NEW COURSE: Wildlife Photo Editing Secrets Now On Sale

If you read the other day’s post (You Have to Start Somewhere), you saw that I posted a photo from an outing on my kayak. I was really trying to get a nice Spoony in flight, but that didn’t happen. Well, I didn’t get back until 9pm that night. And in spite of the fact that my HOA rules prohibit me from leaving my kayak on the roof of my jeep, I left it there. And then Wednesday morning came along, and I got busy and didn’t take it off yet. Next thing you know, it was Wednesday afternoon and I saw it sitting on my roof. So I decided “what the heck”, and went out at sunset again since most of the work of getting out was already done.

Conditions were pretty much the same except low tide was 1 hour later (around 6:30pm). This meant, I could plant myself on a sandbar until the good light came and not worry about the tide coming in too far. And this time I brought a little chair along with me, to sit on the sandbar. It had to be quite the site to see this guy sitting out in the middle of the bay on this tiny little chair all alone. (Click here to see a short 5 second video I took of the scenery with a couple of Black Skimmers flying by)

The Photo(s)

Below I posted two photos. One of the shot I thought I wanted (the first one) and another of the initial takeoff. Which do you like more and why? I’m torn. I like them both 🙂

f/6.3 | 1/3200th | ISO 4000
f/6.3 | 1/3200th | ISO 4000

Believe it or not, I think I may even like the second shot more. I like the overall shape and form of it. And I think Spoony’s look nicer fro this angle. They almost look as if they’re smiling at us. From the side, they look skinny and angry in my opinion and you don’t get any view of the spoonbill.

Settings

The photo was taken with the Sony Alpha 1 and Sony 200-600mm lens at 500mm. I used evaluative metering, continuous AF, with the AF Mode set to Wide. The camera didn’t pick up on the eye, but as usual, it’s not a problem since the focus points revert to the head of most birds with the Sony Alpha 1. Aperture was the lowest the lens would allow (f/6.3) and shutter was the usual 1/3200th with Auto ISO turned on.

Post processing was done in Lightroom Classic and some Topaz DeNoise AI for noise reduction.

So Why Did I Say “Success… Well Kind Of”?

You may have noticed the title of this post was “Success… Well Kind Of”. Once you know the story from the previous day where I got nothing from my outing, I considered the fact that I got to photograph the Spoonbill in flight with nice light on it a success. I think the late evening golden light on the wings really shows off the colors nicely.

However, the background isn’t what I want. Some areas where the tide goes out leave these green grassy/muddy spots that just don’t look quite as pleasing to the eye. If I could order this up the way I wanted, I’d have a nice blue water background instead, and that would mix nicely with the colors on the Spoony. But beggars can’t be choosers right?

Well, I tend to disagree with that. I do realize that some people would love to see and capture the bird in flight. But once you understand the camera and settings, and you have a great (and mostly slow) flying subject like this, capturing the bird in flight isn’t much of a challenge anymore. This sounds bad, but my Alpha 1 does all of the work. I just point it and push a button and with today’s technology it works flawlessly most of the time. I have 40 photos in this burst of flight, and every one of them is in focus and razor sharp.

So the challenge becomes refining your work. Not just capturing the bird in flight, but also thinking about backgrounds, light, wing position etc… And that’s where I’m at. I want to refine.

It was a great evening on the water, and I managed to get a couple of interesting action shots of some Royal Terns as well (more on that another time).

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