So when shooting gets slow, slow being a nice word in wildlife photography for sucks, you have two options as I see it. You go get ice cream or find some place new to shoot. When the sun is high in the sky, ice cream might seem the logical option unless you have sand or water you can shoot at. What do those two things change with the sun is high? They are natural reflectors filling in shadows and bringing the light ratio back into play. That’s what I did, I left Ding Darling and headed over to the causeway where I can always find a shorebird.
I took the top photo to show you the one thing you avoid, the mass confused shot. I was shooting out of a Mustang, not the best vehicle to be shooting wildlife from but in this case, being so close to the ground worked in my favor. I’m shooting out the window using my vest as a pad for the D3x/600 w/2x. There are times when the mass flock might make a cool pattern but more often then not, it’s just compositionally awkward. The one big issue with the mass flock is you have so much rock. It’s just not a nice background for little puff balls. So I start looking for pairs or single birds that I can focus on.
Then once I have the single Dunlin in the viewfinder, I watch for when I get the pose that is the most pleasing and squeeze off a frame. Shooting so long, 1200mm, handheld, smooth is essential for a sharp image. Shooting with both eyes open I feel is really important at times like this because so much activity is going on that you might loose a great opportunity if you’re just staring through the viewfinder the whole time. Now is this better then ice cream? That’s up for debate!