I have learned that you have to be prepared to be a bird photographer and additionally that you need to be fast because birds are free moving creatures. There are times that you simply don’t or won’t have time to change your camera’s settings.
This series of Chukar images that I am posting were taken in only two seconds, barely enough time to focus, lock on and shoot a burst of shots. At that moment it seemed a little longer than that but I double checked my file EXIF information (Exchangeable Image File) in Adobe Photoshop and two seconds was all I had with this young Chukar.
I was fortunate that my camera’s settings at the time worked with these photos because there wasn’t even a second to spare to change them. Some times that works, some times it doesn’t. I’ve been on both sides of that stick.
Being prepared = being fast. You never know when a wild bird might cross your path so quite often you have to make adjustments quickly on the “fly” (pardon the pun). This Chukar had scurried across the road to this lofty, rocky perch and after getting to the top of the rocks it headed east as fast as it seemed it could.
But if I had stopped even long enough to adjust my EV compensation or aperture this young Chukar would have been long gone and I would have lost the opportunity to photograph it.
By estimating what your camera’s settings might need to be frequently out in the field you can increase your chances of getting the photos you desire. Birds that are nervous on approach might not allow you the time to adjust your EV before they take flight and you may lose the opportunity to photograph them.
Knowing about your location in advance can help with some settings; for instance this location is well known to me, I know what angle I need to be at for the best light and I also know that the hill in the background is a long way from the rocks and that it will give the images a clean background.
This young Chukar was in a hurry to join the rest of the Chukars that has already gone into the nearby cover of sagebrush at the base of the rocks, I can’t say I blame the bird with two big lenses aimed at it. I know I prefer being on the back side of the lens myself.
It was a fun two seconds because I was prepared.