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on May 27, 2014 in Wildlife Photography

Sharpness Only Needs to be One Place!

White Ibis 1739

There is only one rule in wildlife photography. The eye has to be sharp. To repeat that, the only thing that has to be sharp is the eye. This can be a great constraint as well as a liberator in our wildlife photography. It gives us permission to bring to life to our stills, evoke emotion from motion. Building on gettin down, we take this thought further when presented with the right opportunity. We start this then by lying on the sand and getting down with the birds.

White Ibis 1741

Still using the same set up, D4s / 800mm mounted to the Panning Plate. Photographing this foraging White Ibis on this particular shoreline, care had to be used when placing the rig down so not to be lower than the water’s edge or you’d have a heck of a time keeping the rig steady (besides getting wet). The next thing is to think about what’s unique about this opportunity taking the common and making it uncommon? The majority of White Ibis photos you see besides being taken at eyelevel is that the ibis are in still, blue water.

Ibis feeding at the water’s edge is unique. But if we freeze the waves with a fast shutter speed, then you’re right back at that still blue water. The common reaction to shooting before the sun comes up these days is, “raise the ISO, get a fast shutter speed.” In this case, I continued to shoot my usual ISO100 working at 1/60. Between shooting with a long lens, having it resting in the sand and shooting at a slow shutter speed, this is a low percentage shoot. That’s to say, best shoot a ton of images if you hope to get that one that works. But then again, it just takes one. The waves because they are moving are blurred and there is no doubt they are waves. This brings emotion through motion. The peaking sun and D4s killer exposure and color does the rest. This permits us to move our photography forward and is a great example of applying the Maisel factor to wildlife photography, color, light, gesture!