. What you have to do is take a deep breath and think the PHOTOGRAPH through. I’m much happier with the one clean shot then a thousand shots showing I can push a button (that you have to edit through later). In this case, the foreground and background are nasty. NASTY! The tide is out so lots of muck is coming through in the photo taking away from the beauty of the Spoonbill. Shooting with the D4 with 600VR2 with TC-20e3 and knowing the tide was coming in, waiting made sense to make the better photo. I’ll let the rising tide not only remove the busy foreground and background, but give me a reflection to work with. At the same time, the harder light will increase the contrast making those elements disappear even more. Finally, staying longer, the Spoonbill got use to my presence so would come closer. Yes, knowing all of this takes times in the field shooting. And learning not to astro blast through you excitement was learned easier when we shot film not digital because throwing away all those rolls of film really brings the point home. But I’m going to encourage you to be vary, vary picky!