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on Jun 18, 2013 in Landscape Photography

You Ready for Sneak Attacks?

Common Snipe 0026

Ya, we gotta know that f/stop and shutter speed stuff (this might help with that!) and you have all the right gear (until the next batch of new stuff comes out) but are you ready for the sneak attacks? One of the greatest parts about photography no matter what kind you want to think about are the surprises. Those surprises are the serendipitous moments that often make your ordinary photograph very special. When these moments happen, we have to not only have the right gear and techniques, but be smart enough to recognize the surprise as being special to take advantage of it. Our knowledge base has to be so large to recognize that what we’re seeing is not only very special, but be able to bring that back in our images!

Common Snipe 0065

Case in point. We were shooting in the march in Churchill, Canada late one evening (21:00 late) working a great group of shorebirds. I was shooting with my bird rig: Gitzo 5561SGT w/ Wimberley Head(w/ RRS Quick Release mount attached) is the Nikon 800f5.6 AFS (w/TC800-25e) and D4 working the Solitary Sandpiper when I saw an unique walk emerge from the bank. Knowing biology can pay big dividends with one being able to recognize the unique. I swung the lens around to see the unique walk belonging to this Common Snipe foraging. Wow!

While it’s name contains Common, it’s anything but common! You can hear and see them in flight overhead but just seeing them foraging out in the open is anything but common. Knowing it was there, I instantly approached it to photograph it. As you can see, the light and habitat was picture perfect for this cryptic critter. I never was able to be a bigger image size than you see here, it kept its distance, but these were the first photos I have EVER taken of a Snipe foraging (I had a couple of “post” shots and that all) in my three decades. The bottom photo told me its a female. Why? There was a male flying overhead wanting to court and when she heard it, she took this posture. Your photography has to incorporate all basics but to get those special moments, your mind has to have much more info you can draw on for those special moments. You gotta ask yourself, are you ready for sneak attacks?