Photographing Canada Geese in Flight in Fog and Golden Afternoon Light

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Canada Geese in flight in a thick fogCanada Geese in flight in a thick fog – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/200, ISO 1000, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

These two photos of Canada Geese were taken in very different lighting conditions and while both tested my skills as a bird photographer one of them required more thought from me and challenged my skills more too.

This photo of Canada Geese in flight in a thick fog might not be everyone’s cup of tea because it was taken in fog, low light and there is motion blur but I quite like it. Taking this image tested my skills, trying to get the exposure right, trying to have enough shutter speed plus trying to maintain focus on one bird’s head while it was flying when there was a lot of moisture between the geese and I.

I like testing my skills because when I do I always learn something new and when I learn something new I grow as a photographer, if I don’t test my skills I don’t grow. If the photo or photos are horrible, I still learn.

When I took this photo the conditions were pretty bad and most of the images didn’t turn out well at all but I liked how this one did. I like the softness of the fog, the motion blur and the quiet mood the image conveys to me. Other people’s opinions about the image may vary and that is perfectly okay.

Canada Goose calling in flight in golden afternoon lightCanada Goose calling in flight in golden afternoon light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Taking this photo of a Canada Goose calling in flight in golden afternoon light didn’t test my skills as much as the foggy photo because I had better light, a faster shutter speed and didn’t need to worry so much about my exposure. I still had to track the goose and try to maintain focus on the bird’s head and in this series I had numerous sharp photos of the goose as it flew past me unlike the photos I took of the geese flying in the fog where I only had one or two that where I was able to get the head of at a least one goose sharply in focus. When I took this photo if I would have had just a little more shutter speed I could have frozen the motion of the wing tips too but again I like that bit of motion blur.

The skills that I need to take images in good light have become so ingrained in my mind that they require less active thought on my part, they have become what my friend Richard Ditch calls “muscle memory”, or another way of putting it is they are instinctual. Photographing birds in other conditions like heavy fog, falling snow, rain or poor light challenge me more.

I believe that testing my photographic skills in adverse or poor lighting conditions is a good thing and even though I do fail those failures and learning how to correct or overcome them increases my skills as a bird photographer each time they occur.

Life is good.

Mia

11 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte January 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Love the contrasting pics Mia. The movement you captured is wonderful. Thanks.

  2. Ken Schneider January 11, 2018 at 4:02 am

    I especially liked the composition of the shot in the fog. Very sharp despite a fairly slow shutter speed! Good panning!

  3. Michael Pope January 9, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you, Mia, I think the foggy Canada Geese is my very favorite of all your pics I have seen. It draws a sharp line between expert photography that you display to us every day- , Bless You. and true artistry a picture not with just a story but an emotional moment, I can feel the Damp-Cold and the Peace and yet .! –warm to the beauty exposed. I look forward to you every Day. Michael Pope

  4. Lucy Ricardo January 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Mia,
    I really like the fog shots. The atmosphere adds depth, and tells a story. I think we all get caught up in “perfect” shot, in great light and great conditions, but, I am learning that those shots are sometimes ” a dime a dozen”. Congratulations for not just taking your tools and going home because of “less than ideal conditions”.

  5. Utahbooklover January 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    I enjoyed the contrast of the dreamy image versus the sharp image—both wonderful.

  6. Mary Martha Murphy January 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    The first could be a Valentine’s card! Thank you for this wonderful blog.

  7. Elephants Child January 9, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    The only failure is not trying.
    And I love both of these shots.

  8. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 9, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Both photos are beautiful, but the first is hauntingly beautiful….

  9. John Sherrill January 9, 2018 at 9:54 am

    The Canada Geese in the fog is beautiful! More art than documentary. I was intrigued by the combination of low shutter speed and low ISO.

    • Mia McPherson January 9, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Oops, my mistake John, ISO 100 should have been ISO 1000. Thank you !

  10. Bob mcphersons January 9, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Cool geese pics, Mia. Motion blur is hoot.

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